E-flite Blade CX
The E-flite™ Blade™ CX was an entry level, ready-to-fly electric micro R/C helicopter designed and distributed by E-flite, a division of Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Illinois, USA. It has since been discontinued in favor of upgraded variations.
This model was introduced in late 2005 as an easier-to-fly alternative to E-flite's Blade CP, also introduced in 2005. Unlike its predecessor, intended for experienced pilots with its standard two-blade main rotor and gyro-controlled tail rotor, the CX is fitted with a coaxial counter-rotating main head. This system, driven by two 180-series motors, cancels the rotational torque so there is no need for the tail rotor of a standard helicopter. Rudder turns were accomplished via the slowing of one blade and increasing the speed of the the other, controlled by an on-board mixer. Fast pirouettes were possible, and the tail was more stable than a conventional helicopter.
The lower rotor had two servos driving a swashplate for full cyclic control; the top rotor was connected to a flybar. This setup was designed so that when the helicopter is moving, the rotors automatically act to slow the helicopter, making the CX stable enough so that even first time R/C users quickly learn to hover, some learning almost immediately (unlike conventional helicopters, especially ones this small).
This stability, along with a "street" price of under US$200, made the Blade CX one of the most popular hobby-grade radio controlled holiday gift choices in its first year. There is a trade-off in control responsiveness, but one can theoretically step up to a standard micro helicopter once the basics of helicopter flight are mastered with the CX.
A sophisticated four-in-one on-board control unit mixed throttle and rudder, and contained the receiver, gyro and motor speed controls. Each E-flite Blade CX was individually test-flown at the factory prior to shipping. A lithium polymer battery with DC charger was standard as was an instructional CD-video disc. The only other requirement were eight "AA" batteries for the transmitter.
Options included a police helicopter fuselage and training skids.
The CX could be flown in most rooms, although flying through a standard doorways is rather risky. The cyclic control meant that it can be flown in any direction and the control response was good. The low top speed of the CX became apparent outdoors or in a large hall; it was limited to about walking pace, which is more than enough at home but often not enough to resist even a gentle wind.
The CX often survived crashes without breaking anything, but the rotor blades were the part most commonly broken.
The first major upgrade of the CX arrived in 2007. Called the Blade CX2, the unit is the first RTF helicopter on the market to feature 2.4 GHz ISM radio technology of the type pioneered by sister company, Spektrum. The CX2 can be bound to any Spektrum DSM2 radio. New CX2 helis are now being equipped from the factory with AR6100E receivers, resettable fuses, and an aluminum head. The S75 servos have been replaced with smaller and lighter S60 servos. The 4-in-1 has also been replaced with a new 3-in-1. The CX2 is still only available as an RTF kit, however.
The Blade CX3 became available in 2009, and is available in BNF or RTF versions. It includes an MD520N fuselage with police markings, an HH gyro, S60 servos, and an AR6100E DSM2 receiver. A lighting kit is available from the factory for added scale realism.
- Rotor span: 13.6"/345mm
- Weight: 8 oz/227g with battery
- Length: 15.75"/400mm
- Height: 7.17"/182mm
- Included radio system: Four-channel 72 MHz FM
- Servos: E-flite S75 microservos
- Main drive motors: Dual 180-series motors
- Standard battery: 7.4v, 800mAh 2s lithium polymer
- Onboard control electronics: E-flite 4-in-1 control unit
- Flight duration: 10-15 minutes per charge
- List/street prices: US$249.99/189.99
- Catalog number: EFLH1200