RCU Review: Heli-Max EC145

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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: November 2013 | Views: 19483 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the Wings Maker DF032

    • Nice scale look
    • Very good quality components
    • Good robustness of the frame
    • Very good looking 4-blade rotor head.
    • The pre-programmed radio

    • The frame can deform from the blades hitting the rudders.

    The number of small helicopters available on the market has boomed over the past few years, thanks to the development of very light power packages and great improvement on the stabilization systems. Yet, the structure had to be kept as light as possible, and it is rare to find a scale looking helicopter in this size category. Helimax came to our rescue with this very nice scale model of the EuroCopter EC145. And with the multi-mission EC145 helicopter used today by firefighters, police and EMS teams "coming to the rescue", it is a very relevant model to have!

    Helimax offers the EC145 in two versions: the RTF which comes with the transmitter, and the Tx-R with which you will need to use your own transmitter.

    Today, we are testing the EC145 RTF version, which means that we will have the chance to test the provided TX610 transmitter as well.

    As usual with Helimax, the packaging is very well made, and well decorated.

    All components are secured in their own compartment to prevent any damage during transportation.

    The kit includes: the EC145, assembled and ready to fly, the TX610 transmitter, the charger with the wall adapter, a battery, a screwdriver and the manual.

    Manufacturer Information
    RTF version: $200
    TX-R version: $150

    The twin-engine Eurocopter EC145 has served in a variety of roles, including emergency medical service and search-and-rescue efforts, but is perhaps best utilized as a corporate transport aircraft.

    Heli-Max has replicated the EC145 in a 1/43 scale electric model with extensive scale detail that you have to see up close to believe. The injection-molded body alone includes rivets, windows, turbine exhausts, tie downs, door outlines and more.

    One look at this exceptional machine will have you wanting to fly it ? and its smooth, stable performance will have you flying with confidence. Both the RTF and Tx-R versions come with a LiPo flight battery and charger, so you're just minutes away from piloting this well-appointed machine!

    2.95 in (75mm)
    12in (305mm)
    2.36in (60mm)
    Main Rotor Diameter:
    9.6in (245mm)
    Tail Rotor Diameter:
    2.16in (55mm)
    RTF weight:
    3.01oz (85.5g)
    600mAh 3S LiPo

    The helicopter comes with a single-cell 600mAh battery, and its charger. Providing the wall adapter for the charger is a nice touch from Helimax. The TX610, which comes with the RTF kit, is a very capable 6-channel radio.

    The radio has all the features you want on a 6 channel transmitter. It has 10 model memories, and supports both helicopter and plane. The transmitter features the 2.4Ghz SLT modulation by TACTIC, and will operate most, if not all, models by Flyzone and Helimax. All the functions are easily accessible, with large switches. There is a switch protected by a cover that allows to easily convert the stick modes. This switch enables the spring and ratchet on the corresponding stick. That is cleverly made, and enables switching from mode 1 to mode 2 without opening the transmitter. The radio is equipped with a trainer port as well.

    The radio is powered by 8 AA batteries, which are not included. It would be easy to convert the radio to a 8-cell NiMh battery if a pilot one found the option attractive. One of the key feature of the EC145 is the scale looking 4-blade rotor head, which is very well made and very robust. It is not as common to see a 4-blade rotor on a micro-heli, and it is nice to see a manufacturer going out of their comfort zone and deciding to develop a new head instead of re-using a proven 2-blade design.  On the ground, this makes a huge visual impact!

    The fuselage is made of light molded plastic. The plastic is thin, and yet very durable. The front end of the fuselage is held on by 2 magnets. It has to be removed to change the battery. The tail rotor is a direct drive DC motor.

    The EC145 is equipped with an all-in-one board, that acts as the receiver, the motor control and the stabilization system. The actuators are all miniature size digital servos, and the main motor is brushless. Helimax really used quality components all-around in this model. You can see a detailed description of the components on the illustrations below:

    Take off:

    The EuroCopter 145 is quite commonly used to carry people and light equipment to offshore platforms, and we are coming to you from Houston. Saying that the oil and gas industry plays an important role in Houston's economy would be a massive understatement and the introduction of  Helimax's EC145 excited many RC pilots in this city who are used to seeing these Helis around town. To be fair, the EC145 is the VIP version of the offshore helis we commonly see in this city, but hey, close enough!

    Taking off is a breeze: the pilot just has to increase the throttle, and the EC145 takes off nice and straight. As for any helicopter, the rotor has to be brought slowly to lifting speed, and then more firmly to get the helicopter airborne. The helicopter might turn slightly clockwise, as it takes off, the time for the stabilization system to adjust to the sudden loss of grip from the ground.


    Once in the air, the EC145 flies with the stability we are now used to with the TAGS system. The heli hovers with little correction from the pilot, even in a light breeze. The gain was kept at the recommended value, and we didn't feel the need to adjust it. The tail stays straight, even on hard throttle input. The 4-blade head with the flybarless is noticeably more stable than a two-blade flybarred head and even resists small bumps by the wind.

    The transitions are clean and fast. The helicopter is capable of impressive speed for its size.


    Ok, Aerobatic and 3D flight might not be what the designers had in mind when they developed this tiny scale machine, and yet, the EC145 performs decently well. With a push of the "gear up" switch, the radio adjusts the throttle curve and the collective pitch so it gets neutral when the stick is half way. That allows for control of both negative and positive pitch, and opens up the flight envelop to up-side-down flight. The helicopter performs ok in this conditions, but it is not a high performance 3D machine, and power might be lacking at some critical points.


    The structure of the helicopter, and more specifically the flexibility of the tail boom, makes the EC145 very touchy on landing. If the helicopter is not brought down for a perfectly smooth landing, there is a high chance the blades hit the two rudders, dislodging them from their locating slots. That is easy to repair, but it is nicer if it doesn't happen. On a calm day, it is actually quite easy to bring the helicopter to a stop with no damage at all.

    The Heli-Max EC145

    Heli-Max brought us a very well-designed and accurate scale version of the Eurocopter EC145, and they did it without compromising the flight performance. I really appreciate the number of details Heli-Max managed to incorporate in the helicopter, such as the rivets, the windows, the effort made to get the canopy to blend in with no visible separation, and, more than anything else, the very good-looking and well-performing 4-blade collective pitch rotor-head.

    I am only a little disappointed with the overall frame rigidity which could have been made stiffer, to prevent the blades from hitting the two rudders on landing.

    The stability and the flight envelop is better than anyone would expect from a scale helicopter, and that alone makes the design of this helicopter a success.

    Pictures and videos were shot at:

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    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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