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Posts Tagged ‘Blade

photoAnother week, another fun installment of Raging Rotors! Granted I’m not bringing atomic batteries to power, but I have a project that I have been working on since IRCHA this past August. As I mentioned, I did acquire a SAB Heli Division Goblin 570 helicopter kit and have been diligently working on it in my free time. I have to say, it has been one heck of an experience so far.

Here are a couple of things I’ve learned as well as some advice for all you new kit builders or aspiring heli-builders:

  • Goblin seems to be doing it right. I have only built this one kit, but from observing other brands of helicopter kits and repairing a few helicopters at work, SAB Helidivision really has the right idea in the design department. The motor mount and primary transmission system for the main and tail rotor system is on a single aluminum mount. In event of major crash, replacing a frame piece is just a matter of a dozen or so screws, thats it. That earns major engineering points in my book.
  • Do your research. Picking a helicopter kit is like picking a car, every model has its pros and cons. Some brands may have brittle main gears, where others may not have as readily found parts at your local hobby shop, and others may not have manuals with part numbers or listings. When you find the right kit, you will know it. For those of you looking for a kit helicopter, here are a few brands to take a look at: SAB Heli Division, Align, Mikado, Blade, Gaui, and Futaba. NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list, and my list does NOT mean that those brands are the best; it is just a list.
  • Know your resources. Always have something else besides the internet and your manual to bounce questions at when deciding on a kit, electronics, and building questions. So check your local hobby shop, ask if they know anyone, and feel free to stop by the local flying field and ask, too! I consider myself pretty lucky to have such a great knowledge base here in the midwest. Not only did I have a representative from Team SAB to throw questions at, but a coworker, and my fellow flying club members to talk through a lot of things. A HUGE THANKS to my fellow SAC (Suburban Aeroclub of Chicago) members Ed Henschel and Mike Zubik, my coworker Tony, and Team SAB’s Mike Linko for putting up with me during this whole process (I think I asked hundreds of questions between them all, and they’re still going…).

I will be doing a full ‘summary post’ about the Goblin 570 build as well as expenses, components, etc in the near future, so stay tuned for that. Brian gave me a pile of stuff to unbox and review, and I’m hoping that will get me a shiny and new 180CFX since I got all excited with last week’s reveal. The guys around the office were close to killing me because I have been acting like a kid who pinky-swore not to tell Mom about the broken vase, because I have been holding on to some of those pictures and video for weeks with explicit instructions to say nothing.

I am still accepting emails for this month’s Ask Hot Sauce! The post will go up later in the month, and the best entry will get an ESTES ProtoX for their question, as well as 15 minutes of internet fame! Send all your questions to kevin (at) bigsquidrc (dot) com with your questions and you may just make the cut!

Don’t forget the 10th Anniversary Bash this Sunday!!! Details can be found Right Here, and I cannot wait! I will be in attendance and will be driving my heart out (-gasp- Yes I do own a surface vehicle!). Until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

SAC Heli Fun Fly 2014 (6)

In this installment of Raging Rotors, I cannot help but take a look at the dilemma starting to plague hobby shop owners nationwide, including mine: market saturation.

The multirotor market has exploded, providing customers numerous options for aircraft at every size level. The other side of that explosion is that many shops have to pick and choose what goes on to their shelves to maximize space, profit, and provide the best experience to their customers due to the overwhelming amount of options for them to choose from.

Let’s get specific, starting with the nano-micro class of quadcopters. The hobby world started with just one: Estes ProtoX. There now also is the Ares Ethos PQ, the new HobbyZone Faze, and other ‘clones’ that can be ordered all over the internet.

In 350-450 size quadcopters, there’s the DJI Phantom, Blade 350QXWalkera has announced one, Align has stepped into the ringas well as Thunder Tiger, just to name the BIG names throwing their hats into the ring. That doesn’t include any of the dozens of kit frames available in that size class! Retailing minimally at $500 retail and (so far) reaching as high as $1400, it would be hard for any shop to carry ALL of those quadcopters, much less the back stock of batteries, props, and other consumable parts that each aircraft may require.

So how do hobby shops choose? In many cases, they will carry brands with good engineering pedigree (i.e. “I’ve had a great experience working with -insert company- products, so I will stick with them”), price per unit, margin of profit, besides listening to what customers have to say or what they are asking for.

