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Test Flying the E-Sky Honey Bee Mark 3 Helicopter

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Last response: in Other Consumer Electronics
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February 16, 2007 10:25:57 AM

Expanding our horizons, we take some flying hardware for a spin.
February 16, 2007 11:52:39 AM

I thought the article was interesting enough to read through. I'm not sure it fits entirely with THG but a break from the usual is not bad.

I would like to see the copter modded with a small onboard camera with a display on the controller so you can see what your doing while in flight. I know they sell that stuff but seems to me it would be cheaper to build one from off the shelf parts. Just a thought. Plus can you mod it with two batteries so if flies more than 15 minutes.
February 16, 2007 12:10:58 PM

I guess the site redesign brought about a change in emphasis. Maybe next there will be an article on applying window treatments or rebuilding carburetors.

Overall, I think the shift is a good thing. This computer stuff was all a fad, anyway, and now that tastes are changing it's only a matter of time before computers are as extinct as pet rocks and hoola hoops.
February 16, 2007 1:03:55 PM

I think a lot of computer geeks are enjoying helicopters lately, so you're probably hitting the interest of your demographic well. Plus, you integrated computer simulators into it - I think it fits perfectly. Interesting article. You might find a good sub-$100 one to recommend to (more than $100 to see if you're interested can be seen as steep, even if it is a great deal).
February 16, 2007 2:57:18 PM

I read and enjoyed the entire article. I would like to see more articles as long as they continue to maintain the level of detail as the rest of the sites articles.

I've always liked the details it doesn't matter what the article is about. The details matter most to me.

I'd like to see more articles about odd computer hardware and where to buy it. Like Right Angle PCI-Express adapters, embedded PC Boards... etc.
Maybe robotics -- that would be cool.

-Jeff
February 16, 2007 3:33:49 PM

now is the time for flying helies, when i bought mine about 4 years ago it costed several hundred and came in kit form..that having been said kit form will always outperform a premade one (atleast at this stage) for the same reason your rig at home will outperform a dell.
February 16, 2007 4:42:48 PM

This was a very good article and a nice break from the norm.

While I've flown in many helicopters, and even jumped out of them, the only time behind a stick was in a very expensive Army Blackhawk simulator. I crashed it a bunch of times. It is counter-intuitive to fly these machines, especially with the desert simulation on!

That said, this review was so well done for the novice, that I can easily say that I learned more about flying helicopters reading this than I did from the pros who strapped me into the mock up sim. Having that basic knowledge would have helped.

Two thumbs up!
February 16, 2007 4:43:20 PM

Good read, and a refreshing departure from the norm here at THG. I suspect that as long as this type of article does not replace or distract from the site's main focus then it can't do any harm.

Plus, even though I fly RC planes and have played two of the three sims mentioned in the article, I've never actually flown an RC heli and thus I enjoyed seeing it from a fresh (newbie, if you will) perspective. Well done, and I'm considering getting one of these myself!

Note to non-RC inclined members--The LiPo revolution is in full swing. These batteries only started to become available about 3 years ago, and only widely available about a year and a half ago (stores and online vs. just online; plus the price has dropped). The significance of this cannot be overstated--In electric flight, weight savings are king. Lipos offer about a 30% increase in energy capacity for about a 30% DECREASE in weight compared to NiCad batts.

What does this mean for the average geek? How about this. I can take a $40 foam-wing RC plane (GWS Slow Stick, google it), strap on a cheap digital camera, and take aerial photography from 500 feet up. I can do this for about 20 minutes on a single charge with a high-efficiency brushless motor and a 3-cell, 2100mAH LiPo and a good thermal or two.

Then I can land, pop the compact flash from the camera into my laptop and look at what I've just done. I think that's neat.

Or, if you've got more disposable income, you can strap a camera on your plane/heli and record video. And for the ultimate in reality, you can try to fly your plane in real time, or use video goggles for a "virtual" reality experience.

All of which ties into our geek mentality quite nicely. Not to mention the endless supply of calculators, forums, programs and sims that can significantly increase the involvement and enjoyment of our main hobby into this one.

I'll leave you with one website if anyone's interested in RC flight of any sort (gas, electric, gliders, helis, you name it). www.rcgroups.com

Sorry for the book; I'm just stoked to see an article about one of my other hobbies on THG for a change. Keep up the good work you guys.

Cheers!
February 16, 2007 5:42:18 PM

I actually owned one of these for a very short while, never got it much off the ground though before it had to be "retired". Hopefully you have read up on the problems with the batteries or maybe they have actually been fixed - since the style looks a little different.

One day mine was charging (in my computer room of all places) when I heard shouts about fire. Apparently the battery pack caught fire and then a few seconds later had two small explosions. Thankfully I had a fire extinguisher in the house and had only minimal damage to the carpet and wall, but it was pretty scary. I learned later that this was a somewhat common problem (exploding batteries) and it was recommended to charge it outside or in the garage and to place it inside an ammo can (drill a hole for the wire, just in case it explodes). I guess if the manual was written in readable english it might have actually warned about that.

I haven't ventured back into the world of R/C helicopters yet, but at least I have learned a few (rather expensive) lessons. Just a warning :twisted:
February 16, 2007 5:52:21 PM

The video link gives a 604 error? Nice article though!
February 16, 2007 8:00:14 PM

I was surprised and excited as well to see this article about one of my hobbies. I've been learning to fly my Blade CP helicopter (almost the same as the honey bee in the article, but collective pitch) for a little over a year now. It would be nice to see articles like this occasionally to take a break every now and then from the world of just computers, like maybe every other friday or something.

