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E-flite Blade CP Electric Helicopter

Supermodel Melanie Blattenberger holding the E-flite Blade CP electric helicopter, 8-8-2005 - Airplanes and RocketsE-flite Blade CP in the original packaging - Airplanes and Rockets

OK, I'm back in the helicopter business as of July 29, 2005, when I went to K-C Hobby Shop, in High Point, NC, and purchased a new E-flite Blade CP. This chopper is amazing! As advertised, I charged the NiMH battery pack, put 8 AA cells in the transmitter, and away it went. Since seven years have passed since flying (kind-of) the ECO 8, my initial couple attempts were pretty embarrassing. By about the 3rd charge, I could hover for about 30 seconds. I was continually trying different tail rotor gain and gyro settings to keep the tail under control. As it turned out, the secret to keeping the tail under control is to actually control the tail with the stick! Once I figured that out, hovering was a cinch! I found that

34th flight of my Blade CP helicopter 34th flight of my Blade CP helicopter
13th flight of my Blade CP helicopter 13th flight of my Blade CP helicopter
correcting the tail excursions, along with very slight cyclic inputs allowed for extended hovers. Oh, another tip is to slowly increment the throttle until the Blade CP gets light then throw in enough to get it to jump into the air about a foot or more. That eliminates the adverse yaw from main rotor spin-up, and get the beast out of the worst of the ground effect where everything is the slipperiest. After establishing a stable hover, going back down into ground effect is easy to handle because the tail is already under control. Of course, all of my flights have been inside a 4-car garage with no wind, so that has helped in the learning process.

E-flite Blade CP - on training gear, with transmitter - Airplanes and RocketsAs you can see in the August 8th video link at the top, by the 13th flight, I was in pretty good control of the Blade CP from a tail-in hover standpoint. After recording the 20 second clip, I went on to fly out the remaining charge in the stock 650 mAh NiMH battery pack in a single hovering session!. A second, and possibly third, battery pack is in order to be able to fly for more than about 7-8 minutes before having to go charge the pack for a couple hours (yeah, I could fast charge them, but don't want to sacrifice the lifespan). I tried using my 2-cell, 1500 mAh Li-Poly pack, but the nominal 7.4 V output was not enough to even turn the airborne system on. The 3-cell Li-Poly packs will definitely be required, but I'll hold off until I am ready to try some hotdog outside maneuvering outdoors.

E-flite Blade CP - bottom rear view showing battery pack and main gears - Airplanes and RocketsMy next step in the learning process will be to try to fly to four corners in a square and hold a hover over each corner with tail in. After that, I'll try nose-in hovering. That should be exciting. I'll keep you posted on the progress. Just remember, if I can fly this machine, then just about anyone can!

E-flite Blade CP - view showing pushrods moved to inner holes and heatsink on main motor - Airplanes and RocketsOK, so I just put in my 20th flight today (August 14, 2005). An adjustment to the flybar paddles really smoothed the whole operation, and also made the controls even more sensitive than they were already. I removed moved all three pushrods in by one hole on all three servos to tame the beast. It worked incredibly well! Now I can almost control the Blade CP. Hovering in one spot is much, much easier now, and deliberately moving forward, reverse, and sideways is actually doable. After about another 10 flights I should be ready to try hovering nose-in.

As of August 28, I have 43 logged flights and everything is working well. Vibration is very minimal and flights are extremely consistent. All three pushrods have been moved E-flite Blade CP - tail rotor motor and line of CA on tail rotor blade to balance it - Airplanes and Rocketsinto the inner servo arm holes to tame down the response, and it makes a big difference, but still leaves a lot of control. The battery packs both consistently give 10-11 minutes of hover time (I have never done more than slow lateral movements in my garage). When there is about a minute left on the charge, it is necessary to start feeding in right tail rotor.

Water Break-In Method for Electric Motors

E-flight Blade CP motor water break-in procedure - Airplanes and RocketsSince the problem of suddenly having the power drop out persists, I decided to install a new motor, and to use the water break-in method of seating the brushes. There is a plethora of information o n the Internet forums detailing the procedure, so I will not duplicate it all here.

