Evaluating the performance of a helicopter in flight goes beyond the design characteristics of the helicopter, and must also include the performance of the engine, rotor blades and electronics. The push-pull cyclic controls, combined with the speed and precision of the JR 8917HV (High Voltage) Digital Heli Servos enabled the NEX to respond to my slightest commands, and the extra power from the new TT 56H Redline engine, combined with the Mavrikk G-5 Pro Wide Chord rotor blades, proved to be a perfect combination from hovering to all-out aerobatics.
Hovering – Because the 56H engine was new, initial flight tests were performed with a rich mixture setting resulting in a fairly low rotor speed of about 1500 rpm. This reduced rotor speed, combined with a reduced collective pitch and cyclic throws, made for an extremely stable and predictable helicopter which would be ideal for the novice pilot.
Forward Flight – Now the engine was leaned out slightly to produce a rotor speed of about 1700 rpm, and with that came improved flight performance more suitable to the intermediate pilot. The normal flight mode on the JR G370 gyro is best for this type of flying, and the light weight of the NEX made it feel like a larger helicopter. Even in the wind it tracked straight and true.
Aerobatics – Increasing the collective pitch and cyclic throws, with the improved power and performance from both the engine and the electronics, enables the NEX to take on many of the performance characteristics of its big brother, the Vibe 90 SG. Leaned out to an engine head temperature of 180-200 degrees, climb outs, both upright and inverted, were very impressive for this size helicopter. But the true test of a helicopters performance capabilities is how it performs in backwards flight. This tail rotor is extremely powerful and slop free, and when combined with the JR G370 3D gyro, it’s virtually impossible to blow out the tail in any backwards maneuver.
Auto rotation performance – An auto rotation stores energy in the main rotor system during descent, which is then used to flare and land the helicopter. All of this requires a combination of a free rotor system, superior rotor blades and light weight helicopter. Fortunately the Vibe 50 NEX has this combination to make autos like a much larger helicopter.
When I think of the Vibe 50 NEX a chameleon comes to mind because it can change its flight characteristics to suit the individual taste of the pilot. A proven design from the long line of previous Vibe helicopters, coupled with light weight and quality components, makes this helicopter hard to beat from a novice to an expert, at any flying field.