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-   -   A good starter heli? (https://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/rc-helicopter-beginners-forum-165/9417455-good-starter-heli.html)

spoonrc 01-15-2010 02:59 AM

A good starter heli?
Ive decided I would like to sell off my last savage nitro and go for something different. I am looking for something that is RTR for beginners with controllers etc (I have lipo charger) and that is not a heap of crap. Something in the $100-$250 range, 3D is a plus for later on when I have learnt to fly it.

What do you guys suggest? I had a walkera once and I flew it up about 2 ft and it crashed and everything broke, it took it so long to lift off the ground even.

TakeshiSkunk 01-15-2010 11:36 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
I'm pretty sure the least expensive (barring used) heli you'll be able to get that can take you from beginning to 3D is the Blade 400. The Blade CP is less expensive but I hear it's a ***** to fly due to its size and weight.

mydartswinger 01-15-2010 02:04 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Don't sell the Savage to get a heli in that price range. I sold my Savage 25 back in December of 2006 to get a Heli Max AXE CP, and I've regreted it since then.

On the other hand, if you want to sell the Savage, make sure it's to get a heli that will do you well. Under US$250 doesn't get you much for a heli. For that, you're looking at a nice counter rotating heli, a simulator, or a cheap collective pitch heli with a motor driven tail (DO NOT GET ONE OF THESE CPs FOR YOUR FIRST HELI). If you know you want to stick with helis and work up to a really nice heli, skipping the coaxial would be a good move. Start with a good simulator such as RealFlight G5 or Phoenix (both run between $180-$200), or you could go with RealFlight Basic for $100 (this one is not expandable, and has no frills. Simulator with a few pre-loaded models to fly only). Once you've spent some time learning to hover a heli on the simulator, get AT LEAST a 450 class heli. You're going to be hard pressed to find a good RTF heli in this class. Just as buying a kit is recommended for cars, buying a kit is recommended for helis as well. Helicopters are complicated machines and you'll learn a lot more from building it than you will buying it RTF. For a good 450 class with good electronics, expect to spend between $600-$800. Note that I say for a GOOD heli, meaning at the higher end of the spectrum. You can get a decent starter heli that will prepare you for the nicer, more expensive helis for under $350. It is a clone of the Align T-Rex 450, which falls in the $600-$800 price range. It's called the Hobby King HK450. You would have to build it, but it's worth it and not that hard to do. Below are the links and costs to the kit and parts required to build it.This is for the “plastic fantastic” version, they do have a CNC version for about $20 or so more.

[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8467&Product_Name=HK-450_CCPM_3D_Helicopter_Kit__(Align_T-rex_Compat.)]HK450 Kit: $27.99[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=662]HXT900 Servo: $3.15 Each ($12.60 for 4)[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6460]Hobby King SS Series 25-30A ESC: $8.45[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9021]Turnigy Typhoon 450H Motor: $11.79[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10113]Hobby King 401B Gyro (Copy of Futaba 401): $13.99[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6306]ZIPPY Flightmax 2200mah 3S Battery: $11.99[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=7898]Turnigy 420 Balancer/Charger 2S-4S: $23.95[/link]
[link=http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=6508&Product_Name=Spektr um_Dx6i_Mode2_w/_6200_Rx]Spektrum DX6i w/ AR6200 Rx: $209.99[/link]

So you're looking at $320.75 for a T-Rex clone and a decent radio.

To complete, you will also need:
[link=http://www.powerhelis.com/manuals/helicopter%20manuals/align/trex450x/trex%20450x_manual.pdf]Align T-Rex Assembly Manual: Free[/link]

You can find more on this build at:

You could also look for EXI and Exceed RC helis, as they can be found for under $400 with a super cheap radio RTF. With the HK450 above, you'll get a good radio that you can use for future helis as well as any airplane if you choose to get into them.

Also, see if you can find someone in your area to help you out.

matty_p80 01-15-2010 04:01 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
wrote all this before you posted Shannon!!


there are plenty of helis on the market now! the trick is to collate your own information from research and passed on 'wisdom' from others on sites such as this! search through it all and take away what you feel you need!!

it all boils down to personal preference, where you want to fly/ what space is available, clubs, etc. another good point is what does your LHS stock(?) as there are a lot of online shops but there will always be a time when you'll need a part there and then!!

have a look also, on the second hand sections on here especially (just saw an ad for a second hand T-Rex 450 XL minus Tx & Rx for $250)!!

you obviously have lots of RC background so i wouldn't suggest going for a cheap bird, go for as good as you can afford and it's less likely to disappoint with shoddy parts!!

tell us what you've narrowed it down to and we'll give yer our penneth!

Matty )<>}}}}]@>

matty_p80 01-15-2010 04:29 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
just had a look yesterday at the Artech Genius 450! not top of the range but has a relatively decent Tx (2.4 GHz) and looks quite a lot of heli for the money! don't know whether it's standard but there were woodies already on it AND a pair of carbons in the box!! niice!!!

