RCUniverse.com Review of the Blade 500 3D BNF Basic
as Basic of RTF.
fiber blades included.
high spec servos.
and Gyro included.
tail blade setup.
maintenance belt driven tail.
swash connections of cyclic.
spare and upgrade parts available.
upgrade to FBL if desired.
canopy can accept larger battery (6S3300mAh).
first saw the Blade 500 3D and the 500X in 2012 at the Toledo Horizon
Hobby booth. At the time, I remember picking each one up and going over
all the details of each helicopter. After a long wait, both helicopters
have made it to U.S. shores and I was lucky enough to get my hands on
the Blade 500 3D for a review so this should be exciting.
The Blade 500 3D is a 500 class heli that swings 425 size blades.
It is of course flybarred (FB) while the 500X is flybarless (FBL).
The 500 3D seems to be marketed towards people who want to
up to larger helis but still want the convenience of a RTF heli with
blade quality and reliability. That of course does not mean that the
Blade 500 3D is an entry level heli. On the box itself, it warns the
user that this product is intended for experienced CCPM pilots as the
heli is fully 3D capable.
500 3D is available as an RTF or Basic. The Basic version will get you
everything you need less the Transmitter, the flight battery and
charger. The RTF version adds a DX6i transmitter, a 6S2900mAh flight
battery and charger. Everything you will need will be in the box with
the RTF version which is very convenient. Chances are though that if
you are in the market for a 500, you will most likely have your own
transmitter and a way to charge Li-Po batteries.
version of the 500 3D arrives with a brushless motor, a 70A ESC, Three
Spektrum S300 digital servos for the cyclic and a S400G servo for the
tail. The tail is controlled by a G210HL heading lock gyro and the tail
grips are weighted. Carbon fiber blades are included so all you really
need is to acquire a flight pack, bind the heli to your Spektrum
transmitter and you will be ready for flight.
article will look at the BNF Basic version of the Blade 500 3D. Don't
let the word 'Basic' fool you though as it only implies that the heli
is shipped without a TX and battery/charger.
Blade 500 3D is fully assembled in the box and all that remains is to
attach the main blades. The manual is taped to the back of the box.
get the Blade 500 3D in the air, attach the blades, bind your
transmitter, setup the heli per the manual and you will be ready to fly
before you can charge your flight pack.
for pilots ready to transition to high-performance 3D helis
for aggressive 3D flight
tail rotor with weighted tail blade hardware
6S 2800-3000mAh 30C Li-Po battery and charger
Blade 500 3D BNF Basic is designed for intermediate-to-experienced
heli pilots who want a big, powerful 3D machine they can simply bind to
their DSM2/DSMX transmitter and fly. It comes out of the box equipped
for aggressive 3D with an E-flite 520H 1320Kv brushless motor. This
awesome power is complemented by the kind of state-of-the-art
electronics and engineering you would expect to find in more expensive
kits that take hours to build.
Rotor Blade Length:
Blade 500 utilizes a carbon fiber frame and aluminum tail boom. The
swashplate is metal and connections from the cyclic servos are direct
to swash which eliminates weight and slop. The pre-installed servos
have been expertly wired and neatly tied down to the frame with zip
70A S-BEC ESC has been installed under the battery tray in the front of
the helicopter. Note that the capacitors are not really protected by
the frame and could potentially be damaged in a nose in crash. The
battery tray is easily accessible and I was able to mount both the
recommended 6S2900mAh battery and a larger 6S3300mAh battery with the
included straps without any issues. The larger battery is a tighter fit
on the canopy and makes the heli a tad nose heavy but nothing really
major to be concerned about. The canopy mounts are plastic and provide
a great fit of the included Hot Rod canopy.
tail grips are weighted to aid in tail authority and tracking. Stiff
plastic blades are included along with the required spacers. The tail
case and pitch slider are plastic and with the stock setup can achieve
the complete range of motion left and right. The horizontal and
vertical fins are white plastic. Replacement parts are available in
white and black along with carbon fiber upgrades. The tail is
controlled by a H400G plastic geared servo. Specs for this servo are not
published on the manufacturers site however I believe all the servos on
the Blade 500 3D are essentially the same on the 500X servos for which
specs are available . The tail control rod is metal and
stabilized with control guides that are almost frictionless and easy to
move and position if you every need to change out the servo or boom.
receiver on the Blade 500 3D is a 6-channel DSMX AR6210.
