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York Model Aircraft Society

York Model Aircraft Society

York Model Aircraft Society

YMAS - founded 1936 - BMFA Affiliated Club No. 0290

Member Reviews

The E Flight Blade 230S

Review by Dave Sanderson

One or two members have expressed interest in my new purchase, a Blade 230S Helicopter. Its an interesting new model, so just a short review to help anyone considering a purchase of one. I have only had the model for a couple of weeks and flown it maybe a dozen times. Its main feature is the Spektrum control system. It is only small compared to my latest Helis ( Goblin 570 and Trex 550).

My idea was to use the 230S for some indoor flying this winter. The first flight outdoors in bright but slightly windy conditions proved it to be more than able to cope with outdoors.

First impressions, so stable and very easy to fly, a little like one of my first co axial helicopters. The stabilisation system does this of course. Unlike the co ax models it has full cyclic control so is capable of lots more. The way it is set up (full instructions and settings for all the various Spektrum Transmitters are in the enclosed booklet)

I bought the Bind & fly version so had to programme my own TX. Took me less than an hour to put all the settings in and double check I had done it right The RTF version includes a TX already programmed.

Flight Modes:

Mode 1 is full stabilisation were roll and pitch are limited so you can't over control. Ideal for learning. Just let go of the sticks and the model flies straight and level
Mode 2 removes most of the control limits so that mild aerobatics can be attempted. In this mode, let go of the sticks and the opposite stick movement is required to bring the Heli straight and level.
Mode 3 is full control for 3d flying. All these modes are accessible whilst flying by the flick of a switch, also possible to increase rates for even more hairy flying.
Panic Recovery The best whilst last, but got to admit I still have to pluck up courage to invert the model and push the panic button. Pushing the panic button takes over control and returns the model to level flight but I reckon with reservations. Before you let go of the button, pitch control will have to be somewhere near normal flying position or its going to push a hole in the ground. Hope to have tried it before I finish this review

I wish something like this had been available when I was learning. As I have progressed the Helis have got bigger and more stable also more expensive. My first repair bill for the Goblin 570 would have bought me the Blade230S and some change left. The early so called training Helis were much more difficult to fly and disappeared this way and that all too easily. The Co Axial ones were easy but very much limited in their performance and soon became very boring. I'm a real fan of the new stabilisation systems and anything that helps your flying is OK by me. Some have said its cheating but suppose radio control is cheating or we would all be still chucking models off and chasing them across the countryside.

The 230S has a rotor dia of 536mm and weighs 339grms or 12ozs in flying trim. Power is provided by a 850mah Lipo, around £4 each from HobbyKing. Don't think the HobbyKing Lipos are as good as the original but they are about 1/4 of the price. Flight times are around 5minutes, depending how aggressively you are flying. Hovering around, 6minutes should easily be obtained. Tail control has 3 blades and a small brushless motor. 3 blades give more ground clearance and the tail drive motor is less complicated than belt or shaft drives. The tail motor holds reasonably well , not up to top 3D standards and it really sings when full pitch is applied. Main blades are of a plastic composite material and appear reasonable tough. Three metal geared Servos provide cyclic control. All in all the 230S seems reasonable robust from the crash point of view. Only time will tell. Guess the most vulnerable bits will be linkages and the main drive gear.

From my initial flying tests I would thoroughly recommend the 230S as a first Helicopter and even more so if you have dabbled in Helicopter flying before. I reckon this model is going to be a real success for Horizon Hobbies. Can also see the same system being used on larger models. It is going to mean almost anyone can now fly a helicopter. It will fly hands off in mode 1 and that's one thing current Helis will not do, not for long anyway.

Horizon have a new Scale type Apache Helicopter out shortly , just in time for Christmas and I believe this has the same stabilisation system fitted.

I finally plucked up courage to try the panic button. Half roll to inverted, pitch stick back to get some negative pitch ( remember, all controls are now reversed apart from roll) Panicking already -hold model steady THEN PUSH THE BUTTON- Hey presto , model gently rolls to right way up and straight and level flight. Leave right stick at neutral and left stick to normal hover position, release button. Slight correction to get model where I want it but it's a non event. Also found you can flick the mode switch back into mode 1 and that has the same effect as the panic button. Better in my opinion, as if using the button, once released you are back to original flight mode. Just does what it says on the tin. Love it. Now to try with my Goblin 570, lots of panic and no button to press.

