By Paul Onorato
Right on the heels of the successful, ultra-micro E-flite Blade mCX comes the realistic-looking Blade mCX S300. It comes with all the same great features found on the original Blade mCX, but features a scale body molded after a full- size Schweizer 300C helicopter complete with accurate-looking paint scheme. It comes out of the box completely assembled and is outfitted with everything you need to get flying including the 8 AA batteries for the transmitter and charger. The S300 is designed to be stable, easy to fly and durable thanks to the coaxial, counter-rotating rotor head design and 5-in-1 control unit with Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 technology. Like its predecessor, the S300 is available in RTF (ready-to-fly) or BNF (bind-n-fly) trim that excludes the stock transmitter and allows you to control this ultra cool, palm-sized helicopter with any Spektrum DSM2 transmitter or module including the LP5DSM transmitters available with the Blade CX2 and CX3.
The most impressive feature of the Blade mCX S300 is its size. This is especially amazing when you consider it is a full-function 4-channel machine with fully proportional fore and aft cyclic, left and right cyclic, tail rotor yaw control and throttle control that can be flown off the palm of your hand. The main rotors have a diameter of only 7.5 inches and a scant 1 ounce flying weight. Add to this a complete 2.4GHz transmitter, 1S 110mAh LiPo battery, charger and 8 AA batteries, and you have a very complete package to get you in the air in no time.
What makes the S300 stand out from other micro helicopters is its great scale looks that are based on a real Schweizer 300C helicopter. E-flite didn’t just add a different canopy to the mCX, but took the extra steps and installed a boom with simulated tail rotor that spins from the prop wash and a realistic paint scheme. The final touch is the included white rotor blades. Since the S300 is a coaxial helicopter that comes out of the box with black upper and lower rotor blades, the spare white blades can be used to replace the lower rotor blades. This creates the illusion of a traditional single rotor helicopter because the upper black blades “disappear” when spinning.
The Blade S300 is powered by two micro coreless motors (one for each of the coaxial rotors) and the control response with the two installed servo drives is very solid. It takes about 15 minutes to charge the 1S 3.7V LiPo cell and you get a solid 7 minutes of flight time.
The helicopter’s lightweight 5-in-1 control unit takes care of all the control functions including the throttle-speed controls, the channel mixer, the gyro, servo control and it features a Spektrum DSM2 compatible receiver circuit. It also features a soft low-voltage cutoff (LVC) feature that occurs when the battery reaches 3.7V under load. The LED visible through the canopy will start to blink and the control unit will reduce power (regardless of the throttle setting), to prevent under-voltage damage from occurring to the battery. To help preserve the life of the LiPo pack, the instructions recommend that you not fly the heli to the LVC point on every flight. Also, for safety reasons, you should always observe the battery while it’s being charged. This takes only 15 minutes and allows you to monitor the condition of the battery. The charger has a red LED indicator that will flash when the battery is fully charged.
The battery pack slips into two holding brackets located at the bottom of the heli’s frame and the power connectors are color coded so you don’t connect the battery with the polarity reversed. The transmitter has duel-stick controls and also has digital trim buttons. Another unique feature of the transmitter is its dual rate setup. To switch from low and high control rates (while the transmitter is on), all you have to do is press the right control gimble straight down. When you hear the click, release the stick and the red LED indicator will start to flash. Press the stick again and the rate control is switched back to high.
The RTF version of the Blade mCX S300 is priced at $140 and it’s a steal! It comes out of the box 100% ready to fly and is equipped with the necessary features that make it easy enough for anyone to fly. It delivers exceptional performance and is plenty durable. Add to this its authentic scale looks, compact fly anywhere size and reliable Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 technology, and you have a clear winner.
Model: Blade mCX S300
Distributor: Horizon Hobby
Type: Coaxial rotor, micro indoor helicopter
Rotorspan: 7.5 in. (190mm)
Length: 6 in. (150mm)
Weight: 1 oz. (28g)
Height: 4.7 in. (120mm)
Power: 2 micro coreless motors
Price: $140 (RTF), $110 (BNF)
+ Great performance
+ Easy to fly
+ Comes completely ready-to-fly
Transmitter: Dual stick E-flite MLP4DSM 4-channel with Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 technology
Motor: 2 micro coreless
Battery: 1S 3.7V 110mAh LiPo
Charger: 1S 3.7V DC LiPo
On-board electronics: Integrated 5-in-1 receiver, servos, mixer, speed control, gyro
In the Air
The Blade mCX S300 could not be easier to get it flying. It comes out of the box fully assembled and only needs the included AA alkaline batteries to be installed into the transmitter and charger and have the LiPo battery pack charged. After a short 15-minute battery charge, all you have to do is turn on the transmitter and wait 5 seconds for it to scan and secure two open frequencies, slide the pack into place and then connect the power lead. Remember to place the S300 on a horizontal surface within 2 seconds of plugging in the battery to let the gyro calibrate. If you skip this step, the S300 will be unstable and difficult to fly. As soon as the LED lights up solid red on the helicopter, wiggle the stick to confirm it is operating properly and advance the throttle.
The Blade mCX S300 is specifically designed for indoor flight. It is extremely lightweight and stable, yet it has excellent control for all basic coaxial rotor maneuvering. It is fairly rugged as testament to its ability to shake off several crashes without breakage, and it has excellent flight duration of approximately 7 minutes.
Stability: In a class of its own, the tiny Blade mCX S300 is extremely stable, which gives the beginner pilot plenty of time to think his way through maneuvers. If you get uncomfortable with the flight, avoid the temptation of chopping power. Instead, just release the right stick and let the model stabilize itself. Move the throttle stick slowly.
Tracking: In forward flight, the yaw control is crisp and responsive. You can trim the heli for slight forward cyclic control and g
uide the heli with throttle and yaw control only.
Aerobatics: Forget it! This machine is designed to hover and to make it easy to fly circuits around your heli pad. The model will however do extremely quick pirouettes and has extremely precise control allowing you to do 4-point pirouettes without even trying hard!
Glide and Stall Performance: Once the power drops to 3.7V under load, the LED on the S300 will start to blink and the internal control unit will go into low voltage cutoff model and it will reduce power to the point where you have to land. Avoid running the heli into the LVC mode so you have full control while landing.
Two micro coreless motors provide the power for the coaxial rotor system.
The 5-n-1 control unit houses the receiver, servos, mixer, speed control and gyro and is the key component that helps to make the S300 so easy to fly.
E-flite includes everything you need to get the S300 airborne including the AA batteries for the charger and transmitter.
The E-flite mCX S300 in action!