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Posts Tagged ‘Blade

350QX 3-Blade PropsNow that the weather has been better and the first installment of the build project up for your viewing, I started spending time with my¬†Blade 350QX,¬† and couldn’t help but start looking at modifications and changes. Now a new product was released by Xtreme Productions for the 350QX: A 3-bladed prop to replace the stock 2-bladed propeller. Which raises a question I get a lot at work and I did a little research just for you: What is the point of multi-bladed props and why do I care?

In the case of multirotors, multi-bladed (mainly 3-bladed) props have one primary purpose: Moving more air. With the ability to push more air, multirotor aircraft are much more stable which is perfect for aerial photography, and also makes aerobatic tricks easier to perform. ¬†The unfortunate downside to this great plus is that it does reduce run time on the aircraft’s battery. Now if these advantages/disadvantages are for you 350QX¬†owners, I’d check out the¬†Xtreme Productions¬†blades via their website right here, or check out their Carbon Fiber upgrade standard props here. Everyone else, shop around for your ideal multi-blade prop, which usually in the same size range. I recently saw some in the 7-8″ range from¬†Master Airscrew, so that may be a good direction to start.

Next week will be the last part of Blade Runner, called “It’s All About Balance”. Until then, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

350QX V2Think the 350QX can’t get any better?¬†Horizon Hobby¬†has upgraded the firmware of the Blade¬†350QX to version 2.0, featuring a new flight mode built for ultra stable Aerial Photography and new features new and improved compass and GPS technology.¬†In the new BNF and RTF versions, the quadcopter comes with an improved charger, and the start (arming) procedures have also been improved as well.

Already own a 350QX?¬†Never Fear! The firmware will be made available early April for current 350QX owners, and at this point¬†Blade Helicopter¬†states: ‘For owners of the original 350 QX (BLH7800/BLH7880) an optional upgrade solution for the firmware will be available by early April for a nominal fee’. Personally, if one has already paid over the $470 plus tax for the quadcopter, the software upgrade should be free like the updates for¬†Spektrum controllers. Unless for some reason it’s more than just downloading an update. Maybe I need to buy a cable?

The new 350QX V2 will be on hobby store shelves shortly. The prices still are the same for both versions of the quadcopter ($470¬†for RTF and¬†$420 for the BNF), but look for the ‘A‘ at the end of the part number (BLH7800A¬†and¬†BLH7880A, respectively) for the updated software. For more information, check out Blades website via This Link.

For more Blade Helicopter news on BigSquidRC, click here.

Ragu FlyingI might still be recovering from the post-Quadcopter Championship party, but nothing like Raging Rotors to push me along the road to recovery. Before I continue with the fun, I’d like to give a shout out to our friends at HobbyTown Orland Park, Ares, Blade, Heli-Max,¬†and¬†Estes¬†for their support and generosity towards the great success of this event! I had a lot of fun, as did our participants, and I cannot wait for the next time I get to strut my RC Stuff (read ‘Amateur Flight Skill’).

Now, on to business! I am getting excited for doing a build project and sharing it here with you guys, and have been debating if I should do something a little more ‘out-of-the-box’ than the average quadcopter. Honestly, who hasn’t done it on YouTube, Instructables, etc? As Brian, 3DBill, and I were setting up the competition this weekend, 3DBill wanted me to try one of his latest multirotors, a Quadcopter setup called the ‘V-Tail’. Built to fly like a tricopter (3 motors and a servo, see my previous article), the V-tail uses 4 motors but with the rear two motors mounted at an angle and near each other. 3DBill was able to provide some pictures for me so I don’t have to get too wordy with my description, so you can see those below.


I have to say, I have built a tricopter, but its flight abilities can’t hold a candle to the lightning fast reactions of the rudder (tail end) of this quadcopter style. In addition, its unique frame layout also make figuring out orientation from a distance a lot easier. Needless to say, I think I have found the platform for the upcoming USS BigSquid multirotor (cue Captain Kirk overacting)! Now I just need to start shopping (aka turn in ludicrously large expense reports)!

Once again, a big thanks to our sponsors for their support in last Saturday’s event, and big props to all the guys at BigSquid who made this a reality, besides being able to put up with me for almost 24 straight hours! With that, I urge all you pilots out there to Stay Shiny (and warm) and Keep Flyin’!

Quadcopter Championships Jared Bachman
Last weekend one pilot rose above the rest to take home the overall win at the 2014 BigSquidRC Quadcopter Championships, that pilot was Jared Bachman. At only 14 years of age, Jared easily won the Micro 6″ class and finished second in the Nano 2″ class, giving him more than enough total points to secure the overall title.

