The E-flite™ Blade™ mSR is a self-stabilising, fixed pitch, ready-to-fly electric ultra-micro R/C helicopter designed and distributed by E-flite, a division of Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Illinois, USA.
This model was introduced in the summer of 2009 and is the last helicopter model in the lineup to carry the E-flite brand. Newer models such as the 120 SR and 450 3D are branded under the new Blade™ brand. The mSR retains its E-flite brand, but it too is currently marketed as both an E-flite and as a Blade model.
The Blade mSR is almost as stable as coaxial helicopters such as the Blade mCX while providing most of the speed and manouverability of a fixed-pitch helicopter. As such, it is recommended as a transition between coaxial and standard models.
The Bell-Hiller head design contributes to the stability; the flybar is set at a 45-degree angle relative to the main blades rather than 90 degrees as found on many other fixed-pitch and virtually all CCPM helicopters. The stability does create some unusual characteristics in faster flight. Forward flight can be maintained by holding the cyclic stick forward and increasing throttle due to the self-stabilising behaviour, making outdoor flight possible in calm conditions. However, releasing the cyclic to centre during forward flight leads to backwards flight after stopping, followed by one or two oscillations forward and back. Strange things can happen during tight turns also such as a loss of altitude upon returning to level flight.
The mSR can be flown slowly in an eight-foot-square area or smaller by experienced pilots. A larger area is needed for fast flight.
It is relatively crash resistant because of its low weight and mass, but it is important to cut the throttle to zero immediately uon a crash to minimise the risk of burning the motor controllers out.
The cyclic and rudder controls make the heli controllable in all directions of flight and the heli can be quite precisely flown. Spot landings within a one-foot radius or smaller are achievable with some practice.
The cyclic controls can be made more or less sensitive by moving the swash-to-flybar links between the long/short horns on the swashplate.
A five-in-one similar to that on the Blade mCX contains two miniature linear servos which control the cyclic (elevator) and aileron functions.
The five-in-one also contains the receiver, gyro and two motor speed controls (one for the main rotor, the other for the tail motor. It can be bound to any DSM2 transmitter as an airplane instead of a helicopter; no servo reversal is necessary. Channel five, normally used for retractable landing gear, controls built-in dual rates. The 5-in-1 also has built in mixes which cannot be disabled, though they could be cancelled out by mixes on programmable transmitters.
Both the bind-n-fly and ready-to-fly retail packages come with a four-port "Celectra" charger with mains adapter (can also run from 4 D-size cells), two 120mAh one-cell lithium polymer batteries, spare tail rotor, spare flybar, spare flybar link, a swashplate alignment tool to insure proper alignment after a crash or repair, spare canopy mounting grommets, spare linear servo retainers and a small screwdriver.
Problems and fixes
- Many users on hobby-related bulletin boards have reported the tail motor end cap coming off in the event of a crash. The chances of this happening may be reduced by fitting heat shrink around the end of the motor. Should the motor need replacing, it is sold already mated to a replacement tail boom (EFLH3002). The assembly is easily replaced as a plug-in unit.
- Erratic motor operation, short runtimes and premature engagement of the low-voltage cutoff can often be traced to a defective main motor. The motor is inexpensive and may be quickly and easily replaced by unplugging the connector from the main board and sliding the motor out of the frame. The new motor simply slides into place and is then plugged into the board.
- Sloppy overall control and diminished forward flight capability can often be traced to the rubber O-rings which support the feathering shaft. This can be corrected by the "Main Blade Grips w/Hardware" package (EFLH3014). In addition to the grips and hardware themselves, the package includes the O-rings and shims. Installing the new grips themselves is recommended despite the condition of the old grips since repeated crashes may partially strip the mounting screws over time.
- Using exponential on a programmable transmitter can help reduce the sensation of a "shoulder" in the flight characteristics where the heli suddenly transitions from slow level flight to fast, tilted flight.
Upgrades and modifications
A range of glow-in-the-dark replacement parts are available from E-flite, and the canopy and vertical tail stabiliser are available in blue or red colour schemes.
As of August 2011, the 120mAh batteries have been discontinued. They have been replaced by a 150mAh 12C unit (EFLB1501S) which gives more flight time for a list price of US$9.99 each and a suggested selling price of $4.99. These batteries are fully compatible with the charger and the extra length does not alter the center of gravity.
A lower cost, higher output 150mAh, 25C battery which will accept up to a 3C charge rate is available under the E-flite brand (EFLB1501S25) for a list price of US$5.99 and a suggested selling price of $3.99.
Compatible batteries in both size and price are available in 125mAh and 160mAh sizes from Thunder Power RC. Inexpensive batteries with a claimed 138mAh 10C capacity are often sold for as little as US$.50 under the Turnigy label by HobbyKing.
Microheli produce a selection of aluminium alloy replacement parts. These are reported by some to provide greater precision, but are also reported to cause more broken plastic parts in crashes.
It is possible to modify the blades so that they can fold further back in the event of a blade striking an object. This may reduce the chance of broken blade grips or other damage to the head.
Blade mSR X
A flybarless version was announced in October 2011 and was introduced in mid-December. This new model, the Blade mSR X, is the world’s first fixed-pitch micro helicopter with Horizon's AS3X™ stabilization system. The AS3X system consists of a three-axis digital sensor that acts both as a stabilizer for the main rotor and as a heading hold gyro.
It is available in both ready-to-fly and bind-and-fly versions.
Specifications (mSR/mSR X)
- Type: Ultra-micro, fixed pitch, single rotor helicopter
- Main rotor diameter: 7.0" (180mm)/7.13" (181mm)
- Flying weight: 1 oz (28g)/1.09 oz (31g) with battery
- Length: 7.5" (190mm)
- Motors: Coreless main motor, micro-coreless tail motor
- Kit/ARF/RTF/BNF: RTF/BNF/assembled aircraft only
- Experience level: Intermediate
- Recommended environment: Indoor/Outdoor
- Assembly required: None
- Average prices (USD): $159.99 (RTF), $109.99 (BNF), $89.99 (aircraft only), $119.99 (mSR X BNF), $149.99 (mSR X RTF)
- Catalog number: EFLH3000 (RTF), EFLH3080 (BNF), EFLH3050 (aircraft only), BLH3200 (mSR X RTF), BLH3250 (mSR X BNF)
- Original E-flite product page at e-fliterc.com
- Blade RTF product page at Bladehelis.com
- mSR X RTF product page at Bladehelis.com
- mSR X BNF product page at Bladehelis.com
- RCGroups Blade mSR thread with brief review and lots of info on mods and upgrades.
- Review of the mSR X at RCGroups,com
- E-flite 150mAh 25C battery product page at e-fliterc.com
- Thunder Power G6 Pro Lite home page
- HobbyKing 138mAh battery home page