RCU Review: E-Flite Blade CP


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    Contributed by: Eric Balay | Published: October 2005 | Views: 360690 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite Blade CP

    Review by: Eric Balay

    E-flite Blade CP
    Distributed exclusively by:
    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61822
    Support Phone:
    (877)504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800)338-4639

    Website: www.horizonhobby.com


    Blade CP Video
    CLICK HERE to Watch


    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Aerobatic ability
    Looks
    Price
    Manual

    Packaging & Manual
    Flight stability
    Truly Ready to Fly


    Charger might cook the battery if left unattended

    If you're looking for a hassle free, ready-to-fly micro helicopter that flies like a dream, check out the Blade CP by E-Flite. This little copter arrives completely assembled, including a high quality transmitter, rechargeable flight battery pack, and a battery charger. Each Blade CP has been test flown at the factory to ensure that your first flight impressions will have you smiling from ear to ear! Clear pictures and descriptions in the instructions manual help ease the beginner pilot into the action. For the more advanced modeler, the Blade can be easily modified with the inexpensive aerobatic upgrade kit and lithium polymer battery to perform loops, rolls, stall turns and even inverted flight. Sounds too good to be true? Read on, and find out why this little gem is so much fun to fly that E-Flite Blade CP helis are taking flight everywhere!




    Kit Name: E-flite Blade CP, part #EFLH1100
    Price: $219.99
    Rotorspan: 20.75"
    Length: 20.63"
    Flying Weight (stock): 324 grams
    Flying Weight (with aerobatic upgrade kit & Li-Po battery): 278 grams
    Motors: E-flite 370 brushed (main) and N30 (tail)
    Battery used: 9.6v, 650 mah NiMH E-Flite
    Battery for aerobatic flight : 11.1v, 720 mah ElectriFly
    Radio equipment: E-Flite transmitter, as supplied, requires 8 AA batteries (not included)

    Also available for the E-Flite Blade CP:


    Packaging
    Nestled in foam
    Ready for take-off

    Our Blade CP arrrived in a colorful box that doubles as a handy carrying case. Foam inserts protect the completely assembled helicopter from damage during transport. A quality transmitter, rechargeable 9.6v 650 mah NiMH flight battery, 2 hour quick battery charger, spare foam tape and cable ties, and an excellent instruction manual are included. Only eight AA batteries are needed to complete the model.

    Manual
    Control Check
    Parts Breakdown

    The instruction manual is well written, and includes clear pictures that thoroughly illustrate the content. A parts breakdown page shows all of the components, with the associated part numbers and a drawing of each piece, which is really handy for identification. Understanding the resulting swashplate movements for each control stick input is made simple with photos. Simple procedures for battery installation, center-of-gravity adjustments, blade tracking, and gyro gain settings are detailed.

    In addition to the pictures in the manual, Horizon Hobby shows the CCPM control inputs on the E-Flite Blade CP webpage. We've added a few videos to the CCPM section of this article below, so you can see the linkage in action.

    Main Rotor Head
    Tail Rotor Assembly
     

    Since the Blade arrives assembled, after being adjusted and test flown at the E-Flite factory, all that is necessary is to remove the helicopter from the packaging and go fly! You will need to install 8 AA sized batteries (the only item not included and necessary for flight) in the transmitter. The instructions alert you that the flight battery is shipped with a partial charge, and that you should fly the helicopter before fully charging. My Blade flew for 5 minutes on this partial charge. Subsequent flights last 10 minutes. Don't discard the colorful box and foam inserts! With the included handle, it's the perfect carrying case for your Blade.

    Nicer than I expected
    Got Batteries?
    Smooth out the Throttle

    The included E-Flite transmitter is a high quality 6 channel unit. A multi-colored LED display shows the battery status when the power switch is ON. Available adjustments include servo reversing for the 4 main channels, Idle-Up and Trainer switches. My servo reversing switches were set at: aileron - normal, elevator - reverse, throttle - normal, and rudder - reverse. I verified the correct swashplate movements as shown in the manual with these factory switch settings, so I left them alone.