In the Micro 6″ class Jared used an unmodified Blade Nano QX controlled by a JR X9503 to out fly the other pilots, while he used a bone stock Estes Proto-X to finish second in the Nano class.

While Jared has been flying airplanes for 2 years, he has only been flying quads for about 4 months, but that didn’t stop him from flying circles around the other guys. Congrats to Jared on a job well done last weekend, he really showed what could be done with a quad in the hands of a skilled pilot.

To read more about the BigSquidRC Quadcopter Championships check out This Link.

350QX Case Front

With the¬†Blade Helicopter’s 350QX¬†becoming a quick heavy hitter in the consumer quadcopter market, it was nice to hear that¬†Horizon Hobby¬†just announced a case for their current model 350 size quadcopter that will also fit the¬†350QX AP that will be out in a few months. This new case also touts the following features:

  • Sturdy foam insert provides protection for everything you need to fly your 350 QX and more
  • Accommodates the 350 QX with long landing gear
  • Accommodates the GB200 gimbal
  • Holds up to 6 flight batteries
  • Holds various tools and accessories
  • Holds charging or camera equipment
  • Fits DX5e up to DX18
  • Locking design with keys
  • Brushed aluminum with bright graphics

The part number for the case is BLH7849¬†and will sell for¬†$140 when it starts to ship later this month. More details can be found on Horizon Hobby’s website via This Link. For more Blade Helicopter information on BigSquidRC, click here.


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.


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.

RaguRagingRotorsRaging Rotors ahoy! This week we talk about the true brains behind any multirotor aircraft: The Multirotor Controller. This is no ordinary electronics setup that can be made (or bought) through multiple sources.

Now a Multirotor Control Unit consists to two parts: A gyroscope and master control system.

The gyroscope is your average stabilizing system, and are a part of many helicopters from fixed pitch to quadcopters to collective pitch stunt helicopters. They come in many brands/forms: From Blade Helicopter’s AS3X and¬†SAFE system to¬†Align’s 3GX ¬†to¬†DJI’s Naza¬†to many others. With a quadcopter, usually the gyroscopic system comes with adjustable/programmable settings in order to make the quadcopter more aerobatic (flips, extreme bank angles, etc) to more stable (usually for aerial photography).

The master control system is the main board that links all the ESC’s (and in some cases, servos) together before reaching the receiver of your radio system. This keeps all control of the motors equal so proportional control is given to all elements. The control system also talks to (or in many cases is integrated with) the gyroscope to send correctional or stabilizing data to the motors.

Now, as I stated, a lot of Mutirotor Control units exist, so there is no singular product that does the job better than another, for a system is as useful as the pilot that programs it. Many multirotor control units are available for purchase or order at your local hobby shop, and for adventurous people one can pick up an¬†Arduino¬†gyroscopic control board and program to their heart’s content. Feel free to discuss your favorite gyros/controllers in the comments!

With March 1st drawing near, I have to again jump for joy for this Saturday’s¬†2014 Quadcopter Championship. Granted there are predictions for snow to be in the area (read: Buried alive in Chi-Beria), but we will keep you in the loop as the weathermen make up their mind as to how big of a pain this winter is going to be as it reaches its end. Details can be found via This Link.

I think a build project/article should be in the future, as it’s time to implement everything I’ve talked about. As for now though, until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Horizon Booth E-Fest 2014
Also in attendance at E-Fest 2014 were the folks from Horizon Hobby. Their large booth was well staffed and the BSRC Bash Crew had a great time picking their brains on some of their new air products. The newest item they had in the their booth was the Blade 200 QX. The 200 was just announced a couple of weeks ago and should be a real blast to fly because it is brushless powered. Horizon had a bunch of other products on display, take a look at the pictures below to get a feel for what it was like to be at their booth, and you can Click This Link to visit their official website.

Blade 200QX BNF Lit Up
With the Toy Fair in Nuremberg already in our rear view mirror, it’s important to decompress and think about everything brought to our attention and the new RC items coming in the next few months.¬†Horizon Hobby¬†alone announced over 24 products this past week! My head was spinning; not only from being overwhelmed, but from all the excitement I felt with every new announcement.

Let’s talk about all the exciting helicopter news that was announced; granted this may be a bit redundant, but I will focus on key features as well as my personal impressions on what this means for beginning bashers and experienced flyers alike. All of these products have months before they reach hobby store shelves, so changes may happen, so my comments may not apply by the time the products come out.

