RCU Review: Blade 500 3D

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    Contributed by: Burc Simsek | Published: March 2013 | Views: 35359 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Blade 500 3D BNF Basic
    • Available as Basic of RTF.
    • Carbon fiber blades included.
    • Powerful brushless setup.
    • Digital high spec servos.
    • Receiver and Gyro included.
    • Very visible canopy.
    • Weighted tail blade setup.
    • Easy maintenance belt driven tail.
    • Direct to swash connections of cyclic.
    • Carbon fiber frame.
    • Tons of spare and upgrade parts available.
    • Easy upgrade to FBL if desired.
    • Space under canopy can accept larger battery (6S3300mAh).
    • None found
    I 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 move 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.

    The 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.

    The Basic 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.

    This 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.

    The 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.

    To 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.

    Blade 500 3D

    Price: $599.99

    Key Features

    • Ideal for pilots ready to transition to high-performance 3D helis
    • Engineered for aggressive 3D flight
    • Belt-driven tail rotor with weighted tail blade hardware
    • Spektrum AR6210 6-channel DSMX receiver installed
    • E-flite 520H 1420kV brushless motor installed
    • E-flite 70A S-BEC brushless ESC installed
    • E-flite G210HL micro heading lock MEMS gyro installed
    • Requires 6S 2800-3000mAh 30C Li-Po battery and charger


    The 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.


    Main Rotor Blade Length: 425 mm 
    Main Rotor Diameter: 38.2 in (969mm) 
    Tail Rotor Diameter: 7.8 in  (198mm)
    Length: 33.5 in (850mm)
    Height: 11.8 in (300mm)
    RTF Weight: 4.06 lb (1.84kg)

    The 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 ties.

    The 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.

    The 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.

    The main 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 the 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 shaft.

    While 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 for 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.

    There 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.  

    The 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 flight. 

    Without 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 flipped 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.

    Flipping 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. 

    The 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.

    The 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.

    Blade 500 3D BNF Basic

    Blade 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 a 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.

    Distributed by:
    Horizon Hobby, Inc.
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822

    17260 Westheimer Parkway
    Houston, TX 77082


    Comments on RCU Review: Blade 500 3D

    Posted by: Rob2160 on 05/10/2013
    I enjoy reading these review, thanks again, good information, easy to understand and great flying vids. I greatly appreciate the time you take to make these reviews.
    Posted by: Jonathan vernhes on 05/22/2013
    I really like to play with rc helicopters,every weekend,i go to park with my friends.we enjoy ourselves all days.we buy the Walkera Hélicoptère RC on line in http://www.rctophobby.com/fr/.
    Posted by: Jonathan vernhes on 05/22/2013
    I really like to play with rc helicopters,every weekend,i go to park with my friends.we enjoy ourselves all days.we buy the <a href="http://www.rctophobby.com/fr/rc-helicopteres/achete-par-marque/walkera.html">Walkera Hélicoptère RC</a> on line in http://www.rctophobby.com/fr/.
    Posted by: Johnny_Zero on 09/04/2013
    What a troll!
    Page: 1
    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.

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