E-flite's Blade mSR Review - What Makes It So Good?
With the Blade mSR (micro-single-rotor)
and the mSRX
, E-flite has finally done it - I have to eat crow now (just wish I knew the best way to cook it). For anyone who has spent time on my little heli site here, you know how much I dislike single rotor RC helicopters with electric tail motors, I rant on and on about how horrible and vague the tail control was, is, and as far as I was concerned, always would be.
Well, E-flite must have wanted to prove me and many others wrong when they were designing the mSR.
YES - this is finally an electric tail motor heli that works, and works well. The tail holding ability and response is amazing not to mention overall flight performance. The Blade mSR is going to be a hotter product then the Blade mCX in all areas, most noticeably flight performance.
The flybarless version of the mSR (called the mSR X) is now available. I have more info on it at the bottom of the page and the link above will take you to my review on it.
An Electric Tail Motor That Works?
So why is this a motor driven tail that actually works well and is making me re-evaluate every rotten thing I have ever said about electric tail motors? There are two main reasons...
First off, the Blade mSR heli is very small and light, as is the rotating mass of the main rotors. This means the
produced by the main rotors is minimal compared to a larger heavier motor driven tail machine like the CP-Pro.
The low torque inertia means the electric tail motor doesn't have to work as hard to counteract that torque and it can use a very small tail rotor blade to compensate for it. This also helps keep that tail motor from burning out in short order - a problem that has plagued electric tail birds since they were first introduced.
Then there is the tail rotor motor itself. Since the tail rotor blade is so small with almost no mass, the motor can directly drive the tail rotor blade with no need for speed reduction gearing.
The result of this direct drive is fast and instantaneous tail rotor speed adjustments. Add to that a very fast accelerating and decelerating coreless tail motor and you get the ultra fast tail response to finally be able to keep up with the gyro correction.
In short - tail holding and control that is almost as good as a belt or shaft driven tail rotor with variable pitch paired with a good gyro and fast tail servo. Now remember, this is still a motor driven tail and any sudden full power throttle command will induce torque yaw, perhaps up to a 130 degree deviation in heading if you go from zero to full power - not the way any of us should be flying, but I had to try for testing purposes.
Under these extreme full power, full torque conditions is the only time the Blade mSR will give you a marginal idea how all other electric tail motors behave and fail when it comes to good tail holding authority. Tail holding authority can be further improved on the mSR by keeping your throttle stick commands smooth.
Using a computerized Spektrum or JR radio to shallow out the throttle curve in the 25-75 percent stick range will further improve tail holding authority, throttle response, and allow very precise lift control with the blade mSR.
You can hear the little coreless tail motor on the mSR working hard to keep things in check and is one more example of how hard electric tail motors even on a heli of this size have to work. Despite the work load, the efficient coreless motor remains cool during back to back flights. After hundreds of test flights on my blade mSR, the tail motor is still functioning 100%. A tail motor that works, runs cool, keeps up to the gyro, and doesn't burn out on a weekly basis - how nice!
Speaking of the gyro, the Blade mSR incorporates a
in the 5-in-1 unit. The 5-in-1 actually looks very similar to the one used on the
The 5-in-1 unit places all the circuitry on one board to save space and weight. The DSM2 2.4 GHz receiver, 2 linear servos to drive the X/Y axis of the swash plate, ESC motor controller/mixer, and of course the gryo. This is the true heart of both the mCX/S300 helicopters and E-flite's mSR helicopter.
In fact, much of this little heli seems to share mCX/S300 DNA. Most importantly to me is the durability. Those of you with mCX's or S300's know how much abuse they can take thanks to the flexible parts and ultra light weight, the mSR is no different.
Another example of shared DNA is the battery. The same little 3.7 volt
is used meaning if you already have a mCX, mCX S300, or the super hot ParkZone Sukhoi fixed wing park flier, you could use the same batteries for all 4 birds.
