Capable of performing a wide variety of missions ranging from troop transport to medical evacuation, the silhouette of the UH-61 Black Hawk has become a modern day icon of U.S. Air power, one that is accurately captured with the new 1/43 scale Heli-Max brushless aerobatic helicopter.
The 1/43 scale Black Hawk from Heli-Max is not only a highly detailed replica of the full scale helicopter b but one that is also capable of performing acrobatics. The Black Hawk is marketed in two versions. The Tx-R version of the Black Hawk comes with the ready to fly helicopter, battery and charger. The RTF version includes all that is provided with the Tx-R version while adding a 2.4GHz 6-channel transmitter. The Black Hawk can be flown with the AnyLink system or my personal favorite, the TTX650 transmitter.
Utilizing the TAGS three axis gyro, the Black Hawk replicates the four blades on the original Black Hawk with great detail and with the addition of a brushless motor, actually provides the performance to perform a variety of aerobatics including inverted flight.
I normally do not spend much time away from 3D machines with scale helicopters but when I saw this offering from Heli-Max, I made sure to get myself on the list to prepare an article about it so lets take a look at the Tx-R version and see what it has to offer.
- Accurate scale looks.
- Four blades with TAGS control
- Pitch controlled tail rotor
- Sliding doors
- Respectable sport/3D performance.
- Some small scale details such as antennas break easily.
Price: $299.99 (Tx-R) – 349.98 (RTF)
From infiltration to VIP transportation, the Sikorsky UH-60 BLACK HAWK does it all. It’s the most versatile tool in the U.S. Arsenal filling transport, medevac, fire support and search and rescue roles. That’s why Heli-Max had to make this model!
From the rotors to the rubber tires, our bird is the spitting image of the BLACK HAWK. It’s also much more. A collective pitch rotor head and variable pitch tail rotor let our model perform aerobatics that would get you kicked out of helicopter flight school.
Heli-Max made sure that this aircraft, which has done so much for America, is both exactingly detailed and exhilarating to fly.
- Main Rotor Diameter: 16.7 in (425mm)
- Length: 12.8 in (324mm)
- RTF Weight: 7.4 oz (210g)
In the usual Heli-Max fashion, the Black Hawk arrives in a nicely decorated box.
It is hard to not admire the level of detail that is provided with the ready to fly Black Hawk.
The 7.4V 2S600mAh flight battery along with a simple charger are also provided.
The Heli-Max Black Hawk features a variety of scale touches that you might expect to find on a plastic model. Sliding doors (that open partially) add a nice touch to the already detailed helicopter. Some of the details such as antennas are very fragile and will likely take damage from simply handling the helicopter as I found out the hard way.
The front of the fuselage is held in place with powerful magnets but can easily slide off to access the flight battery and electronics.
Each blade on the four bladed head on the Black Hawk is connected directly to the swash plate for a very secure and slop free connection. The tail rotor on the Black Hawk is actually in the proper scale location and features pitch controlled blades. I am glad that Heli-Max chose to add this to this helicopter and did not go with the motorized tail.
The fuselage is composed of four main pieces and is easily removable for component access. A few locations, mainly around the LEDs were glued and required a bit of cutting to get free but afterwards, it was easy sailing to get access to the inside of the Black Hawk. Notice that there is no tail boom. The tail rotor is powered by a torque tube which is driven directly from the main gear. This is a simple and effective design but without a tail boom, relies on the rigidity of the fuselage to supply uninterrupted power and control to the tail.
I setup the Black Hawk on my TTX650 transmitter per the recommended throttle and pitch curves that are documented in the manual. After charging the battery and installing it in the nose of the heli, I placed it on the ground and advanced the collective. The sound of the motor almost sounded like a turbine spooling up which got my adrenaline flowing but I immediately noticed that something was wrong as the blades were not turning. After returning to the bench, I noticed that the main gear was not making contact with the motor. A problem that was easily fixed by loosing the collar on the main shaft and adjusting it so that the gear made contact.
After that small adventure, I took the Black Hawk out to the flight line again and this time as I advanced the collective, the blades started to rotate and within a few short moments were fully spooled up and the Black Hawk was getting light on its gear. As I advanced the collective, the Black Hawk lifted up and settled in a stable hover. I played around with the cyclic to see how responsive the Black Hawk is and was pleased to find that the heli is quite tame on low rates but can really start to move with high rates. With the recommended gain on the tail, I noticed that the tail was hunting a bit as it wagged on collective changes so I set the Black Hawk down and reduced the gain until the hunting behavior went away.
With the recommended throttle and pitch curves, the Black Hawk is quite docile and can be flown around in a very scale like manner. When it comes to aerobatics, the Black Hawk can perform a variety of basic maneuvers such as stall turns, rolls and flips but setup per the manual, lacked the negative pitch required to really pull out of an inverted maneuver I remedied the situation by changing my IDLE2 settings to a 3D like setting with a linear pitch curve and flat full throttle. You have to pay attention to the actual pitch on the blades as a -100 to 100 pitch curve is actually way too much for this heli. I ended up with something around -40 to 40 on the pitch curve and this really brought the heli to life. With the new settings, I attempted some aggressive rolls and flips and was pleased to find that the heli could sustain inverted flight and even pull out with authority. When you are inverted, you have to remember that the tail rotor is actually below the main rotor disk so be careful when you are getting close to the ground as the tail will hit first. Something that I discovered the hard way.
Flown in a scale like manner, the Black Hawk will definitely please as it presents its great scale like looks as it zooms by the flight line and onlookers. After draining a couple of packs while taking it easy with the Black Hawk, I attempted a few aggressive maneuvers and as I was trying my first piro flip, fumbled and crashed the Black Hawk in front of me. The resulting damage from this encounter was a few stripped gears in the tail drive which grounded me for a few days until I got replacement parts. While the Black Hawk is marketed as a aerobatic helicopter and can perform a wide variety of aggressive maneuvers, it looks better when flown scale as there is something eerily wrong when seeing a scale Black Hawk heli flying inverted or performing pirouetting maneuvers.
When it comes to landing, the Black Hawk did not present anything out of the ordinary as it comfortably settled on its main as the collective was reduced. I do not believe autos are possible with the Black Hawk as it lacks the blade mass and independent tail drive to sustain rotation when the power is removed. What is really fun though is to land and roll on the mains in a scale like manner before coming to a stop in front of you.
Heli-Max Black Hawk
I am very pleased with the Heli-Max Black Hawk and believe that this is the best thing to come out of Heli-Max so far. Presenting a very accurate scale outline and detailed with many small touches, the Black Hawk certainly looks the part and provides the performance to back it all up. Flight times that I observed with the 600mAh battery were on par with most other industry offerings and varied in the 4-6 minutes range. I normally do not comment on the price of the products I review however I think that the price of the Black Hawk will certainly limit the number of people that will be willing to give this great heli a try. However, if you not amongst those persons, you will not be disappointed with the Heli-Max Black Hawk.
Great Planes Model Distributors
P.O. Box 9021
Champaign, IL 61826