E-Flite Blade 400 Review

E-Flite Blade 400 Review

Author
  • Durability
  • Flying
  • Price

[NOTE: Blade 400 has now been replaced by Blade 450.]

Blade 400 by E-flite is a best value collective pitch helicopter for those who have just started on CP or have just got back into RC helis after several years and wonder how many advances have taken place in the hobby like electric flight, heading lock gyros, computerized radios and cyclic collective pitch mixing etc. They will find Blade 400 the best entry level heli for first timers who are on a tight budget and want to start the hobby still. This is an absolutely amazing mini heli right out of the box with the airframe requiring no final assembly or tuning. It needs just a click or two of trim for a complete hands off hover.

Package

The package of Blade 400 includes: Blade 400 CP helicopter, E-flite 11.1V 1800mAh 20C 3cell Li-Po battery, high-quality DC Li-Po battery charger/balancer, blade holder, a small tool package, an extra gyro mounting foam tape, and an instruction manual.

package contents

Specifications

Weight with Battery: 665 gm

Tail Rotor Drive: Belt Driven

Rotor Diameter: 718 mm

Tail Rotor Diameter: 135 mm

Motor: E-Flite 420Heli Brushless 3800Kv

Main Frame Material: Plastic, Tail Boom – Aluminum

Receiver: Spektrum AR6 100e 2.4GHz DSM2

Electronic Speed Controller: 25Amp

Servos: 4 E-Flite DS75 Digital Coreless Micro

Gyro: E-Flite G110 Heading Hold (Yaw Rate and Gain Adjustable Remotely)

Transmitter

The transmitter of Blade 400 is like a jewel in the crown – the Spektrum DX6i Radio, which is the best computerized entry level RC radio right now on the market. If you want to get into single rotor CP RC helis, particularly with eCCPM swash mixing, a computerized TX is a must. It allows you to setup and level your CCPM swash properly, which is an essential task.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spectrum DX6i makes all important functions go smoothly. The one-touch scroll button on this TX is so much better than those of various other computerized radios for up, down and enter. The DX6i even displays pitch and throttle curves in form of graphs, which even the Futuba 6EX (the entry level computerized radio by Futuba) doesn’t.

Setup

Everything lies in the setup. Being capable of adjusting the throttle and pitch curves to more disciplined values while learning to fly a CP heli is important for you to succeed. With the introduction of electronic CCPM swash mixing, achieving this in an “old fashioned” method by adjusting servo arm and push rod lengths to modify the travel limits is impossible because of the inbuilt swash plate variation issues which step in and overall loss of cyclic movement if you decrease collective. Even electricity requires changing throttle output rates to rightly produce the exact power for a certain main rotor pitch angle or at least to smooth out the throttle response for the reduced torque induced yaw.

Charger

The reason to mention the charger of Blade400’s battery is, unlike many “included” chargers, this is not that bad. It has a cooling fan and its balance voltage readings are constantly accurate with less than 0.02 of a volt between cells. Of course, you cannot adjust the rate of charging or observe the charge capacity like you can with a high-quality computerized charger. However, when you are starting out, this small 3cell charger works perfectly.

Flying Experience

As said earlier, Blade 400 is absolutely ideal for novices coming in perfect trim right out of the box. The throttle and pitch curves are set in standard mode for sport flying and 3D in advanced mode. Those who don’t want to go for 3D now, can tame down those curves. The sport curve is perfect for sport and scale flying, but for one who is just starting out, it may be too aggressive.

With a good practice, you can tame this little agile bird into a great trainer. You can even get some very nice dual rate figures like settings that further enhance the trainer. And with the tamed settings, the 1800mAh battery gives flight times more than 11 minutes, with scale type flying.

Stability is excellent and with the training gear added, it becomes even more stable. The climb out rate is also very impressive – even better than most nitros with training gear added.

Sport Flying – When you take the training gear off and shift to sport mode, it’s time to shake (not for the heli)! Firstly, the G110 is a full function, heading hold gyro having gain and yaw rate modes remotely selectable. For a first timer, the G110 is more than acceptable and it has a solid tail lock, even in considerable crosswinds. No tail wag while stopping, perfect gain settings.

Performance is wonderful in sport mode with an amazing power to weight ratio together with predicable execution of loops, flips, rolls and pirouettes all the time. For trying acrobatics, it is really a nice little heli.

Blade_400 acrobatics

The stock DS75 digital servo of the tail rotor works superb for routine flying, but when you start pushing light 3D or sport flying it becomes slow. Forceful climb-outs will give considerable heading deviation as the slower DS 75 servo catches up and rectifies the heading change.

As the weight of Blade 400 is so light, flying becomes a bit tricky when wind picks up. If training gear or a fuselage is added, that certainly helps; however, it is better to avoid any type of wind, particularly a gusty wind, while you are learning.

Gyro

The G110 gyro does show a bit of drift throughout the flight as it heats, cools down or goes through voltage fluctuations. But for a low-priced entry level CP heli, the G110 is a good companion in spite of the drift problem. You only need to give some clicks of rudder trim at the most to fix the drifting, and for that price it is certainly good.

Visibility

A smaller 400 size heli might be a concern regarding visibility but Blade 400 has a fine visibility with its yellow pod and tail fins.

Spare Parts

When it comes to spare parts, again Blade 400 is very economical, with easily available, inexpensive spare parts. With a moderate crash, you can wind up the repair bill in just $50 (assuming the Li-Po battery has not suffered).

Pros

  • Excellent stability
  • Excellent flight performance
  • Spare parts easily available and affordable
  • Affordable price
  • Spectrum DX6i computerized radio
  • Light weight, so very nimble

Cons

  • Only RTF version available
  • Supplied tools are of very poor quality

Conclusion

E-Flite Blade 400 is an ideal helicopter for those who want to start with CP helis and gives excellent training. It gives very little problems and maintenance is nearly nil. Overall longevity is excellent and as an entry level 400 size CP RC heli with a low cost, it holds very well.

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