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2014 BigSquidRC Quadcopter Championships
The 2014 BigSquidRC Quadcopter Championships are officially in the books. Hosted by HobbyTown USA Orland Park Illinois last Saturday, it marked one of the first organized quadcopter competitions ever held. The event was made possible by its major sponsors- Ares RC, Blade, and Heli-Max.

Several events were used to determine winners in three different size classes. A tricky obstacle course was set-up to test the precise control a pilot had over his quad, drag racing tested speed and how quickly a pilot could land, and 5 lap pylon races were held to really let the pilots open up the throttle on their quads.

The pylon racing seemed to be everyone’s favorite event as it was a good mix of speed, skill, and competition. Drag racing, which consisted of taking off from the ground and landing on a pedestal about 40 feet away, sounded easy enough, but under the pressure of racing proved to harder than anyone imagined. Many pilots would quickly get to the landing pedestal, only to miss the landing, giving up a bunch of time. The obstacle course was quite challenging with the more skilled pilots navigating the course in about 50 seconds, while it took up to 4 minutes for others.

In true BigSquidRC fashion, the word “Championship” may have been in the title, but the event was extremely laid back and focused more on fun than anything else. A friendly helping hand could always be found and there were smiles all around. The 2014 Quadcopter Championships will not only be remembered for being one of the first of its kind, but also for being an incredibly fun day of flying with some great people.

BigSquidRC would like to thank everyone that participated, as well as Kevin and 3D Bill for all their hard work making the event happen, and Steve from HobbyTown USA for providing the facility. We consider the event a success and are looking at doing another one this summer, as well as a 2015 Quadcopter Championships again next year.

Results-

Nano 2″ Class-

1. Brian Smolik – Estes Proto-X
2. Jared Bachman – Estes Proto-X
3. Bill Smith – Estes Proto-X

Micro 6″ Class-

1. Jared Bachman – Blade Nano QX
2. Brian Smolik – Heli-Max 1Si
3. Kevin Ragauskis – Blade Nano QX

Mini 8″ Class-

1. Bill Smith – Blade MQX
2. Kevin Ragauskis – Blade 180 QX
3. Tim Mohr – LaTrax Alias

Overall Champion – Jared Bachman

To read more about the 2014 Quadcopter Championships, check out This Link right here on BigSquidRC.

Cubby BigSquidHappiest of Mondays to you rc fans, I know the weather is less than optimal in some parts of the country, but the rc industry keeps on roll’n regardless.

I am deeply saddened and in a perpetual state of numbness because there still has been no “official” word on how Michael Schumacher is doing. To some people, people who have never been through such a thing, no news is probably good news. Sadly, having been down that road before, I know that being in a medically induced coma for this long is never a good thing. Miracles can happen and I sincerely hope the Schumacher family gets one. Regardless of the outcome, I will always remember fondly the sunny days that Schu piloted a blazing red Ferrari to victory, his epic drives in the rain behind the wheel of a Benetton, and his euphoric antics on the podium when the German national anthem was done playing.

Anyways… on to rc…

Ok, so the BigSquidRC Quadcopter Championships are coming up on March 1st right here in Chicago Illinois. I wrote last week about the classes and such, this week I get the pleasure of announcing the first big sponsor- Ares. Maybe you are a surface guy and aren’t into the air scene, but Ares is the air division of Firelands Group, and are available exclusively at HobbyTown USA stores. Their air products have been proven to be top notch, they have won both of our quadcopter shootouts, and a number of “serious” quad fliers won’t use anything else. It’s cool that Ares is on board for the big show and we’ll be announcing more sponsors next week. If your company wants in on a great way of showcasing quad products, hit the “Contact Us” link and shoot Brian an email.

Personally, I can’t wait to see which machines win at the BQC. I know the Heli-Max stuff is good, I know that Blade also makes solid product, and it will be interesting to see how other companies like Ares and Traxxas (Hubsan) stack up. It will also be cool to see how the Quadcopter Championships affects the quad industry. Will a win help separate one brand from the pack? Will the aftermarket start making hop-up parts for the winning quads? That whole part of the industry is so new I can’t wait to see how it evolves and to see how our Quad Championships (and our future) events help shape it.

On the participant side of things, there are no big “established” names to compete against, who will be the first? Will guys that normally fly planes or helis dominate the event, or will it be a new name that just specializes in quads? I will say that whoever wins will get a pretty cool trophy, a brand new quad, and we’ll be doing a feature article on them and their flying machine for the front page of BigSquidRC (read- instant rockstar).

On the surface side of things everyone is kind of waiting for Nuremburg. A number of companies have some cool new products that they are holding off till the show, and we can’t wait to get them posted up. The show starts in just 2 days and of course we’ll be hooking ya up with some killer coverage. Ya, there is a ton of cool stuff on the market right now, but like always, there is a whole bunch more on the way.