A satellite receiver is attached to the bottom of the frame and as with all BNF products, a bind
plug is provided. The gyro is a micro size G210HL which has a switch on
it to set direction and a rotating screw to allow you to set end points
for the pitch slider. This has however been done for you by
factory so no need to change any of the settings. The tail is driven by
a heavy duty belt connected directly to the main gear. I really like
this setup as it eliminates one gear in the tail but can make replacing
the boom slightly more involved as you will have to remove the main
the swashplate and the head block are metal, the rest of the components
such as the main grips, Bell-Hiller mixing arms and washout control
arms and washout base are plastic. The flybar is weighted to allow
stable flight envelope. The weights are removable to allow the user to set how
aggressive they want their heli to perform. Since the cyclic servos are
direct to swash, an anti-rotation bracket is utilized to keep the
swashplate straight. Metal hopups are available for almost all of the
head and tail component but plastic is perfectly fine with me as they
are durable and inexpensive to replace. With the canopy mounted, you
can see that there is ample space between the control rods and the sides of the canopy.
is a convenient cooling hole under the canopy. The canopy is attached to the
fuselage with two canopy mounts and a plastic clip on the front. The
canopy is plastic, looks fairly good and should be very visible in the
air. As of the date of this article, I am not aware of any after market
canopies for the 500 3D or the 500X.
manual contains setup instructions for a variety of Spektrum
transmitters. I was using a DX18 which is not covered in the manual but
setup is easy regardless. I had to first create a model and bind the
receiver to my transmitter. I set the swash type to 120 degree CCPM and
checked to see if the swash and cyclic servos were moving in the
correct directions. The servos are already mechanically centered so all
I had to do was to reverse two servos and reverse the elevator from the
CCPM mix menu and the swash and cyclic movements were corrected. I
checked the positive and negative pitch and achieved +12/-12 degrees. I
set the normal mode to 0-85-85-85-85, and IDLE1 to 85 and IDLE2 to 100
across the board. I increased the bottom pitch in normal mode to about
-6 degrees and left everything else on their stock settings. I also
enabled the throttle hold and lastly dialed in the gyro per
the flight modes to %65 for all modes and I was ready for
waiting to go out to the field, I took the Blade 500 3D in front of my
house for its first flight and connected the flight battery. After
spooling up in normal mode and checking that the tail was holding and
moving in the right direction per rudder input, I gave the 500 some
more collective and it was up and hovering in a stable manner in front
of me. I was glad to see that blade tracking was spot on and that there
were not vibrations on the heli. I checked the piro rates and found
them to be to my liking which is not too fast and not too slow. I
to IDLE1 and with the lower head speed, flew a couple of basic
circuits upright and inverted to see if the tail would hunt or let go
and I was again happy to see that it was holding steady. With the %85
head speed, the Blade 500 3D is capable of performing smooth and stable
acrobatics. Since it is a FB heli, it of course does not compensate for
small drifts or the wind but due to its larger size as compared to a
450 heli, it is very stable and controllable.
the flight mode to IDLE2, I played around with some full collective
climb outs both upright and inverted to see if the heli would climb out
straight and at the same rate and was pleased to see that it did. I was
happy that I did not have to take the heli back on the bench to mess
with a swash leveler as the level of performance was about as much you
can expect from a FB machine.
available power at %100 head speed is very good. It is not the most powerful heli I have flown but I was able to perform
tic-tocs in all orientations without observing major bogging of the
head speed and long rainbows were easy to perform due to the larger
blades providing a bit more hang time in between collective changes.
Performing inverted tail in hurricanes I noticed that that tail started
to hunt a bit so I backed down on the gyro gain and tried the maneuver
again to notice that the hunting went away. I wanted to make sure that
the gyro gain was not set too low so I tried a couple of full throttle
climb outs to see that the tail did not move with full collective
input. On later flights in windy conditions, I did notice that the tail
did slide out a couple of times with aggressive tail slides and on a few
occasions performed inconsistent piros during piroutetting manuevers but
nothing that was unmanageable. I think the G210HL gyro will be
sufficient for most pilots but expert pilots may find room for
improvement on the tail performance.
Blade 500 3D has sufficient mass and head speed when placed in Throttle
hold to perform auto rotations but of course does not have the rotating
mass and hang time of a larger helicopter to give you significant room
for error. I kept my flight times to 4 minutes with the 2900mAh battery
and 4:30 with the larger 3300mAh battery that I had on hand and noticed
that the electronics came down cool to the touch. The additional weight
of the 3300mAh battery does make the heli a tad nose heavy but I did
not find this to effect how it flew through the various maneuvers that
I was able to perform with it.
500 3D BNF Basic
is definitely stepping up their game. With the release of the 500 3D,
the 500X and the announcement of the 550X, there is certainly no lack
of choices out there when it comes to choosing a larger helicopter. To
me the 500 size is ideal. They are small enough that I can comfortably
fly them in at the medium sized park in front of my house but still provide the
benefit of a larger machine such as increased hang time which allow me
to think a split second longer as I am trying to learn a new
maneuver. With an abundance of inexpensive replacement parts,
recovering from a crash will not be an issue. Metal upgrades to almost
all the components of the heli are available if you decide to hopup up
your machine. While it is not the fastest and most powerful heli that is out there, the
500 3D is a
great inexpensive helicopter that is easy to setup, work on and flies with
performance that is comparable to much higher priced helis. It
shares many components with its FBL sibling, the 500X so if you decide
to later upgrade to a FBL setup, you will not have to spend too much to
explore what sort of performance the heli can offer with a FBL head. I
will definitely be keeping mine and look forward to seeing what Blade has up for us next.
by: Horizon Hobby, Inc. 4105 Fieldstone Road
Champaign, IL 61822 www.bladehelis.com
The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.