|Contributed by: Erick Royer | Published: March 2003 | Views: 52813 | Email this Article
Rotor Diameter: 13.7"
Weight: 170 grams
Controls: 4 Channel
(Cyclic, Rudder, Throttle)
Drive System: Dual Motors,
Dual Rotors (counter rotating)
Radio Used: Included
Model Rectifier Corporation
Hirobo Lama XRB.|
|I could not have asked for better medicine for the "winter
blues" than the new Hirobo Lama XRB. This year,
the New England winter
has really put a damper on RC flying. For the past couple
of months, I have
been chomping at the bit to get my hands on a heli and fly, but
each time I plan to fly, the weather has been uncooperative,
it's either snowing, extremely windy, or the temperature has
dipped below zero.|
My flight simulator relieves some of
those urges, but sometimes you just need to control a heli in
three dimensions. Well, the new Hirobo Lama fits the bill
and relieves my "winter blues"
When I first heard about this new heli, I scoured the
internet for information about it. After much searching, I
came up empty and I was beginning to think it was a myth.
Then a few weeks ago, one showed up on my doorstep, a very
When I opened the box, my first impression was that this
looked like a toy you'd buy at Toys R Us.
The heli comes beautifully packaged with a clear plastic front.
The "kit" includes the Lama heli, an 11-foot tether, transmitter
controller, AC adapter, and 6 sets of spare rotor blades. Be careful as you unpack
the heli, there are several
compartments in the box that contain a plastic
training gear, and a small plastic bag with a mini
screwdriver and an Allen wrench. As I unpacked and examined the contents, I was very impressed. A
toy? I think not! This is a beautifully designed,
very complete mini scale helicopter.
COMES WITH THE CONTROLLER AND POWER SUPPLY
The best part of the Lama is it is ready to fly right out of
the package. The included manual has many illustrations
and is marginally helpful for the rank beginner. There is
a lot of information on hovering and properly setting up the
heli however the manual is in combination of English and
Japanese making it somewhat difficult to understand it at first
glance. After reading the
instructions though, a beginner will easily find him/herself hovering the Lama in
short order. For the experienced heli pilot, there is no
doubt that the Lama will impress. Is the Lama designed for 3D and advanced
aerobatics? No. But it is perfect for those like me,
who cannot get out during the winter to keep those thumbs
active. I find that the Lama is perfect for practicing hovering
maneuvers, pirouette, and nose-in hovering.
CONTROLLER HAS THE LOOK AND FEEL OF A STANDARD 4 CHANNEL
- Ready to fly right from the
- Easy to setup
- Transmitter-like controller included
- Very realistic flight
- Many spare parts included
- Rugged design
- Scale appearance
|Instructions and Assembly:|
The Lama XRB comes complete
ready-to-fly out of the box, there is nothing to assemble.
The only thing I did prior to flying the model was to
tighten the main rotor blades a little, they seemed
a little loose. But do not over tighten them. They should be able
to move freely. If you are new to helis, you should use the
supplied training gear. The gear consists of 4 plastic legs that
attach to a center hub and it's designed to flex in the event of
a hard landing. Simply cut the pieces from the
plastic parts tree and assemble them according to the manual.
No tools or glue are required as the parts just snap together.
THE TRAINING GEAR
GEAR INSTALLED ON THE HELI.
attach the training gear to the skids, you'll need to remove the
tether cord from the heli. The canopy snaps off to gain
access to the connector. I attached
the training gear to the skids with the included small bands.
With the training gear attached, you are ready to take
|What makes it go?|
True, the Lama does not completely look
like a conventional helicopter due to the fact that it has 2
main counter-rotating rotor blades. While there is a
tail rotor, it is there for appearance only. The rudder
control or yaw is achieved by varying the speed of the rotors. The control response is surprisingly
The main rotor assembly is comprised of a shaft within a
shaft. The inner main shaft controls the top rotor that
is driven by a motor located near the front of the heli.
The lower rotor is controlled by the outer shaft that is driven
by a separate motor of equal size mounted towards the rear of
MOTOR CONTROLS THE TOP ROTOR BLADES
The dual motor design allows the speed of the rotors to be
independently controlled. This
varying of rotor speed is what gives the
Lama the ability to yaw or steer. When
first flew the Lama, I noticed that there was no tendency to yaw
despite the lack of a working tail rotor. I assumed that it was because the
blades were counter-rotating and canceling each others torque. I was amazed at how
well the nose stayed where I pointed it. I noticed
a red and green LED on the left side of the heli and thought that it
might contain a gyro. A quick email to Jeff Green at MRC confirmed that there was, in fact, a gyro on board.
