"Heli-Max designs cutting-edge helicopter models that make the hobby fun for newcomers and experts alike." This is a quote taken directly from the Heli-Max website - the proof is in their lineup. From stable, ready to fly coaxial helicopters right up to their top of the line collective pitch machines, Heli-Max has a machine to meet the demands of anyone looking for a small helicopter.
Recently, Heli-Max has been releasing quadcopters to keep up with the demands for these stable aircraft. They haven't forgotten about the true heli lovers, and just released a new fixed-pitch helicopter - the 200FP. Though they previously had a heli in this class, Heli-Max has redesigned it, and added some new features.
The 200FP, sharing the same mechanics as its earlier sibling the Novus 200FP, now sports a full body, LED lighted blades, and a 720P HD video camera! These are some really cool items, not often found in smaller, inexpensive, Ready To Fly helicopters.
Radio Used:Included Heli-Max 6-Channel 2.4gHz SLT Receiver Used:Included Heli-Max Receiver/Gyro Unit - SLT Compatible Battery Used:Included 2S 7.4V 1000mAh LiPo
Channels Used: 6 total - Elevator, Aileron, Throttle, Rudder, and Video and Photo control
Items Needed To Complete:
Nothing - Everything is Included!
The new 200FP arrives in a full-color box that doubles as a carrying case - a feature we've all come to love on these small aircraft. Inside, I found a plastic tray with a cover that keeps all the parts neatly in order, and provides 'safety through air space' during shipping.
I removed the contents from the box, and everything was accounted for and in perfect shape. Talk about Ready-To-Fly, Heli-Max has even included the four AA batteries for the transmitter! I really like the yellow and blue color scheme - the bright, bold colors should help with orientation while flying. By tilting the front half of the body forward, I was able to see all the components packed inside - from the two micro servos to the receiver/gyro unit and the large heat sink on the main motor, everything fits inside neatly.
I really like the LED lighted rotor blades - now here's something you don't see on a fixed-pitch helicopter! Red and blue lights adorn the top of one blade, while red and green light up the bottom of the other blade. These should make flying in low light really cool! Power for the blades comes from two button-cell batteries under the aluminum cap on top of the rotor head - tightening the cap turns the LEDs on.
Another of the 'star players' on Team 200FP is the 720p HD digital video camera mounted on its belly. I really like the rotating head of the camera, as this allows the pilot to vary the shooting angle. Heli-Max has also included a 2GB micro SD card and a micro SD card reader, making recording and downloading video a breeze! One of the main stabilizing features of the 200FP is the 45° offset flybar.
Heli-Max has included a nice 2S LiPo battery and charger. The 1000mAh flight battery should give the heli plenty of time in the air. When it's time to recharge, the balance plug-style charger is easy to use and takes roughly an hour to recharge the flight battery. The transmitter is not quite full size, but feels good in my hands. In addition to the digital trims, the TX460 transmitter has dual rates, allowing all pilots to enjoy the 200FP. On the backside of the TX460, two buttons control the video and picture taking capabilities of the HD camera.
Reviewer's Note: The camera will not take digital pictures whilst the video camera is recording - the video must be stopped before the taking pictures.
The instruction manual is great - there is a TON of information in it! The written instructions are clear and concise, and the illustrations are great. From LiPo storage and charging all the way through first flights is all at your fingertips!
Getting the 200FP Ready for Flight
Since the 200FP arrives fully assembled, there is very little to do for flight preparation. While the flight battery was charging, I installed the four AA batteries in the transmitter and installed the micro SD card in the camera.
When the flight battery was completely charged, it was installed in the holder on the bottom of the helicopter. Once the battery had been secured, the transmitter was powered up and I connected the heli's flight battery to the plug-in and set the 200FP on a flat, level surface. The 200FP was now ready to fly!
One more thing? The 200FP uses SLT (Secure Link Technology) - this means that the heli can be flown from any of the quality transmitters available from Tactic, in addition to the included transmitter. To test this, I linked the 200FP to the BRAND NEW Tactic TTX 850. Check out RCUniverse.com for a full review of this new Tactic transmitter.
Because of the 200FP's size, I was able to fly the helicopter inside for initial testing. This was ideal, because I could rule out weather conditions and evaluate the flight characteristics of the heli. Besides, the outside temperature was hovering right at zero for a daytime high - who wants to voluntarily go out in THAT?!? I'm a die-hard Minnesotan, born and raised, but I only go outside at zero if I have to!
My church has a gymnasium that is roughly half of a basketball court, and on most Saturday afternoons, it's completely vacant. This was the case, so my flying buddy Jim Buzzeo and I took advantage of the day to fly indoors. As we had a couple of other reviews we were trying to complete, it was nice to not have to brave the elements to get them done.
I readied the heli for flight and set it on the gym floor, pressed the video button on the back of the transmitter, then slowly advanced the throttle. The main and tail rotors came alive and very quickly the 200FP was airborne. I moved the throttle stick so that the initial hover was above the floor by about three feet. Here, I checked the trim settings, and found I needed a couple clicks of left rudder - that was it for a really nice hover. Now mind you, a really nice hover will still wander a little, but I was easily able to keep the heli in an area roughly three feet in diameter on the first flight.
With the video still recording, I moved about the gym, back and forth at varying heights - the 200FP flies very gently on low rates. I pressed the right stick inward (at the top of the stick) to turn on the high rate setting. The heli reacted much quicker in high rates, and I felt it flew easier. Keep in mind, I also have the original Novus 200FP and have been flying it for several years. A beginner will definitely want to have the transmitter set to low rates for flying.
While technically not a flight characteristic, I really enjoyed the LED lights in the rotor blades. Not only did they make seeing the rotor disc easy, it looked REALLY COOL! Another LED is embedded in the tail of the 200FP, adding a little more dimension for low light flying as well.
I have always been amazed at the flying time we are able to get out of our LiPo batteries, and the 1000mAh battery included with the 200FP was no exception - the heli started to descend gently at around ten minutes, so it was time to land. I pulled the throttle back slowly, and the 200FP came down easily. Just as the skids were to touch the floor, I bumped the throttle ever so slightly, then pulled the left stick fully back. With that, the main and tail rotors came to a halt and the maiden flight was done. All in all, a really nice flying helicopter that nearly anyone can handle!
When I got home from the gymnasium, I downloaded the video footage, only to find that I had the camera's head pointing downward too far. Unfortunately, all the video showed was some really nice footage of the floor of the gym. In a pure stroke of luck, the next morning was calm and MUCH warmer! So, I adjusted the camera and took the 200FP outside to get some video!
I really like the new Heli-Max 200FP. The full body and LED lights add some nice visual appeal while maintaining the great flight characteristics of the original Novus 200FP. Adding the digital video camera will also broaden the appeal to amateur videographers.
Please, remember to follow the AMA and FAA's rules for flying and using a video camera!
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.