Blade 200 SR X: I am a big fan of finding a great training helicopter that allows a great learning curve so frustration is the last thing that happens. With the new SAFE technology, the 200 SR X not only has multiple modes of flight, but a panic switch to reorient the helicopter and get you back flying. My only concern is the price point. I know there is a price to pay for performance and great technology, but making a training helicopter powerful using brushless motors may be a tad overkill. With companies like Ares offering a simple yet durable fixed pitch helicopter for $100 Ready-to-Fly, the $260 may be tough to swallow. I cannot wait to fly one myself so I can personally vouch on the investment.

Blade 200 QX: By standardizing the platform, Blade has found a great niche to put their line of quadcopters. For those wanting the looks of a 350 QX, but not the price tag, the brushless, SAFE powered 200 QX will be a great add to anyone’s collection. I really like how the opaque fuselage brings all the lights on the quadcopter to a brilliant glow that encompasses the whole aircraft. Currently, the 200QX will only be available as a Bind-n-Fly format for $230, so at that point an investment in a Spektrum radio (I would suggest the new DX6 or DX9) would also be required. This is a great upgrade from any of the budget quadcopters already on store shelves, and will be great power in a small package.

Blade 350 QX AP: Now the Blade 350QX series is a great platform that is suitable for flyers and bashers alike. The new 350QX AP takes the stable setup of the 350QX, improves the technology and adds a controllable camera harness with an included C-Go1 sport camera  that supports 720p quality First Person View video transmission to smartphones with included hardware. With the only competition being the DJI Phantom2 Vision at $1300, the price of around $1000 for the Ready-to-Fly 350QX AP is a bit easier to swallow, but one REALLY must want to do Aerial Photography to pick up this fine machine as compared to the original. NOTE: Those already with a 350QX will be able to upgrade your tech to catch up, but no pricing or listing of changes have been released yet.

Blade 300 CF X: I’m putting this at the bottom because this is primarily for stunt helicopter flyers, but I really want to discuss this helicopter. The original 300X collective pitch helicopter is a stable platform that features the BeastX gyroscopic system, as well as a decent size at a decent price (The BeastX alone is $250, so paying $320 for the whole helicopter was not a bad setup). Blade has evaluated everyone’s comments on the helicopter, and made a whole bunch of improvements, including:

  • Aluminum Head, Swashplate, and Blade Grips
  • Replacing the mainframe with Carbon Fiber
  • Changing the servo setup to match that of the Blade 700x (for efficient servo placement)
  • Carbon Fiber Main Blades

The helicopter is being sold as a Bind-n-Fly Basic (Helicopter only; no battery and no charger) for $400. This is definitely for the expert pilot groups only, but I couldn’t miss talking about this great helicopter platform. More details can be seen on Blade’s website by This Link. I have a 300X myself, and can’t wait to see what I can do to upgrade it using 300 CF X parts.

Quick side note: Wednesday (2/5) on ABC was a new Modern Family episode that features what looks like a DJI quadcopter featuring a FPV setup¬†(check local listings for air time, or stop by Hulu). I always love seeing the hobby on TV, and I haven’t seen anything since the Blade MCX2 on a recent Nutella commercial.

As always, it’s a pleasure talking helicopter, and already cannot wait for next week. The clock is counting down towards the 2014 Quadcopter Championships so get your quadcopters ready, or stop by your local hobby shop and pick yours up. Details about the event can be found here.

Feel free to visit me any weekend at my local haunt and I’ll demo every great quad there is to offer on our shelves.

Enjoy this week, and for many of you stay safe as we get battered with more snow. Until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Blade 350QX AP

Coming straight out of Nuremburg is a number of great stuff out of Horizon Hobby. One of many from Blade Helicopters is the newly upgraded 350QX AP. The AP stands for Aerial Photography and the RTF Quadcopter Kit not only come with a camera control gimble but the new E-Flite C-Go 1 1080p sport camera.

Now the questions have already been flying all over the internet and Blade has already announced the original 350QX can be upgraded to carry the gimbal and there will be a GoPro adapter mount for those who need one.

Other Specifications include:

  • Included 2-Axis Brushless Gimbal
  • Included C-Go 1 Camera 1080P/30
  • 5.8Ghz Wi-Fi Video Downlink to Supported Devices
  • Large 3S 3000mAh Flight Battery
  • Improved Receiver with External Antenna
  • Improved GPS
  • Visual Compass Error Detection
  • Compatible with All Spektrum Radios

The part number is BLH7900 and will be selling for around $1000 when it releases in late May. Hit up This Link for more information on the Blade Website.

Click Right Here for more Blade news on BigSquidRC.

