RCU Review: E-Sky Honey Bee

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: October 2004 | Views: 133586 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Honey Bee Micro Electric Heli

    Review by :Greg Covey

    Distributed exclusively by:


    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, TN 37027

    email: sales@hobby-lobby.com
    Website: www.hobby-lobby.com

    Click below to see the
    Honey Bee in action!

    Video #1 8.39 MB

    Video #2 6.88 MB

    • RTF right from box
    • Minimal experience needed
    • Includes radio system, battery, charger
    • Inexpensive spare parts available
    • Excellent manual

    • Marginal performance in wind (indoor flyer only)
    The new E-Sky Honey Bee from Hobby Lobby is an mini electric helicopter meant for indoor flying or outdoor flying in no wind conditions. You might ask yourself why is a guy like me with no helicopter experience reviewing this model? Well, for one, E-Sky claims that it is good for a beginner wanting to learn how to fly, and, it comes complete Ready-To-Fly (RTF) right out of the box with a handy carrying case, transmitter, battery, and charger. We'll be testing out just how much experience is needed to stay in the air.

    I was also relieved to see that a complete line of spare parts is available right from Hobby Lobby. The parts were inexpensive, and, as it turns out, I ended up needing one. My plan is to let an accomplished helicopter pilot fly it for the first video so we can see what it does, and then, try to fly it myself for a second video.

    Plenty of instructions came with the model, but, I'll admit that I simply charged the 7-cell, 600mAh, NiMH pack and started testing it in my living room. As it lifted off the carpet, I dropped the power to keep it safe until it is flown first by my friend, Scott Miller. The first claim seemed true enough as it did fly right out of the box!

    Kit Name: Honey Bee
    Price: 249.00
    Main Rotor: 21"
    Fuselage Length: 17"
    Battery: 7-cell 600mAh NiMH
    Flying Weight: 10oz.

    Fixed Pitch Rotors
    4-channel 72MHz. Radio (included)

    The Honey Bee easily packs back into the box by folding the blades and unscrewing the transmitter antenna. This makes it easy to store and provides a safe means of transportation to the local indoor events.

    The Honey Bee comes with everything that you need to get it into the air. The wall charger and battery pack use red JST connectors. The included 7-cell, 600mAh, NiMH pack can easily be replaced with a 2-cell Lithium pack and charger to double your flight time.

    My Honey Bee was ready to test fly in minutes! Time to chase the cat around the living room!

    Some close-up photos reveal a very compact design that weighs only 10oz with the battery pack

    We took some photos of my Honey Bee flying and then I actually tried a flight myself!
    (after the photos, of course).

    My friend, Scott Miller, flew it first for the photos and we didn't touch a thing right out of the box. He said that it flew much like a Hummingbird helicopter with the usual difficulty in reversing directions without adding more throttle. We didn't play with the gain settings and flew it with the antenna wrapped around the landing bars. He thought that it might be a little tail heavy but the 7-cell pack was already all the way forward. He was able to take off from gravel, hover a bit, and go in some 20'-30' circles, then land.

    After my photos were taken, I dropped my camera and had my first flight! Scott suggested that I just take off hard and get airborne without trying to hover. I did just that, and, to my surprise, flew it around a few circles (seemingly in control) until I tried to hover. When reversing a forward movement to backward movement, I didn't add enough throttle and the Honey Bee went down 5' into the grass. After we inspected it and found no damage, I decided to save it from damage for when we have the video camera. Unfortunately, my first flight was never recorded.

    We flew the HoneyBee for the first video but I didn't get a chance to fly because it broke on a crash in 5-10mph winds. It should be an easy fix since just the skinny flybar broke. I ordered a new flybar and discovered that they come in sets of two.

    The wind was frequently changing from about 3mph to 10mph gusts and there were times when the Honey Bee was hovering still with full forward stick. The three drops in the grass before we broke the flybar (on video) did no damage so we got an idea of the helicopters toughness and wind condition limitations.


    It does say on the box, "Indoor Silent Flight", so outdoor flying must be in very little to no wind conditions.

