RC Helicopter Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne Project Scratch building a scale hybrid Heli

Here's the 450 size Cheyenne at the 2013 MidAm Electric Fly.  Photo by John Kauk.

A few years back I designed a scale model of the Lockheed AH-56 Cheyenne, probably my favorite helicopter of all time.  The experimental Cheyenne featured a variable-pitch pusher prop and small wings, which allowed it to fly much like an airplane and gave it a top speed of nearly 250 MPH.  My Cheyenne was based on Align T-Rex 450 hardware, with many customized components to allow it to fit in the slender fiberglass fuselage.  The project turned out really well, and I was particularly honored that this little model was awarded first place in the helicopter class at the 2011 Toledo Weak Signals show.  My only regret for the Cheyenne was that I didn’t make it bigger.  This year I decided it was time to do something about that.

For my larger Cheyenne I’ve settled on Blade 600 X mechanics, “stretched” to 700 size with a longer tail boom and 690mm blades.  This will result in a 1/10 scale model 65″ long.  As the preliminary line drawing shows, this machine is going to dwarf the previous version.

I drew the fuselage for the Cheyenne in Rhino 3D, which allows me to verify fit for all components.  This 3D model will be used to machine a foam plug, which will then be glassed, finished and waxed so that it can be the master for a female fiberglass mold.


The scale airframe is certainly the star of any scale build, but on a project like the Cheyenne my first priority was to get the mechanics built and test flown.  After all, the complex tail unit, with its outrigger tail rotor and variable-pitch pusher prop, is the key to the entire project, so that’s a natural place to start.  So let’s set the body aside for now and move on to the mechanics….




  1. Awesome project Jim! The Cheyenne has been a favorite of mine and back in my heli days often thought about what it would take to make one. I
    lol be following with great interest!

    Rick …

  2. I’m on board, I’ve been wanting to do a large scale heli for a long time!

  3. Outstanding project, Jim. Great to see modelers continuing to do exciting and interesting stuff! Congrats!

  4. Having worked on the real Cheyenne, looking to see your bird fly

  5. When I was a kid living in So. Cal, I seen this helicopter flying around on a few occasions and seen it parked in its “secret fenced area” at I believe Palomar airport. It was parked in an area that had like five fences all around the heli pad and it. Think of a tennis court but with five VERY tall fences around it!!!! I will look forward to seeing the progress.

  6. I have loved the Cheyenne since the first time I saw it. I have often thought about trying to make a scale version so when I saw your 450 version I was happy to see that you went all in and included the variable pitch pusher prop. All the best with the build and I look forward to seeing your large version complete.

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