The point I’d like to make in this is to trust your local hobby shop. They have the inventory they have because they are looking to give you the best bang for your buck while also providing a means of keeping the hobby world alive and kicking. I can say that there are around a dozen of just multirotors I have flown or owned just to make sure that they are the best the market has to offer at prices that won’t leave you feeling emptier than your wallet. Don’t see the item you were looking for? Do not hesitate to ask about it, as your LHS will likely be able to get what you are looking for or at least be able to talk to you about it better than a webpage can.

In other news, I’m stoked to be a part of iHobby this year. I will be popping in and out of the BigSquidRC booth as well as selling products at multiple vendor booths. If you run into me feel free to wave, high five, or say hello!

Until next time, Stay Shiny and Keep Flyin’!

Blade 350QX2

I’m sure I wasn’t the only person a little jealous that the new Blade 350QX2 AP Combo came with new bells and whistles of better Receiver coverage, bigger battery, and more. Luckily for us the 350QX V2 gone, and now we have the 350QX2! Still featuring the same RTF and Bind-N-Fly packages, the 350QX2 touts these new enhancements:

  • White Battery Hatch (BLH7902)
    White battery hatch compliments the primarily white design of the 350 QX2.
  • 3,000 Mah LiPo Capacity Battery (EFLB30003S30)
    Allows for longer flight times and helps to better account for the weight of an action camera.
  • New AC/DC Battery Balancing Charger (EFLC3016)
    Charge your LiPo flight battery to perfection with this 3S compatible 3.5A charger.
  • New Full Range Receiver (BLH7801A)
    Refined full range receiver improves connectivity.

With new enhancements, always comes a change in price. The new 350QX2 RTF (BLH8000) is priced at $499.99, and the BNF (BLH8080) will sell at $449.99. No need to wait though, the quads have already shipped and are on hobby store shelves now! For more information check out Blade Helicopter page Right Here.

For more Horizon Hobby news on BigSquidRC, Click Here.

200QX Cruising

In all things multirotor, I was excited by Blade Helicopter’s announcement about the new 3D flight modes for the 200QX. I for one quickly ordered the new props, dragged my update cable out of the 350QX case, and was quickly on my way to being ready for inverted flight. Check out the video and my impressions on the upgrade after the jump…

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photo

If you didn’t see it already, I took a lot of pictures over last weekend when I was at the IRCHA Jamboree 2014. I even walked out of there a winner! In a lot of cases, pictures do the Jamboree justice, but there still is a lot one can talk about that the pictures can’t start to describe. I thought I’d make a few points of what I saw whether it was pilots, products, experiences, or just things I wanted to point out in general. See what I have to say about it all after the jump!

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Inverted Banner

Nipping on the heels of my unboxing and build of the Invertix400, Blade Helicopters has announced an update for the 200QX Quadcopter to also perform Fully Inverted Maneuvers. Teased at eFest 2014 during the prototype stages, the software update is available now, with propellers for these maneuvers available soon.

For the update, one needs the USB cable and props which can be picked up or ordered from Local Hobby Shops, or via Blade’s 200QX page Right Here.

200 QX Part Requirements

I can’t wait to see it in action at IRCHA Jamboree this weekend, and I’ll send pictures ASAP. Plus, now I can do a 3D quadcopter shootout!

Also, check out the video featuring the new flight modes below:

For more Blade Helicopter news on BigSquidRC Click Here, and check out our review of it Here.

GB200 Box Front

While working on upgrading a friend’s Blade 350QX, he asked to get him that ‘new camera mount’ for his GoPro. A few days later, the Yuneec/Blade GB200 Camera Gimbal came in for me to install. Equipped with 2 brushless motors and mounts for the GoPro and CGo1 sport cameras, this gimbal is plug and play with the Blade 350QX and could even be used with other quadcopters after modification. The gimbal has a part number of BLH7910 and can be picked up for $200. Check out the unboxing pictures below!

Blade 200QX Quadcopter by Horizon Hobby – Review

200QX Up Close

In a RC World where quadcopters are becoming THE thing to pilot, Blade Helicopters took the popular 350QX platform and shrank it. Luckily, there was no movie starring Rick Moranis, but I did get the opportunity to give the 200QX Quadcopter a good test and you can see my thoughts on the aircraft after the jump…
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FlyTrex Live

Hot off the presses via their blog, the guys over at FlyTrex have updated their GPS MultiRotor telemetry system to also provide live data feed straight to their website, making it the first ‘Black Box’ for quadcopters. FlyTrex Live uses a GSM (cell phone data) connection to transmit Speed, Location, Altitude, and Battery Voltage live directly to their website.