Further Info. To be able to use the 3 available modes it requires a Transmitter with a 3 position FLIGHT MODE SWITCH. Recently found out that the DX7S only has a 2 position switch so the instructions included with the model are incorrect. Only 2 flight modes can be chosen with this TX. Modes 1 & 2 would be suitable for most pilots learning and then at some stage replacing one of the modes with the third mode ( full control for 3D flying

Blade 230S Vs Goblin 570
230S vs Goblin

Blade 230S
230S - View

Blade 230S - Main Rotor
230S - Rotor

Blade 230S - Tail
230S - Tail

The Parkzone Visionair

Review by Dave Sanderson

I bought the Parkzone Visionair in May last year after a review in the RCM&E. Its main feature is the SPEKTRUM AS3X stabilisation system. My first impressions were good but nothing outstanding, then with some advice from Chris Wilson realised I hadn't fully programmed the AS3X ( motto, read the instructions). Not very complicated to do, as I had to just flick the gear switch and that was it, DONE. The AS3X comes already programmed with this model.
AS3X transformed the model and 3D manoeuvres relatively easy to do as with stabilisation on 3 axis stabilization made the model very predictable. But it's still not as easy as you may think, as when stabilisation runs out it still falls out of the sky.
The model will fly very slowly and copes well with gusty wind conditions when it's difficult to fly even bigger models. It always feels as though you are flying a much larger model except when you turn the prop off and try to glide. It's very light and goes nowhere without power on. Needs power on to achieve a smooth landing like most very light models.
Being manufactured by ParkZone its very well made and although expensive at around £190 it comes all complete with battery/Charger and all gear, all that you need is your TX. (Spektrum or JR)
The model comes in the usual big box that you couldn't sneak in without the boss seeing it. Extremely well packed and goes together easily. Basically just slotting the flying surfaces together and securing to the fuselage. The wing has a carbon tube for strength and stiffness as most of the wing is hollow, very clever design and manufacture. Good clear instructions with all the settings required. Shame I didn't read them before flying.
The model design has been thought out very well, as any bits that are likely to get knocked off are strengthened and stiffened. Its main construction is of course foam. Never thought I would be flying foam made models. Its Z foam and very serviceable as it can be repaired with Cyno using a kicker if necessary. The battery hatch is particularly nice and is accessed by a push button on the top. The LIPO used is the popular 3cell 2200 that most of use, but recommender to be at least 30c as it does turn a reasonable size prop with an out runner motor. Plenty of power as it will prop hang and then go vertical. Flight times vary depending on the type of flying. I limit time to around 5 or 6 minutes but sure it will fly longer with careful use of throttle. Don't like to run Lipos down to more than 2/3 of their capacity. It has around six flying modes that can be accessed through various TX switches:

No AS3X working, which seems pointless
Reduced throws reduced Stabilisation
Reduced throws full Stabilisation
Full throws reduced Stabilisation
Full throws full Stabilisation
Extreme control throws - full stabilisation

Recommended is full throws and full stabilisation. To get the best out of the model I use this setting all the time. Exponential is used on all surfaces as recommended and that makes it the model it is. Wouldn't say it's a beginners model but once you are able to fly a Trainer type shouldn't present any problems on reduced rates. Only thing I have managed to damage so far is, losing a tail wheel. Whole assemble replaced with new, for around £4. Main U/C works very well, nice big wheels and very springy legs. On ground handling is exceptional. Favourite manoeuvres are prop hanging that does still require quite a few stick inputs. Knife edge is easy as it just holds position making knife edge circles and loops relatively easy. Harrier fly bys and similar. Just a nice model to fly that will really improve your 3D and aerobatic skills as the stabilisation doesn't do everything but does give extra confidence to attempt manoeuvres not normally considered.
Go on treat yourself

No I am not on commission.
Dave Sanderson

Parkzone Visionair