M. )<>}}}}]@>

mydartswinger 01-15-2010 05:43 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
I actually have the HK450 links and figures saved into a Word document because the subject of cheap helis for beginners comes up often. I've used it about 3-4 times this past week alone. It's not a great heli, but will suffice for someone looking to get into the hobby for as cheap as possible as well as include a good radio that will last and work for several models down the road instead of a cheap radio that will only work with the one aircraft (like the ones included in most RTF packages). The DX6i is the one that's included in the e-Flite Blade 400. The B400 is not a bad heli, but could use some better servos and a better gyro. Unfortunately, though, that would partially defeat the purpose of the B400, as it would put the cost of the heli in that $600-$800 range. The B400 new is about $500 RTF, then you're looking at about $80 for decent cyclic servos and another $130+ for a good gyro and tail servo (using the Logictec 2100T gyro and Futaba, S9257 if I remember correctly, tail servo as an example). That puts the whole shebang at about $710. That's almost T-Rex price territory.

That HK450 listing has everything included but tools. If the charger used to charge the car's batteries is capable of charging a 3S 11.4V LiPo, then a new charger is not needed and will keep the total cost of the heli and stuff needed to get it flying under $300+ shipping.

Since you say you're looking for one that's 3D capable for later, you need to look at upping your budget to at least $300-$400 + a good sim. Think NIB RTR Savage XL on up to Baja 5B (maybe used Baja 5T) price range. You may find some CP helis advertised as "3D capable" in the under $250 price range, but they are merely aerobatic in the right hands (very experienced pilots). Those are the motor driven tail CP helis. Stay away from those. I had one for my first CP and NEVER could fly it right. I think out of about 20+ packs between 2 CP helis (even after flying a sim for 2 years and having a bit of experience on the B400) I may have only hovered about 3 packs on those helis.

If you want one 3D capable for later on your first heli (though 3D is going to be quite a few flights away, and you may have already moved on to another heli), avoid any FP (fixed pitch) heli.

Here's a few helicopters (by no means a complete listing, just some of the more common helis) to look for used to help you stay in your price range if you don't want to go the HK450 route.

Electric (Partial listing of Align T-Rex 450 clones)
-EXI 450
-Exceed BlueRay 450
-Hobby King HK450 (listed in my previous post)

Electric (Really good helis, just a tip of the barrell listing)
-Align T-Rex 450 (any model)
-Thunder Tiger Mini Titan E325
-Miniature Aircraft Furion 450
-Next D Rave

Glow (if you choose to go that route, as they will run quite a bit more)
-Thunder Tiger Raptor 30 V2
-Thunder Tiger Raptor 50 (any version)
-Hirobo Shuttle Z, ZX, ZXX, Plus, or Plus 2 (.30 size)
-Hirobo Sceadu Evo 50
-Hirobo SDX
-Align T-Rex 600N (any version)

There are a few that may sound enticing, but you'll want to stay away from (again, not a complete listing).
-Align T-Rex 250 (good heli, but not for beginners)
-Gaui Hurricane 200 (again, good heli, but not for beginners)
-Heli Max AXE CP (any version, motor driven tail CP. avoid at all costs)
-e-Flite Blade CP (any version, motor driven tail CP. avoid at all costs)

Enjoy your hunt for your first heli.

Pilot_Guy 01-15-2010 06:24 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
E-sky Belt CP..best bang for the buck in your price range.

spoonrc 01-16-2010 07:27 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
Lots of input which is great. I dont want something to big, something for outside the house etc and parks. It doesn't have to be 3D as it will most probably take me a few years before I am anywhere near the skill needed. I was looking at the CP helis and a lot of people say that they are not for beginners. I am liking the T-Rex clones, especially the Blue Ray one as it comes in a RTF package even though its a cheap controller etc it will still get me under way for a while.

mydartswinger 01-16-2010 08:54 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
Anything in the 450 class (like the BlueRay), is a decent starting point. Even the B400 and AXE 400 are OK, though you'll want at least better electronics later with them. To make your learning curve easier, do yourself a favor and get a sim (any sim is better than none) and get some stick time on it before flying the actual heli. It will pay for itself in the number of crashes you'll prevent. You will hear this recommendation over and over, like a broken record on this and other heli forums, and with good reason. I didn't start learning much of anything until I got the sim, as my helis were always down for repairs. 30 seconds (at best) in the air for 2 weeks waiting for parts and repair, followed by the same process over again.

Let me put it to you this way. I went to a major heli event back in September and talked to a Castle Creations sponsored pilot while waiting in line to fly my Raptor 50 about how I learned. He was shocked when I told him what I'd been through because I learned without local help. He's only met a handful of people ever that are largely self taught and have stuck with it beyond the first or second heli. A sim will greatly improve your chances of enjoying it and sticking with it.