    I modified the throttle stick ratchet, as I prefer smooth throttle stick movements. This is simple to do; just remove the 8 AA batteries, battery cover, and the screws on the rear of the transmitter case to expose the throttle stick ratchet tab. You can adjust the tension that this tab places on the ratchet plate by carefully bending the plate, or you can remove the ratchet tab entirely (shown with the red arrow in the above right picture). If you would like to change the stick tension of the other gimbals, simply adjust the screws (shown by yellow arrows in the above right picture) clockwise to tighten, and counter-clockwise to loosen.

    Editors Note: Since the reviewer's model appears to be from an earlier batch with a "harsh" ratchet on the throttle, it might be worth noting that subsequent batches of BCPs have transmitters with "smoothed out" ratchets that many people prefer and do not feel compelled to modify. It feels much better now than before!

    I found that the Idle-Up switch is on the upper right side, which differs from the usual convention of upper left placement on other transmitters. Be aware that if you are not accustomed to this switch position, you might find yourself trying to deactivate the Idle-Up function using the wrong switch. This usually results in the infamous "wallet-reach" maneuver.

    Click to watch the video
    Left/Right Cyclic
    Click to watch the video
    Fore/Aft Cyclic
    Click to watch the video
    Collective Pitch

    Cyclic Collective Pitch Mixing (CCPM) control uses electronic mixing to affect the necessary swashplate inputs instead of complex linkages. The Blade's servo layout with 3 short linkages is typical of the simplicity of CCPM. Control movements are precise and quick, owing to the impressive servo resolution. Collective pitch control using a moving flybar design further reduces linkage. Many micro helicopters employ fixed main rotor blade pitch, relying on varying the head speed to ascend and descend, which does not give precision control. The collective pitch design used on the Blade allows the helicopter to react quickly to collective pitch inputs, and affords higher fidelity in ascent/descent maneuvers. Click on the above photos to see video of the CCPM linkage movements.

    A lightweight "4-in-1" unit combines a 6 channel FM receiver, a solid state piezo gyro stabilizer, and two electronic speed controls to throttle the main and tail rotor motors. The three CCPM servos connect to the "4-in-1" unit, leaving one final connector to the flight battery. In the interest of weight savings, a switch has been omitted. Thus, be careful when connecting the battery as the system will power up and begin the gyro initialization. During this phase, the electronic gyro senses a zero rotation baseline condition to serve as a reference point for angular acceleration stabilization. Simply put, when you plug in the battery, don't move the helicopter until the solid green LED illuminates, or else your Blade might not fly properly. Remember to set the throttle stick at low (full down), move the throttle trim all the way down, and make sure the Idle-Up switch is deactivated (set towards the rear of the transmitter). The LED light on the "4-in-1" unit will blink red and then green during the start-up period, and then when properly initialized will show steady green. At this point, power to the drive motors is enabled and the Blade is ready for take-off.

    Tail rotor control is achieved by modulating the speed of the fixed pitch tail rotor with the tiny tail motor and a second speed controller. This design avoids the typically sloppy tail pitch changing linkage found on other micro helicopters that use one motor to drive both the main and tail rotors. Tail holding power is not up to 3D maneuvers, but the simplicity affords durability and quick repairs.

    Sharp looking model
    I'm the Baby, gotta love me!
    Charged up and ready to go!
    Symmetrical blades & Li-Po onboard
    Aerobatic Setup
    Two Choppers

    The stock Blade includes pre-built flat bottom rotor blades. They work very well with the included motor and battery, which allows for over 10 minutes of flying time per charge.

    If you happen to damage your Blade, fear not! Replacement parts are widely available, and very inexpensive. A set of replacement landing skids, new flat bottom rotor blades, new tail rotor blade, and flybar can be purchased in one convenient set (EFLH1169) for only $18.99. My Blade has accrued it's share of bumps and bruises, but it always comes out of a mishap smelling like a rose! Even rough crashes usually only result in a set of dinged up yet still flyable blades, and a damaged main gear / bent main shaft, which is a one piece assembly that will set you back a whopping $5.99.