Speaking of those little 3.7 volt LiPo's, the Blade mSR comes with two. That is not where the value ends however, the new 3.7 volt LiPo's are about 10% higher in capacity (120 mAh over the previous 110 mAh cell). If that is still not enough to get your RC heli adrenaline fix, E-flite is including their very popular
Celectra 4 port charger with AC adapter
so you can charge 1 to 4 batteries at a time in about 30-35 minutes. That's a $50 to $60 dollar value right there.
Anyone who has a Blade mCX, mCX S300, or ParkZone Sukhoi, you know the biggest issue with any of these wonderful fun models is always wanting more flight time. Waiting around for charging is torture...
It is so nice E-flite recognizes that important point and are including the Celectra charger with AC adapter over the standard battery powered single port charger - well done E-flite!!!
As is usual with all of E-flites micro helis, a nice little accessory set is included with each mSR. This package contains a spare flybar, tail rotor, canopy grommets, linear servo shaft retainers, two swash to flybar pushrods, along with a Phillips screw driver and a head alignment tool.
Unbelievable Performance & Stability
Flying the Blade mSR outside in calm conditions - too much fun!
While some of the mCX's DNA is shared, when it comes to performance, the similarities end. The Blade mSR is fast!!! Overall flight speed is truly impressive in all directions not to mention the dizzying pirouette rates. While this little heli can be flown indoors; outside or in a gymnasium is where it will shine.
Flying in a slight wind is possible, although control is erratic as the wind tosses this 1 ounce birdie around. It is a fun test of skills to push the performance envelope outdoors in wind with some absolutely blistering downwind speeds achieved and I somehow once managed to get inverted before losing all control. If good control is what you are after, certainly not the best environment for this little gem and I don't really recommend flying it in those conditions; but flying over soft grass is pretty safe to try it out on. I had some pretty hard impacts that just blew the canopy off with no damage. Pop it back on and you're off again...
Even with the outstanding performance, due to the flybar configuration and the way the
has been set up, this is the first hobby grade single rotor heli on the market that is almost as stable as a
. That is a tall order once again showing E-flite really is leading the market in innovation when it comes to small electric affordable RC fun.
This is where some may not like the mSR, it is just too stable if you are looking for a good platform for practicing and learning how to fly a collective pitch single rotor RC helicopter. Now there are ways to increase the sensitivity and reduce the stability, especially if you are binding your mSR to a computerized Spektrum or Jr Radio.
I have an e-guide that goes over these settings and much more. Just click on the picture of the guide to the right to find out more about what's inside.
I feel in this "sensitive mode" the mSR is probably the perfect indoor nose in hovering practice ship. I have heard this sentiment from other mSR owners who have contacted me relaying the blade mSR has helped them immensely gain nose in hovering skills and confidence for their collective pitch machines better and faster than any other training method, including hours on a good flight simulator.
The Blade mSR will also teach you to coordinate your turns with both a tail rotor and left or right cyclic command to achieve a good solid banking turn with much better results then a micro coaxial could duplicate. Of course, as soon as things get a little out of hand, the flybar will take over and pull the heli back into a level configuration and does so with a fair amount of authority.
This is the only flight characteristic of the Blade mSR I am not a fan of. The flybar correction is very intense and for lack of a better description, makes the mSR behave like it is the weight at the end of a string. The mSR behaves like a pendulum in other words when the self correcting properties of the flybar are put to the test recovering from steep and fast flight.
This is not a bad thing for someone just starting out with the mSR and for a heli that moves so quickly, it is pretty much the only way a total correction from that amount of velocity could be achieved. It does take a bit to get used to however...
Tame or Insane
Here's a neat little feature the folks at E-flite have come up with. Out of the box, the Blade mSR is set up for fairly gentle
. Once you get a feeling for the controls and really want to push the performance envelope this small bird is capable of, you can make a small adjustment to wring out more cyclic throw.
The upper swash has two different length ball outsets. With the two bell mixing ball links on the inner balls, the cyclic response will be more docile.