E-flight Blade CP motor water break-in procedure - Triton charger - Airplanes and RocketsBasically, I applied about a volt and a half for around 12-15 minutes with the motor submersed in (softened) tap water. It was then removed and dried with a Monokote shrinking blow gun, being careful not to get it too hot, and shaking the motor to dislodge droplets trapped inside. Finally, a small amount of 3-in-1 oil was applied to the front and rear bushings. I learned the hard way a few year back to be careful with oil on the bushing closest to the brushes, because it can easily creep onto the commutator and ruin the brushes. Here are some pictures of my setup.


GWS PG-03 Gyro & E-flite 2-in-1 Controller

E-flite Blade CP electric helicopter - Airplanes and Rockets

The GWS gyro and E-flite 2-in-1 Controller. See below on page for the installation I used when I had the Spektrum DX6 radio installed.

E-flite 2-in-1 Controller - Airplanes and Rockets

 

GWS PG-03 Gyro - Airplanes and Rockets

                   E-flite 2-in-1 Controller.


Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets   Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets   Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets   Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets   Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets   Spektrum DX6 Receiver box for Blade CP - Airplanes and Rockets

Modified E-flite Blade CP electric helicopter radio compartment for Spektrum DX6 radio, GWS gyro, and 2-in-1 controller


...continued from above

In the near future I will be installing my Spektrum DX6 spread spectrum radio into my Blade CP. Stay tuned for details.

April 2006. I finally pulled my Blade CP out of its box and fired it back up. It flies well except for still having the occasional power dropout for no apparent reason. I'm going to try replacing the motor since I cannot force the radio system to glitch - that's with having the motor running and orienting the transmitter antenna at all different angles relative to the receiver, and with holding the transmitter still and rotating the Blade CP through all different angles. It's a strange problem that might just be a flaky motor. Eventually installing a brushless motor would be nice.

October 2005 already! I haven't done much flying. So as to not totally waste time, I replaced the main rotor shaft, swash plate, and main rotor blades. Everything has been meticulously balanced and aligned now, and the Blade CP runs very smoothly. Now, I just need more hours in the day...

Today is September 12, 2005, and only a few flights have been added due to a lack of time. I did manage to take it outside an get it up to around 20 feet a few times. All the outside flights have been basically in the hover mode, with tail pointing in. Nose in is still in the works, and I'll be doing all that practice in the garage where there is no wind and a nice smooth floor so tip-overs will not be a problem. I did replace the main rotor blades because the dings were getting ugly. In the process, a full balance procedure was performed per the article in the latest edition of Backyard Flyer magazine. So, now there are strips of clear tape wrapped on the blades to achieve the balance both along the blade lengths and overall balancing (weight added at the light blade's CG). After adjusting blade tracking, it was back to a really smooth flight. I finally discovered the source of the squirrliness of the Blade - the double-sided tape that used to hold the 4-in-1 to the vertical mount was torn loose. Replacing the tape totally cured the problem. 10-12 minute flights are still the norm on the 650 mAh battery packs.

As of August 28, I have 43 logged flights and everything is working well. Vibration is very minimal and flights are extremely consistent. All three pushrods have been moved into the inner servo arm holes to tame down the response, and it makes a big difference, but still leaves a lot of control. The battery packs both consistently give 10-11 minutes of hover time (I have never done more than slow lateral movements in my garage). When there is about a minute left on the charge, it is necessary to start feeding in right tail rotor.

About Airplanes & Rockets

Kirt Blattenberger, Webmaster - Airplanes and Rockets
Kirt Blattenberger
Carpe Diem!
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Even during the busiest times of my life I have endeavored to maintain some form of model building activity. This site has been created to help me chronicle my journey through a lifelong involvement in model aviation, which all began in Mayo, MD. There is a lot of good information and there are lot of pictures throughout the website that you will probably find useful, and might even bring back some old memories from your own days of yore. The website began life around 1996 as an EarthLink screen name of ModelAirplanes, and quickly grew to where more server space ...

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