After the quick topping off of the li-po pack the Blade CX was ready for its first test flights. The instructions provided go over the operation and any necessary trimming adjustments in detail. In general though you can adjust the blade tracking and mix trimming on the Blade CX if it is necessary. On my test unit it did not require any trimming and flew out of the box.
I would note that if you are a fully fledged heli beginner you might take a look at the optional training gear set before your first flight. These help to increase the stability of the model and give some extra cushion on landings. Installation of the training gear is described in detail in the manual. I used this sort of setup when I first learned glow helis and they were a tremendous aid so if you are a first timer I recommend grabbing these and installing them.
The Blade CX uses its two main rotors to control all aspects of flight. There is no tail rotor nor is it necessary as the counter rotating blades cancel out rotational torque. The blades however can control the yaw axis by providing more or less power (speed) to one rotor blade thus increasing torque in one direction. The dual blade setup also provides a gyroscopic effect for stability that is just about rock solid.
Indoors the Blade CX proved to be very easy to fly and control. Without any wind the heli practically locks in anywhere you put it. You can perform circles, figure 8's, practice nose in and nose out hovering. To maintain flight in any direction you do need to apply pressure to the cyclic (right stick) in the direction you want to go. When you release and go back to center I discovered the heli went back into a stable hover which was nice.
The helicopter is not super fast in any direction even when maximum cyclic is applied. My guess is that this is due in large part to the gyroscopic effect which provides stability that is always trying to keep the heli in a stable hover. Pirouettes are possible with the Blade CX. Doing them to the right I was able to do about one revolution every 1.5 to 2 seconds. Doing them to the left I could get a snappier speed which seemed about twice as fast.
I was able to land the Blade CX on my kitchen counter, tables, and even a small pedestal. Believe it or not I even landed on my wifes hand and took it off from her hand. I could easily navigate it up the stairs and down the halls and land it on my air hockey "helipad" (see video clip). This thing is a lot of fun! I am still having a blast flying it now after a couple weeks. I fire it up at least once a day.
The next test I wanted to do was the crash test. In order to do this I had to slam the Blade CX into the wall (yeah..I crashed it on purpose...and if you believe that I have this bridge to sell you...). Ok..after the "incident" I picked up the Blade CX to do a damage report. It survived fairly well but the main shaft plastic assembly broke at the very top and the flybar bent. Well, I was about to learn how to repair the CX!
Using the supplied screwdriver I loosened up the collar at the bottom of the heli that retains the main shaft. The shaft slides out and I simply slid the new one in and reassembled and replaced the broken head pieces. All the pieces I needed were in the main gear replacement package pictured above in this review. Total repair time was 15 minutes and I was back in action (and a little less reckless on my next few flights!). Difficulty rating for the repair on a scale from one (easy) to five (hard) was a one!
I have been seeing flight times in the 10 to 15 minute range with the out of the box stock setup.
The Blade CX can handle mild amounts of wind. When a breeze comes along it will push it around a bit and the heli will drift. You can compensate and fly through the mild winds of less than 3-4mph or so but I probably wouldn't push it to much beyond that. If you do you then you will likely find you can't get enough speed to fight the wind and it will drift off along with the wind.
With more space outdoors I was able to fool around a bit more. I took the heli up pretty high and brought it back down. I was able to push the maximum speed in all directions without running out of room as I would indoors. I could also safely do super fast pirouettes.
The Blade CX is not designed to do aerobatics of any kind really nor can it be forced to do them. That is not the intended purpose of this heli. The most advanced "maneuver" it is capable of is a fast pirouette. Aside from that you should not expect this heli to perform loops or rolls as it is not capable of such aerobatics.