The lower rotor provides cyclic control and there are two
small servos connected to a swashplate. The swashplate
transfers commands from the controller to the lower rotor
varying the pitch in the blades. This provides directional
movement from side to side and front to back.
CONTROLS THE SWASHPLATE
The upper rotor provides stability and lift to the model.
The pitch of the blades is controlled by stabilizer (flybar) attached to
the top of the mast. As the blades rotate and the
heli moves, the stabilizer dampens the helicopter's
responses making it very stable in flight. The
weights on the stabilizer can be adjusted to make the heli more
responsive as your flying skills improve.
ON THE TOP ROTOR
THAT CONTROLS THE LOWER ROTOR
The blades are fixed pitch and there is no collective
control. Changing the heli's altitude is
controlled by the rotor speed. As the rotors speed up you
gain lift and conversely, as you lower the throttle lift is
reduced. Because the Lama is so light, the
"collective" response is surprisingly realistic and responds
well to commands.
After plugging in the power supply to a 110
volt outlet and the other end into the back of the controller, I
placed the Lama in the center of the room and pressed start
button on the controller. I slowly advanced the throttle
and the blades started to rotate. I continued to
increase the throttle until it got light on its feet.
It took me a few minutes to get used to the flight
characteristics, especially when close to the ground as you are
flying in "ground effect" from the rotor wash. Once
the Lama was at 12" or so above the ground, it was as tame as
can be. Ground effect can be tough to overcome, especially
beginner, as the thought process is to keep it close to the
ground to minimize damage. Once you get over the fear and
get up a foot or so, you will be surprised at how stable the
After hovering for a few minutes, I realized that the
controls were very soft. This is great for the
beginner, as you really have to move the sticks to get the Lama
to react. I read in the manual how the stabilizer
can be adjusted for increased sensitivity, so i decided that
I would give it a shot to obtain a feel that is
closer to my larger glow powered helis. After making
this quick adjustment, I was very pleased with the performance.
It was like flying a totally new helicopter. The control
inputs were much more responsive.
After about 15-20 more minutes of hovering, I landed and
checked the motors. They were a little
warm and I decided to let them cool for a little while before
On my next flight I tried some forward flight.
Bear in mind that you forward flight is limited by the size of your, obstructions such as furniture, and of course the 11 foot
long tether cord. I was able to perform some
precision hovering maneuvers by placing some "targets" on the
floor and flying from one to the other, stopping to hover for
10-15 seconds over each one. I also flew some
figure 8's both tail in and flying the nose. It performed
Video of the HIROBO LAMA XRB
(Windows Media File 2.2 meg)
Next, I tried some nose-in hovering. This is
probably the best and most useful function of the Lama for most
Nose-in hovering is can be tricky as most of your control inputs
are reversed. I can practice with much more confidence
with the Lama than a full size heli knowing that I don't have
a $1500+ machine in the air. I
strongly believe the Lama's biggest asset is in perfecting
this flight maneuver.
Fortunately, after many flights my Lama still was in one
piece. In the event of a mishap, the manual goes
into great detail on how to change blades, adjust their tracking, and
make repairs. I am sure that I will be putting this part
of the manual to use in the near future.
Excellent!! Not only is the flight
performance of Hirobo's Lama very realistic when compared to a larger
glow-powered heli, but it also has a beautiful scale
The Lama is perfect for a beginner because it is relatively
inexpensive and comes with everything you need. No longer do you have to shy away from the great
sport of helicopter flying because of the expense. The
Lama puts helicopter flying within everyone's reach.
If you are an experienced pilot, you will
love the feeling and flight performance that you get from this
model. It is perfect for practicing hovering
maneuvers including nose-in hovering.
Because the heli is powered by household current, your flying time is virtually endless.
Just think, no fuel, no mess and no flight box. Fly when it is raining
or snowing outside or when the wind is too gusty. Could it be
a dream? The Hirobo Lama XRB is your
Don't just take my word for it. Try one out at your
local hobby shop and see for yourself!
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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