    Video #1 8.39 MB

    This video shows the limitations of the Honey Bee in wind and it also demonstrates some durability. The Honey Bee is really an indoor flyer and we have only tested it outdoors so far. The first test in no wind conditions produced the photos as well as my maiden flight. The second test is shown in the video below. The slight breeze increased to 5-10mph gusts that pushed the Honey Bee around a bit. After three dumps in the grass, we only broke the skinny flybar that crosses the blades at 90 degrees. So far, I'm quite happy with the performance.

    Video #2 6.88 MB

    Although it was time for my first solo video with the Honey Bee helicopter, I was no longer a pure rookie. I managed to get some practice indoors with the "Aero-Hawk" courtesy of the Hobby Lobby gang at the so-called Stranded NEAT Fair 2004 gathering during the Delaware River flooding from remnants of Hurricane Ivan.
    Kevin Butts from Hobby Lobby taught me to keep the tail pointed away and use the left stick to keep it positioned where left and right now follow the tail position. I managed to break the CF Tail Drive Axle Shaft after several successful hovering attempts but I was still very happy with my results!
    The following weekend we had a local R/C gathering in the Finger Lakes so I let our friend, Rudy Meyer from Canada, get some hover practice outdoors when I was flying planes. Rudy used to fly glow-powered helicopters "a long time ago" and would normally fly with the left and right sticks reversed from my Honey Bee transmitter. As it turned out, he did pretty good and did not damage the Honey Bee. He commented that he didn't feel the Honey Bee was set up properly and it would make things difficult for a beginner otherwise.

    The Honey Bee review was an interesting learning experience for me. Until this review, I had resisted my desires to start flying helicopters after hearing accounts about their difficulty to fly and expense to repair. The Ready-To-Fly kit comes complete with radio, battery, and charger. It is already set up for the novice so only a minimal amount of R/C knowledge is needed to start test flying. Further, a complete line of spare parts is available right from Hobby Lobby, most of which are inexpensive. This reduces some of the downtime and expense associated with learning to fly helicopters.

    The manual is well written and includes sections on the control system basics, connections, adjustments, and a three-step process to successful flying. E-Sky also recommends seeking the assistance of an experienced helicopter pilot.

    In general, the Honey Bee seemed tough and resistant to most bangs on the ground or grass. It flew right out of the box, as advertised, and taught me to hover in place or fly in small circles. Fine tuning the correct setup on the ground will reduce the amount of stick corrections in the air. A single crash may cause no damage at all or it may be enough to throw off hours of your setup efforts. It may even break a flybar or tail rotor shaft. The point here is to accept this as a condition of flying helicopters and take things in stride. Helicopters are complicated flying machines but the Honey Bee design has eliminated much of the learning curve to get started.

    It is important when learning to fly helicopters not to get easily frustrated. I also recommend getting help from an experienced pilot that can assist you to properly set things up and test things out. Light winds will make you correct the Honey Bee flight a bit more but a gentle breeze won't bother you at all. It is best to fly over soft areas like mowed grass.

    Some other Honey Bee owners have reported improvements in flight by moving the CG forward. This is accomplished by modifying the battery harness so that you can move it further forward. You can remove the lip on the forward battery holder so that the battery can push further forward. The CG should match the recommended setting in the manual.

    Others have straightened the paddles and adjusted the track of the main rotors to increase the pitch of the low blade. An alternate 2-cell Kokam 1500mAh Lithium pack can be used to fly the Honey Bee up to 25 minutes. Various modifications to the tail motors have been used successfully. Some prefer a direct drive solution and others just replace the existing motor with a spare. Finally, using a higher end Futaba transmitter instead of stock transmitter allows you to program the controls to be easier and smoother. These are all hop-ups that can be done after you have mastered the basics and continue to push the limits of your Ready-To-Fly Honey Bee helicopter.

    Good luck on your entry into the world of micro electric helicopters!

    Distributed exclusively by:


    5614 Franklin Pike Circle
    Brentwood, TN 37027

    email: sales@hobby-lobby.com
    Website: www.hobby-lobby.com

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Sky Honey Bee

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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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