    More experienced pilots might want more performance out of their bird. E-Flite has anticipated this, with the Blade CP Aerobatic upgrade Kit, part # EFLH1169. This kit includes symmetrical main rotor blades, aluminum heatsinks for the main and tail rotor motors (anodized in cool blue), and a stock 370 motor with a 9 tooth pinion gear. In order to realize the full potential of the symmetrical blades it is necessary to use a lighter, and more powerful 3 cell lithium polymer battery. The manual recommends using the E-Flite 900 mah Li-Po, but I opted to use a lighter 720 mah 11.1v ElectricFly Li-Po from Great Planes. This reduced the all-up weight to a mere 278 grams!


    This is a well built helicopter that really flies great! Flight times with the stock "blue" battery and flat bottomed rotor blades are around 10 minutes, even in Colorado's thin air.

    E-Flite test flies every Blade before it's shipped. Our rotor blades were in track, and the gear train ran smoothly. Hovering was smooth and steady - no bad vibes. When they say it's ready to fly, straight out of the box, they mean it!

    As with any small helicopter, flying in ground effect (lower than 6 or 8 inches) is a bit difficult. But once you've climbed a bit higher, the hover is rock steady. My Blade has even weathered 10 mph winds!

    Be vigilant to not allow the blue 650mah NiMH battery to remain connected to the included wall-wart charger for longer than 2 1/2 hours. It's charge rate is high enough to allow permanent battery damage if left unattended.

    If you tap the tail rotor on the ground, it's prudent to check that the little piece of fuel tubing that holds the tail rotor blade to the drive gear hasn't slipped. If the tail blade isn't properly secured to this drive gear, the tiny motor pinion could disengage in the air and your tail rotor will stop. If this happens, you'll get a healthy dose of high speed piroetting practice.

    If you're a beginner, you'll be interested in the safety of having an experienced pilot ready to save the copter using the trainer switch function, and a second transmitter with trainer cable. This feature is valuable for any beginner, yet rarely offered with ready-to-fly micro helicopters.

    For you experts out there, if you think that you wouldn't have fun with this little plastic helicopter, think again! With the Blade's diminuitive size, everything starts to look like a landing pad. Hovering, forward and backward flight, stall turns and more challenging maneuvers like pirouetting circles and figure-8's are possible with the stock flat bottomed blades and "blue" NiMH battery. Add the aerobatic upgrade kit with a Li-Po battery, and get ready for loops, rolls, and inverted flight!

    Overall, the Blade is a blast to fly! I've let several modelers fly mine, and everyone is surprised by it's performance!

    See the E-flite Blade CP in action!


    Small Video (8 Mb)
    Large Video (19 Mb)

    Watch the Blade CP 'Scuffing' the blades
    Small Video (783 KB)
    Large Video (1.87MB)

    Air Time






    E-flite has a history of marketing top performing electric airplanes, and the Blade CP is another win for the Team! This featherweight copter boasts a potent combination of unrivaled durability, performance and value. I find my Blade tagging along with me everywhere I go, satisfying my heli craving whenever the mood strikes. Whether it's a crisp backyard flight in the cool dawn air, a bit of hovering during your lunch hour, a picturesque afternoon at the park, or even a quick flight in your cubicle at work, this little yellow whirlybird is ready for action! Owing to it's durability and value, I even recommend the tiny Blade to beginners. Expert "Rotor-Heads" will delight in the inverted flight capability of the Blade. Be sure to check out the E-Flite Blade today!


    E-flite Blade CP Micro Helicopter
    Distributed exclusively by:
    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61822
    Support Phone: (877) 504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com
    email: support@horizonhobby.com

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite Blade CP

    There are no comments

    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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