6250 Traxxas Way
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone: 1-888-TRAXXAS www.traxxas.com
Not long ago I was asked if I'd be interested in reviewing one of the new products by Traxxas. At first I wasn't sure the question had been directed at me, as I'm not exactly an RC Car expert. "Huh?? Traxxas?? Of course I've HEARD of them, but cars really aren't my thing" I replied. Apparently I'd been out of the proverbial loop: Traxxas has entered the fast growing Helicopter market! I've flown my share of Helicopters before, I actually learned the dreaded 'nose in' hover with a co-axial Helicopter. I had no idea that Traxxas had gotten into the game with not one but two entry level heli's: the Coaxial DR-1 and the Quad Rotor QR-1. I recently reviewed the DR-1 here at RCU. The Subject for this review is the Quad Rotor QR-1.
The diminutive QR-1 not surprisingly arrived in a fairly small box, well packaged with everything needed to fly. Included were four spare props, two flight batteries and a dual port USB lipo charger. four 'AAA' batteries, a well written owner's manual and a 'game controller' style transmitter rounds out the box's contents. Everything you need to fly is included.
I was impressed by the overall quality of the QR-1, but what really surprised me was that the frame on this quad is made from Aluminum, not plastic as I had expected. It is robust to say the least, I am hoping not to bang this little guy off the wall too many times, but at least I have the peace of mind that it should hold together well. (I later discovered the QR-1 is indeed DURABLE)
Traxxas has a well known service and support network, (after all, they ARE one of the top RC car companies) similar to all Traxxas products, spare parts for the QR-1 are available. Traxxas has a 'Helicopter Replacement Plan' where you can trade in your QR-1 at ANY time and in ANY condition and purchase a brand new model at HALF the list price of a new QR-1. Although I doubt I will ever need that service, it's very comforting knowing it's available.
The Transmitter is set at the factory to Mode 1 or Mode 2 and is NOT user selectable. Similar to the DR-1, the QR-1 has two main control settings: Normal and Expert. The system will always power up in 'Normal' mode (A good safety feature) but once you've become accustomed to flying the QR-1 you can select 'Expert' mode for more extreme control response. To activate Expert mode, turn on the transmitter and the QR-1 then momentarily press down on the elevator stick. The word 'Expert' appears on the LCD screen and the red LED will blink continuously when in Expert mode.
Although the QR-1 does not have an on/off switch, the battery can be installed or removed without removing anything, which makes swapping the flight battery a breeze. Simply turn on the transmitter, connect the battery on the QR-1 and place it on a level surface while the gyro initializes.
Similar to the DR-1, The QR-1 has an automatic rudder trimming feature: simply land the QR-1 and allow it to sit steady and level for 3 or more seconds and the QR-1 will automatically re-center the rudder control. You can customize the controls to suit your flying style: the 'Normal' and 'Expert' modes change the amount of control authority on the motors. You can customize how much in the transmitter's programming menu, and if for any reason you need to reset the transmitter to it's default settings you can do that also, all by using the control sticks.
Now begins the REAL fun... Let's go Flying!
I was VERY impressed with the manual included with the QR-1. Frankly I had no idea there were so many things to program or customize with an entry level helicopter. Each function is well explained (in proper English) with lots of photos to assist.
As I had done earlier with the Traxxas DR-1, I had familiarized myself by thumbing through the manual, and decided I would try flying the QR-1 first in normal mode, without making any adjustments. First I installed the batteries in the transmitter and charged the single cell 240 mAh battery with the included USB charger. I turned on the transmitter, slipped the Lipo battery into the slot in the rear of the QR-1's chassis, connected the battery and set the QR-1 on the floor in my living room. I smoothly advanced the throttle and we were flying!
The QR-1 lifted off and settled into a nice eye level hover. a couple clicks of trim was all it took to get a decent, nearly hands off hover. The little QR-1 has an impressive amount of power in a very small package. Similar to the DR-1, I flew the QR-1 'tail in' for half a minute, I yawed it around with the rudder stick and the QR-1 was looking right back at me, nose in.
Again, I began to grin. Although it handles similarly to a Coaxial Helicopter, the look and sound are completely different. Pure fun.
It didn't take more than a couple of minutes hovering before I was ready for some forward flight. The QR-1 responded nicely but it didn't take long before I felt ready to take on Expert mode. pressing down on the elevator stick caused the LED on the transmitter to begin flashing, and the word 'Expert' to be displayed on the transmitter's LCD screen.
With the system set to Expert, the QR-1 was certainly more responsive, but still not twitchy or overly sensitive (if you're a fixed wing pilot, think hi rate / low rate). Now the QR-1 would really move when commanded.
the most demanding part for me was throttle control. Although the QR1 is very stable, until you've gotten a bit of practice you may find yourself 'chasing' the throttle. After a very few minutes, my 'muscle memory' kicked back in altitude control became more natural.
After 'knocking the rust off' in my Living Room, I took the QR-1 out to our local flying field to see what this little guy would do outdoors. It was late afternoon, winds were reasonable at about 5 MPH. I can tell you the QR-1 is MORE fun when you've got more room (and not worrying about flying into a TV, Fish Tank, walls etc.). Although the QR-1 is small, it's surprisingly agile and handles small amounts of wind better than I had expected. We had a ball zipping it around at high speed, cranking the rudder stick full deflection to either side would make the QR-1 spin like a pinwheel. Adding some up (or down) elevator causes what I'd describe as a whirlpool effect on the little quad. I handed the transmitter off to a couple of our local members (none of whom are heli pilots). All were able to fly the QR-1 and keep it within a few feet of themselves in less than a single battery charge. One thing I was not able to do was get the QR-1 to 'Flip'.
The procedure is to fly level at full throttle and full forward elevator stick, then rapidly pull full UP (aft) elevator.
It may well have been me and not the QR-1, as I have spent better than 40 years training myself NOT to bang the sticks around. (I can still hear my Father's voice when I was a kid.... "Jim, DON'T 'blip' the sticks!!"). Old habits die hard.
After several dozen more flights with the QR-1 I'm happy to report it's still fun to fly and very easy to learn with (my 11 year old thinks it's a blast!).
With flight times of 4-5 minutes I would highly recommend getting some spare batteries so you won't need to wait to fly.
From the sturdy construction to the gentle flight characteristics to the top notch customer and product support, the Traxxas QR-1 is a sure winner!
Check out the video to see the Traxxas QR-1 in action!
If you're looking for something you can learn to fly in your own living room, (at night, during the winter even) you'd do well to grab a Traxxas QR-1 before the winter blahs set in. It's very stable, affordable, has outstanding US based product support and just plain fun!
6250 Traxxas Way
McKinney, TX 75070
Phone: 1-888-TRAXXAS www.traxxas.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.