What makes this such a big deal? Thanks to that GSM connection, one can provide real time tracking data to help search and rescue operations for fly-aways, crashes, etc.

Other features/statistics as shown on their page:

  • GSM Powered - Flytrex Live uses standalone GSM data connection that transmits your flight telemetry automatically to your personal Flytrex Profile whenever you takeoff and for the duration of your flight.
  • Auto Flight Logger - Similar to the Core, Flytrex Live brings powerful flight logging capabilities. All of your flight details are logged and stored in your personal Flytrex Profile. With Flytrex Live, logging is done automatically and you no longer need to copy mission files after flying. All of your flight missions are automatically transmitted to your Flytrex Profile and will show almost instantly after landing.In addition to GPS location, speed, altitude and temperature, Flytrex Live adds voltage logging that helps you analyze battery performance during your flights.
  • Live Tracker, Last Seen - Unlike other trackers that rely on challenge-response operation, Flytrex Live maintains a live data connection that guarantees you’ll always know where your multirotor was last seen, making sure you’ll never lose your multirotor again. Should your aircraft go MIA, visit the new Last Seen tool in your Flytrex Profile to see where your multirotor was last spotted.
  • Live Flight Channel - Share your flight in real time with your personal Live Flight Channel. Your Live Flight Channel let’s you broadcast your flight telemetry, stats, and Google Maps flight path as-you-fly. Link to your channel, share your Flight Channel with other Flytrex pilots, or allow Flytrex to automatically post to your Facebook timeline as soon as you takeoff!
  • Lightweight & Robust - Flytrex Live was designed to be the smallest, most lightweight and robust black box solution for multirotors. Flytrex Live weighs only 34 grams and measures 4.5 x 4.8 cm.

On top of that, there will be an iOS app for the FlyTrex system that will have some fun features, but no specifics given.

The FlyTrex Live sells for $190 and also requires a $9 cable for the GPS quad of your choice (Supports DJI NAZA-M, Phantom, Blade 350QX, and Ardupilot 2.5/2.6). You can order now and see more details regarding the Flytrex Live on the Flytrex webpage Right Here.

Click Here for more Flytrex News on BigSquidRC.

vlcsnap-2014-06-17-11h33m57s248Selfies are out, people! Trending hotter than the sun, thanks to a Drone-taken picture of Captain Picard himselfDronies are all the new photography rage on the web.

Making a Dronie in 10 Easy Steps:

1.) Grab your quadcopter. May I suggest a Ares QX130, Blade 180QX HD, or LaTrax Alias for those without 350QX or DJI Phantoms

You can take your own Dronie like mine above by Reading More…
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200QX Box FrontAfter a few weeks of delays, I finally got my hands on the next quadcopter from Blade: the 200QX brushless quadcopter. Built with a frame like the 350QX, this quad is brushless and equipped with the new SAFE system for a powerful, but stable flight performance. Our review will be up in the future but check out the unboxing pictures below!

Make sure to click READ MORE to see the rest.
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Father's Day Header

Father’s Day is right around the corner, and what better way to put a smile on their face than getting them that RC flying machine he’s been looking for. Better yet, get him a ‘drone’ and he’ll be part of the hottest RC craze this year. Either way, I thought that a nice list of fun flying gifts for the Dad (or Dad-like person) in your life would be the best way to save the hassle in finding the perfect gift! Read More to see what makes the list in this year’s guide!

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meet-flytrex-core-2-smaller-lighter-smarter-splash

What better way to challenge yourself and your piloting skills than earning achievements and sharing your bold and daring exploits with fellow pilots? The guys over at Flytrex have come up with a flight recorder to measure altitude, speed, and other metrics to share with your fellow pilots.

For added fun, they also included in their social networking challenges and achievements to earn and add a little bit of competition between pilots. Personally I’m already at my limits of comfort flying my quad, so any challenges outside that zone may be ignored just to keep my flights fun. Either way, I cannot wait to slap this bad boy either into my Ardupilot quad or my 350QX.

The chipset plugs as an intermediate between your GPS and mainboard, and starting at $50 you can hook it up to Ardupilot, DJI Phantoms and Naza-M systems, and Blade 350QXs. Details and how to order them can be found on the Flytrex website Right Here.

For more quadcopter articles on BigSquidRC, click here.