Lastly… our review of the 2014 Thunder Tiger ST4 G3 truggy goes up later this week. It is one of those vehicles that is a “King of the Hill” type bash machine. If you are looking for something at the top end of the bashing spectrum, it is a review you will be interested in. Plus, we’ll be bringing you all the daily news, Spaghetti Sauce’s Quad column, Doug’s scale column, and of course ASK Cubby on Thursday.

That’s it ya freaks, support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.

YOUR Cub Reporter

Ares Winter Video Challenge
If you own an Ethos QX130 quadcopter or a Chronos CX100 helicopter, the folks over at Ares have a contest for you. They want to see videos of your Ares in action, and the top three will win HobbyTown USA gift cards. The gift cards range from $50 to $200, and the winning videos will be posted up on the Ares Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. If you win your video might even make the front page here on BigSquidRC. :)

Submissions are due by February 10th and you can get more information at This Link.

Happy Friday, Click Here to see a BSRC TGIF Mystery Link.

Hey guys, Ragu here to make your Wednesday a bit brighter with this week’s Raging Rotors. This week I’ll give my impressions on what I found are great quadcopters for you beginning pilots.

As a basher, I always want my new RC to be durable as well as forgiving when I make mistakes.  When it came to quadcopters, I tried all of the micro-sized available from Traxxas to Ares to Blade, looking for the best to fly in my room when I had free time.

The best quad for small spaces that I personally have ever flown is the Blade Nano QX. Available in a Ready to Fly and Bind N’ Fly  version, this quad features Horizon Hobby’s new gyroscopic system SAFE (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope). The SAFE system makes the quad so stable it will level the quadcopter even when tossed into the air before throttle is applied. The other advantage to the Nano QX is the built in rotor guards on the main frame. With these guards, one can fly into the ceiling, off walls, and more without hitting the rotor blades. Available now in most local hobby shops, one can check out Blade’s website to see more.

If micro is not your cup of tea, there is a larger quadcopter that works as a great trainer. The Firelands Group flight brand Ares RC has recently released the Ethos QX 130. Available in a Ready-to-Fly format, the QX 130 handles smoothly and features an Auto-Flip mode built into the transmitter for that extra “WOW” factor. As for the durability, my personal Ethos QX 130 has bounced of ceiling tiles, store racks, counters, and even the boss once with only scuffing the blades or popping the canopy. Even after mastering the quad you can still have fun: you can buy a digital camera, missile launcher, squirt gun, bubble maker, or winch to torture impress the family with. Available now at HobbyTowns nationwide, you can pick this great trainer for $100, with the optional accessories ranging from $13 for all but the camera which retails at $30. (SPOILER ALERT) Those who read the Quadcopter Shootout 2 on Monday will find that my Seal of Approval is not off the mark, though I’ll admit I have yet to take a shovel to anything I’ve flown…yet!

Heading for a close, I’ll wrap up with a product release that snuck onto the market the last few days. Blade announced a brushless motor upgrade for the Nano CPx, a 14800kv motor that is plug-and-play with the helicopters main board. I’m excited to try this out since the Nano CPx tends to eat main motors. Its part number is BLH3325 and retails for $50, and already has started shipping, so hurry to your local hobby shop to get hooked up!

With that, it’s time that I retire this post before I start rambling. Next week I’ll be commenting on my experiences with the Blade 350QX, likely sharing a few stories along those lines, as well as possibly answering questions if you have any! Shoot me an email (kevin at bigsquidrc.com) and I’ll either answer you personally or feature your question right here! Enjoy the rest of your week, and until next time Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

BigSquidRC Quadcopter Shootout 2 Looks 1

The wait is over, and our second Quadcopter Shootout has gone live RIGHT HERE. This time around we tested the Ares RC Ethos QX 130, the Blade 180 QX, the Align M242, and the LaTrax Alias.

All of these quads were bigger than the last shootout, and have more features, and plenty more power. RC Quadcopters the world by storm lately due to their ease of flying, and people’s new obsession of aerial photography. Video coming soon!
Ok, enough chit chat, head on over and start reading our Quadcopter Shootout 2

Ares P-51D Mustang 350
Scale looks are all the rage and the new Ares P-51D Mustang 350 is a sweet looking flying machine. This classic warbird has all the scale details you want, plus it packs a punch under the hood with its included brushless powerplant. Some of its other features and specifications include-

* EPO foam airframe
* 350 sized brushless motor and 15 amp ESC
* Includes 2 and 4 blade props
* 4 channel control
* Unique airfoil design
* Length: 25.6″
* Wingspan: 29.5″
* RTF Battery: 3S 600mAh Lipo
* RTF Transmitter: 2.4GHz 6 channel
* Weight: 12.2-12.8 oz

The RTF version comes with everything you need to get up in the air and has a part number of #AZS1400 with a street price of $189. The Ready For Receiver version has a part number of #AZS1402 and the street price comes in at only $119. Both styles should start hitting your local HobbyTown USA in early December, or you can order one on the official Ares Website.