Even if you go RTF, you'll want to check out Finless Bob's heli setup videos over on the HF forum. His videos will teach you what you'll need to know to set your heli back up after a crash. It's not like the Savage where you can just replace the part and drive again. It's more like a competition touring car, where after you crash and repair, you have to set it up again to the point where it was before the crash. If 1 little thing is off, it can mean the difference between a super smooth, easy flight and a hair raising experience. Unlike a touring car that needs an entire setup station that usually costs over $100, the only specialty tools you will really need to ensure this in a helicopter is a pitch gauge (you can get one for about $10) and your eyeballs.

spoonrc 01-16-2010 10:44 PM

RE: A good starter heli?
Well, what would be better? Build the HK450 with your parts, adding an extra battery and using this controller (dont want an expensive one just yet) http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9042&Product_Name=Hobby_ King_2.4Ghz_6Ch_Tx_&_Rx_(Mode_2) or http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=10186&Product_Name=HK-6X_2.4Ghz_6ch_w/_5_Model_Memory_TX_&_RX_(Mode_2)_. Or the blueray RTF?

Also will those controllers work with a realflight sim? My friend has the g4.5 but his controller got stollen out of his car when he was moving house, he still has it installed on his computer and I was wondering if you can use this controller with it so I can learn to hover at his place?

mydartswinger 01-17-2010 03:11 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
If you go with the HK450, I would recommend that you get the DX6i. It's a very reasonably priced Tx for the features, plus you won't have to drop the extra into a nicer controller later which would just add extra expense to your next heli (you'll be looking at more like $50-$100 for just an Rx vs. $200+ for a Tx/Rx combo. You can also use the DX6i for powered airplanes and gliders if you so choose to fly them as well as helis. Only get the HK radio system if you absolutely cannot afford to get a better Tx.

You could get the HK450 with the DX6i and an extra battery or 2 for the price of the BlueRay.

Unfortunately, you must use a RealFlight Interlink controler with G4.5. RealFlight uses the Interlink controller as a copy protection device and cannot be used without it. They also do not sell the Interlink separately (you may be able to call their tech support, explain the situation, and get another one). However, if you were to have the Interlink, you could use the DX6i with it by plugging the adapter cable into the Interlink and the DX6i, then configuring the DX6i in the sim.

spoonrc 01-17-2010 03:18 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
I can get the blue ray RTF for 189 with a cheapy 2.4ghz radio. But I do think the HK450 as it is my best bet. The only reason I am getting that controller is incase I don't go further with flying. If I like it I will purchase a radio upgrade once I get more into it. At the moment I want to keep it cheap.

Heres the blue ray RTF


mydartswinger 01-17-2010 04:58 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
I must've been thinking of the BlueRay PE (metal head), which is $279. Niether of them include a battery charger.

If you're willing to go that cheap for now, and pay for a nicer radio later, it'll be OK for now. It's ultimately up to you.

midntpumkin 01-17-2010 11:26 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
the hk 450 is a nice starter heli , i am almost finished with mine . the one thing i wouldnt skimp is the radio , futaba or spectrum. you need a good radio to program the ccpm , the more features in the radio the better. do a search for the alighn xl and check the reviews of it , there not very good as to the newer aligns out now. the good thing about align if bought new they come with esc and motor and lipo depending on the package you get . its taken me to reserch read many posts /build videos and till i got and measured the servo openings and motor mounts to see what size fit in there its been over a month and still cost me as much as a align 450 kit/ less radio


all the work is done for you and still in the same price range as my hk450 less all the aluminum [X(] (mine is all plastic) and the servos you could start off with some cheap 9 gram servos for learning to hover and a decent head locking gyro for now ... another reason to get a good radio , for programming the gyro

spoonrc 01-18-2010 06:26 AM

RE: A good starter heli?
Thats a little steep in price for me. I was something cheap and easy to learn with. Reading reviews about the Hk450 and the controllers have proven worthy. I just want something cheap for now just to learn, nothing fancy. I've spent over 4k on 1/8th scale off-road and I want to keep it to a minimum. I know that controller I linked is computer programmable but can you adjust the CCPM via the PC?

mydartswinger 01-18-2010 08:18 AM

RE: A good starter heli?

all the work is done for you and still in the same price range as my hk450 less all the aluminum
The 450SE you linked is more than the CNC HK450 and a good radio. I'm assuming you put good electronics in your HK, so it will come much closer to a T-Rex in price. With the HK's, cheap is the name of the game. Go with the parts listed in my previous post, and you'll come out much cheaper than a T-Rex.

The HK radio you linked in your previous post is a computer radio. You program it using the built in computer, screen, and buttons. It is capable of controlling the HK450, allowing you to program your pitch and throttle curves. You don't need a PC to program it.

midntpumkin 01-18-2010 10:11 AM

RE: A good starter heli?

ORIGINAL: mydartswinger

The 450SE you linked is more than the CNC HK450 and a good radio. I'm assuming you put good electronics in your HK, so it will come much closer to a T-Rex in price. With the HK's, cheap is the name of the game. Go with the parts listed in my previous post, and you'll come out much cheaper than a T-Rex.

yes i didnt skimp on the electronics , i didnt want to have a mishap on my first hover as a mec failer . when i learn with this i will start building my 500 i have still in the box.

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