Snapping those two ball links off the inner swash balls and moving them to the outset balls will increase cyclic travel; resulting in some pretty insane flying that no other micro electric heli this small can even come close to.
Speaking of Tame or Insane... There is a very important section in the instruction manual (page 23 or page 19 on newer manuals) that I totally browsed over in my haste to go flying the first day I got my mSR. It has to do with channel 5 settings and talks about the reduction in cyclic servo throw (both aileron and elevator) by about 15% if channel 5 servo direction is not set correctly, or is not turned on and set to 100% of travel range. In short it is like turning on elevator and aileron dual rates if channel 5 is off or set to any value lower than 100% in the on position.
15% doesn't seem like much right? Well, when you have the pushrods on the furthest ball outsets and trying to get every bit of performance possible out of your mSR. Having channel 5 turned off will reduce flight speed by about 50%. I was really getting bummed that my mSR was not flying near as quick as it should have been and if I would have paid more attention to the instructions, I could have saved myself hours trying to figure out why.
Bind N Fly
Saving the best to last! Yes, the Blade mSR helicopter is available in both a
ready to fly version
and for all of us with DSM2 radios, a
bind and fly version
to save us some money. You know I think Bind N Fly is one of the best things to have happened in the RC hobby in years. Here is just one more exciting model that has been added to the growing fleet of BNF models saving us all time and money.
Well, as you can guess by my drooling, I feel this is the perfect in-between step from micro coaxial to single rotor collective pitch if you are uncertain or still a little intimated by that next fun step. On the other end of the skill set, all levels of RC heli pilots will love this little bird for the insane indoor fun it provides for the low cost outlay.
When my friend Matt at
Red Rocket Hobbies
told me about it, it was any easy sell and it has definitely exceeded my expectations in most areas. Pretty easy for me to say it is one of the best micro helis to have hit the market - definitely right up there with the easy to fly mCX's. The only issue I have with it (other than being too addictive and that "pendulum effect") comes down to flight time. It's a power thirsty little rascal.
5 minutes is about all that can be expected. Not a big issue with that Celectra charger and at least 4 LiPo's in the rotation. As I said, the charge time is about 30 minutes per battery; so with 4, or better yet 6 in rotation, you can keep flying for a good long time with little waiting around - just don't be surprised when you burn an entire evening or Saturday afternoon away flying the Blade mSR. It really is that fun and at least for me, I loose all track of time while flying it (like most RC helicopters).
The new flybarless mSR X has just been released and is using Blade's patented micro heli AS3X flybarless stabilization system. This is the first ever ultra micro sized fixed pitch heli that's using a flybarless stabilization system and it's going to be a huge improvement over the original mSR - NO MORE PENDULUM - YA-HOO!
Here's my full review on it.
If you do purchase a RTF or BNF Blade mSR or mSRX from Red Rocket Hobbies using the links here on my web page, I will send you a free copy of "Getting The Most Out Of Your Blade mSR/X & 120SR" e-guide. Phone orders, Amazon Orders, or E-bay orders do not qualify. Only orders placed at Red Rocket from the links on my site will work.
after you place your order and include your Red Rocket Order Number so I can verify the transaction. I will then send your free copy of the e-guide.
The Setup & Tips For Electric Collective Pitch RC Helicopters e-book is all about setting up a collective pitch RC helicopter with a computerized radio to turn it into the perfect trainer. Click on the image of the book to find out more about what information is covered in this, my most popular & #1 selling e-book.
The 120/140 Degree Swashplate Setup & Levelling e-book shows how to properly setup and level a 120,135, or 140 degree electronically mixed swash to attain perfect interaction and a trimmed out bird off the bench. Click on the image of the book to learn more about it.
RC helicopter training gear is the essential training aid used when learning to hover and fly most RC helicopters, this e-book shows how to build them. If you want to learn more about what's inside, click on the image of the book.
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