Start your weekend off right with a BigSquidRC TGIF Mystery Link!

Ares Ethos QX 130
There are quadcopters, then there are quads with loads of options. The Ares Ethos QX 130 just might be kind of the hill for cool add on accessories.

The QX 130 is a bit larger than the micro quads you are used to seeing. It has a length (including rotor blades) of 12.2″. The QX 130 comes completely RTF, ready to fly right out of the box. It also comes with an LED light package and automatic flip mode. Where the QX 130 really gets fun are the add on accessories (available separately)-

* On-board digital camera
* Water blaster
* Bubble machine
* Rocket launcher
* Winch unit

Brian is biting at the bit to get his hands on the bubble machine and fly around the office, while Adam “The Intern” is more of a winch type of guy. Personally, I want the rocket launcher, I have a score to settle with Cubby. :)

The part number for the Ethos QX 130 is #AZSH1300, it has a street price of $99, and it should start hitting your local HobbyTown USA later this month. Hit up This Link for more information.

Click Here for another TGIF mystery link.

ares chronos cx 100
Our friends over at Ares have just announced their new Chronos CX 100 RTF helicopter. The counter-rotating blades, fully proportional controls, and computerized gyro make it easy to fly, even for noobs, while its ultra-micro size allows it to be flown in small areas like indoors.

The CX 100 comes with a digital on-board camera that can be used to shoot video or stills. A 2GB MicroSD card comes standard, large enough to hold up to 90 minutes of video. Some of its other features and specifications include-

* 2.4 GHz radio system
* 1S 250mAh Lipo w/ charger
* 2 coreless main motors
* 4-in-1 receiver/esc/mixer/gyro
* Two color choices- red or blue
* Length: 10″
* Height: 4.5″
* Main Rotor Diameter: 8.9″
* Weight with Battery: 1.9 oz

The CX 100 has a part number of #AZSH1350, an affordable street price of $69, and should start hitting your local Hobbytown USA early next month. Hit up This Link for more information.

Click Here for more Ares news on BigSquidRC.

Ares Taylorcraft 130
The latest flying machine from the fine folks over at Ares is their Taylorcraft 130 RTF airplane. The ultra-micro sized Taylorcraft 130 is quite stable, making it easy for first timers to fly, yet has enough performance to make it fun for experienced pilots. Its small size also makes it easy to fly in smaller areas like a park or backyard. The airframe is 100% assembled and is ready to hit the air right out of the box. Some of its other features and specifications include-

* Weight w/ Battery: 1.9 oz
* Length: 16.0″
* Wingspan: 22.2″
* Battery: 3.7v 200mAh LiPo
* On-Board Electronics: 3-in-1 receiver/2 servos/ESC
* Battery charger included in box
* Transmitter: 4-channel 2.4GHz
* Designed to be easily upgraded to brushless
* Also available in WOT form (Without Transmitter)

The part number is #AZS1350 for the RTF version and #AZS1351 for the WOT. Prices start at $89 and they will be available by the end of the month. Hit up This Link for more information.

Click Here for more Ares news on BigSquidRC.

hobbytown usa ihobby 2013
Our favorite chain of hobby shops is HobbyTown USA and they have a nice booth at iHobby this year. Their booth showcases some of their exclusive Helion and Ares products. One of the newest machines they have on display is the Ares Chronos FP 110 ultra micro helicopter. The single rotor FP 110 has an attractive price point of only $99 and they are available at your local HobbyTown USA right now.

On the surface side of things, we got a chance to talk with Gil Losi JR about the Helion line-up of off-road machines. Helion is aimed right at bashers and their new Criterion buggy is really fast right out of the box, look for our full review in the near future.

To get more information on everything at HobbyTown USA hit up This Link.

Click Here for more HobbyTown USA news on BigSquidRC.

Helion Criterion
We have finally made it back home and can start posting everything we saw at the 2013 HobbyTown USA Convention in Lincoln Nebraska.

Firelands Group is sold exclusively at HobbyTown USA. Their Helion Invictus has been a big hit with bashers this summer, and the Helion product line just keeps getting bigger. Helion premiered their new Criterion 10th scale 2wd buggy at the HobbyTown show. It’s 2wd and comes completely RTR with a 7 cell Ni-MH pack and brushed power system. The price point is $189.