Blade 200 SRX

Looking to fly a RC Helicopter but not into quadcopters? Blade has just announced the first SAFE system powered fixed-pitch (non-stunt) 200 SRX! Featuring a gradual learning curve with multiple learning settings, the 200 SRX also offers a Panic Switch in case you need to get your bearings back. The 200 SRX also touts some pretty nice features:

  • Engineered with SAFE‚ĄĘ technology
  • Panic button recovery
  • Beginner mode‚ÄĒlimited flight envelope with self-leveling and a low bank angle limit
  • Intermediate mode‚ÄĒincreased control authority with self-leveling and a high bank angle limit
  • Experienced mode‚ÄĒfull control authority with no bank angle limit
  • Brushless main and tail motor
  • Stainless steel main shaft
  • 6-channel transmitter with four “AA” batteries included
  • Flight time up to 10 minutes
  • Flight battery and charger included

The 200 SRX is available in two formats: Ready to Fly (Part Number¬†BLH2000,¬†$260) and a Bind-n-Fly (Part Number¬†BLH2080,¬†$220) and will release in May. Hit up This Link for more from Blade’s Website.


Blade 350QX with UpgradeRC Kabuki SkinAs always, I’m excited to bring you another installment of Raging Rotors. Today is definitely a ‘story-time’ kind of day, but I think the best way to talk about something is experience.

I mentioned last week¬†that I had a little ‘incident’ regarding my¬†Blade 350QX. So maybe I got impatient, but boy is that quad ridiculous! Granted, the bigger they are the smoother and generally easier they fly, but this quad is just on a completely different level. Primarily it is Blade’s new¬†SAFE¬†technology makes this quad super stable even with its light weight (about 24oz).

Now I understand that with the hefty price tag ($470 Ready-to-Fly) that it would fall under the category of expert aircraft like others of it’s price range (i.e.¬†Blade 500x at $500), but alas that is nothing but a tall tale. The 350QX offers 3 flight modes:¬†Smart Mode, Stability Mode, and Agility Mode.

  • Smart Mode is the first of its kind. It’s built for maximum stability for taking great pictures and video, as well as a great platform for training. In Smart Mode,¬†orientation doesn’t matter. Based off of take off position, the ¬†350QX in Smart Mode will not only keep from getting too close to the pilot, it will respond to direction controls based off of position of pilot, not quadcopter orientation.
  • Stability Mode is similar to the setups of most quadcopters. The gyroscope is setup for maximum maneuverability while not allowing for accidental inversion. Still ultra stable, it handles the wind great, as I freaked out a local fitness center’s patrons by doing low passes by their front windows.
  • Agility Mode¬†takes stability away and turns the 350QX into an aerobatic stunt monster.¬†Similar to the expert modes of the¬†LaTrax Alias and¬†Traxxas QR-1, the stabilization is at minimal levels to allow for manual flipping and insane maneuvers! I’m not quite at that level, but the time I’ve spent in that mode have been quite exhilarating.

Now no matter what the mode, thanks to the GPS in the 350QX you have your very own Panic Switch! Featuring a very effective Return-to-Home feature, the 350QX will make the necessary course adjustments to land within a foot or two of where it took off. Only want to get the quad closer to you to get your bearings? Simply switch off the return feature and take over the controls! My advice: Make sure the GPS locks before takeoff! If not, the return feature will only self land the quad over its current position (I learned this the hard way). I know I should post some neat pictures and videos of the 350QX in action, but the current weather in the Midwest makes that fairly impossible. Once the weather is a tad warmer above freezing, I will make a special post. For now, I give you some nice action shots from all over the web.


With that, I will wrap things up for today. During the rest of this week I will be staring at my computer looking at all the new stuff coming out of Nuremburg, and I cannot wait to discuss my impressions of it this weekend. Next week I will talk about what one can do along the lines of FPV (First Person View), and what options there are for you and your aircraft.

Since this is my area of expertise, I have to remind you that -Nudge Nudge- the 2014 Quadcopter Championship is March 1st. Details are over here.

As always, feel free to ask me anything through¬†kevin at bigsquidrc dot com and until next time Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Blade 200QX BNF

Blade Helicopters announced another ship for the fleet, the 200 QX. Built as an upgrade to the 180QX HD, the 200QX is a brushless powered, LED lit, SAFE technology quadcopter brother with the good looks of the 350QX. It has impressive specifications:

  • SAFE‚ĄĘ Technology equipped
  • Three flight modes
  • High performance brushless motors
  • Internal LED illumination for easy orientation and night flying
  • Optional camera available separately

Offered currently only as a Bind-n-Fly package, the part number is¬†BLH7780¬†and will sell for¬†$230¬†when it releases at the end of April. Hit up This Link for more details on Blade’s Website.

Click Right Here for more Blade news on BigSquidRC.