Some words of advise to anyone looking to get into the hobby. You will easily pay in parts the same amount as the helicopter costs by the time you able to fly circuits. Also alot of these RTF kits have transmitters that have a trainer port on them. These ports will let you connect the Tx to your computer (using a special cable) to interface with simulation software. I purchased a program called "Pre-Flight" which came with the cable for about $50. Very nice software to learn the controls and get the feel for the Tx you'll be using to fly your real RC helicopter.

Also, there was no mention of Li-Po safety in the article. These batteries are dangerous and should be carefully monitored while charging. They're getting safer, but should still be handled with extreme caution.
February 16, 2007 8:09:13 PM

It was kinda enjoyable to read about something entirely different. It was a good change of pace from the norm.
February 17, 2007 1:56:11 AM

I'm so pathetic.

I ordered one.
February 17, 2007 2:20:11 AM

A well done article which gave computer elements (software RC simulators), hardware elements (LiPo batteries), and keeps up with current events (RC Helicopters). A popular 2006 X-mas gift for both geeks and non-geeks was the RC Helicpter "Picco Z", but I would rather have this one vs. the Picco Z anyday.

Keep up the good work, and don't be afraid to put out the occasional non-computer article. This was on your Gear Digest site which I would expect this kind of reporting.

What might also be fun is to post some articles on other trends like home surveillance and controls you can access over the web. Parents or pet owners might want to see how Fido or Fluffy or the kids are doing, they may have a need to come home early so they want to turn up the heat or A\C, they forgot to turn off a light, or turn on the sprinkler systems.

Another "gear" idea might be to show fad vs functional gear. What has been fads both good and bad of past years, and what might be fads to steer clear of nowadays?
February 17, 2007 4:01:28 AM

Very nice!

I've got a coaxial that I've been bashing around lately, and I do mean bashing!

I've flown a few RC planes and those are easy, until the landing. The heli is far more difficult to keep where you want it, even the coaxials. But I spent a bit of time on some of the sims and will probably order one of these in the near future.

When I crash I can always grab my nitro monster truck and crush it :) 
February 17, 2007 7:01:43 AM

Quote:
Very nice!



When I crash I can always grab my nitro monster truck and crush it :) 


That is so awesome. Cheers for that mental image. :)  :)  :) 
February 17, 2007 11:32:53 AM

I purchased the eSky Honey Bee 2 off ebay last summer for under $100 brand new. The only difference is the battery, mine didn't come with lipo. But I upgraded the landing gear after I broke the stock one (the upgrade is much sturdier, and a great investment), and I upgraded my battery with a 1500 MAh lipo which allows around 25 min flight time.

Mine is out of commission now, I think my receiver/gyro unit went bad. And I really miss flying it. But, my computer takes financial priority, so the heli will just have to wait.

BTW, I've never used a computer RC simulator. I just jumped in head first. I'd say I was pretty successful too. I was hovering within about an hour.
February 17, 2007 7:53:02 PM

This is an awesome article, thanks for mixing it up a bit. I want one of these pretty badly now, but It would be sweet to see one with a video camera mounted on the front.

How feasible would that be? What would that require? Maybe a topic for another article: Wireless, battery powered, camera solutions.

Also, what is the range for these things?
February 19, 2007 12:37:12 PM

Great post.. I was bought a Honey Bee CP2 at Christmas. I have to say that I totally underestimated how difficult these things can be to fly. I set up my Honey Bee in the back yard and proceeded to try and get the thing going. The manuals that came with my copter were fairly woeful to say the least and didn't give me half the advice on flying that this article does. It gives no advice on how to actually power up and start the copter correctly. I had my copter ready to go and flicked a switch on the top of the controller "IDLE UP"... to my suprise 8O the thing bolted into life and proceeded to nose dive into the ground breaking the main rotar blade and snapping off the tail rota motor... It hasn't flown since :(  . This article has given me the will to give it another go and I'll be getting my soldering iron out tonight to re-attach the motor and hopefully next time will have more success.
February 19, 2007 5:20:23 PM

LOL yeah, IDLE UP is only used for aerobatics... allows you to use negative pitch on the main rotor blades for flying upside down. :lol: 

But if your heli was setup properly, IDLE UP shouldn't have made it leap into the air if you flipped the switch while the left stick is in the down position. Motor should have just revved to normal RPM and it hunkers down.

Training gear really helps to learn the controls and give the heli some additional wieght on the bottom side for hovering.

There are special cameras you can attach (fairly cheap to really expensive). Basically, the biggest limitation is weight. these micro heli's don't have alot of lifting power like the nitro-powered 30s and 50s. But there are little wireless cameras that can be mounted that run off of watch/coin batteries.
April 4, 2007 10:38:30 PM

Hello,

I used to use remote cars a lot but I'm considering getting my first helicopter and have several newbie questions -

Is there an easy way to adjust the frequency so that a friend and I can fly them simultaneously?
What frequencies are available for the unit?
Do I need to specify when buying or can it be switched?


What is the average flight time - not the specified but a realistic flight time for the unit?

What is the range of this unit from the remote that I can fly it safely before losing signal?

Thanks
!