On the air side of things, the biggest news was the Ares Ethos QX 130 quadcopter. This is a bigger brother to the Ares that won our quadcopter shootout and comes with advanced flight control, the ability to do 360 degree flips, and some really cool accessories like water blaster, rocket launcher, winch, and bubble machine.

Hit your local Hobbytown USA dealer to see Helion and Ares products in person, or hit THIS LINK to view all their products on-line.

Have you read our Quadcopter shootout? If not, you can view it HERE.

bigsquidrc_quadcopter_shootout_00009

We have been getting so many people asking us what our thoughts are on the ‘best rc quad’ lately. Mostly they have been looking for answers on the micro or mini quadcopters, so we decided it was time to sit down and get some true answers. We have reviewed all the quads, but as we have found out in the past, a direct comparison can be a real eye opener!

Participating in this shootout was the Traxxas QR-1, Ares Ethos QX 75, and Heli-Max 1SQ. All are similar in size, priced pretty close and released recently.

So what are you waiting for, click here and go read our First Quadcopter Shootout!

Cubby at quadcopter shootoutHappy Monday everyone and welcome to another week in the wonderful world of hobby grade rc. Whether you work at a manufacture or an LHS, or you are simply a hardcore enthusiast, I hope you have a great week.

Brian’s favorite Supercross rider (lol), James “Bubba” Stewart, took the win last night (Saturday) in Hotlanta. Using his proven recipe of “holeshot then 20 perfect laps” Stew lead from gate drop to checkered flag. I’ve never been a big Bubba fan but even I was stoked to see him win last night. The wins came so easy early in his career, now they come so hard. I’d have to guess that the wins now days mean a whole lot more to him than they used to. Anyways, the SX circus rolls through St Louis Missouri this Saturday and the BigSquidRC crew will be there in force.

And on to rc…

Our first ever Quadcopter Shootout is going live this Tuesday. We pitting Traxxas against Heli-Max against Ares to find out which little quad was the best of the bunch. We’ve been flying (and crashing, and demo-derbying) the shootout quads for weeks finding out how they compared to each other, even if you aren’t in the market for one I hope you find the shootout interesting. Oh and yes, I’m 90% sure the winner will surprise you.

Also in BigSquidRC news- we are hiring account reps. Some of the qualifications required are- you have to be kick a$$, you have to be able to sell snow to an Eskimo, you gotta be service oriented, and lastly, you gotta be hardcore about rc. If you are all (or some) of those things don’t hesitate to shoot Brian an email (brian at BigSquidRC dot com). We are beyond slammed and seriously need the help.

It looks like ROAR decided their reputation hadn’t been slammed enough this year, so they put out information saying they’ll be using the new MyLaps RC4 system this year at most of the nats. To translate this to you guys that don’t follow racing- the new scoring system doesn’t work with all transponders, meaning some people will have to buy new transponders for the ROAR nats. This really doesn’t affect that many people, however, it certainly shows that ROAR is busy screwing around with the dumb stuff (and ticking off more ROAR members) instead of fixing its core problems.

Sorta on that note…

The SCT class is “our” great ambassador to noobs, outsiders and main-streamers, can’t we keep from ruining it?

JConcepts has been putting out some cool gear as of late for the bashing crowd, but, last week they announced their new “wheel dishes” for their scale short course rims. To translate this to the non-racer crowd- these are disc’s that pop into the wheel to make the scale looking JConcepts SCT wheel look more like the “dish”‘ wheels that “racer types” run at the track. I’m not gonna bag on JConcepts here, they are making the wheel dishes because the “racer crowd” wants to buy them. However, who I am going to bag on is ROAR. While they are screw’n around with wire diameters and transponders there is something more important on their plate- making rules to maintain the scale integrity of the short course truck class. Every day it seems a little more “liberty” is being taken on short course trucks, give it a few more years and they’ll look like UFO’s (just like every other class).

It is in ROAR’s (and the entire hobby’s) best interest to maintain the scale look of short course trucks (and SCB’s). ROAR has let the tires slide as they no longer look like anything authentic, the roof-lines on SCT bodies keep getting lower, and now dish wheels are trying to work their way into the class. For whatever unknown reason, racers still listen to ROAR, so they (ROAR) should be putting out rules to make sure SCT’s continue to look like their full scale counterparts. There is a place for “anything goes” tires, wheels, and bodies, but it is NOT the SCT class.

Lastly…

What’s going on at BigSquidRC this week? As mentioned earlier the Quadcopter shootout is going up on Tues, our review on the Venom Medion Dual Charger (the one with the speakers built in) will be going up on Thursday, and Brian should be posting a pretty cool car review this week as well. Oh and, as usual we’ll be doing our Google Plus LIVE show at 9PM CST on Wednesday night. Last week was our best show to date, I think we are finally getting that thing worked out.

That’s it for this week, support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.

YOUR Cub Reporter