Box of Shame, Best and Worst of 2011

I’ve actually spent some time flying this year…  I’m learning, but have a lot more to learn obviously! The carnage is a bit scary !


The Protos 500 is proving to REALLY crash a LOT LOT LOT  cheaper and is much faster to repair than the 550E. It also has a better power to weight ratio.

Best Purchases of 2011

  • Blade mCPX – this is the perfect heli to learn to hover with and begin to learn some inverted flight with. Very durable and small enough to fly in the back yard without scaring the neighbors.
  • MSH Protos 500 CF FBL – The perfect heli to learn 3D on. Great power to weight ratio, extremely simple construction, well engineered, well executed, very low number of moving parts. Flies fantastic! A few of the MSH upgrades are worth having, but it really is a great heli as it comes.
  • JR 11X – I’ve really come to enjoy this Transmitter. I love  the features, the monster battery I can put in it, and how it works.
  • Phoenix Flight Simulator
    • Fantastic range of models that is constantly being updated
    • No upgrade fees
    • recognizes my JR 11X and very easy to configure.
  • PowerLab 8 V2 – I have charged all kinds of things with this charger and it does a fantastic job.
    • LiFePO4 – 3S  JR 11X battery
    • LiPO  – 1S, 2S, 6S  so far
    • NiMH – buffer battery
  • Meanwell PowerSupply – this is a 1000W 24V power supply that allows my PowerLab to charge two large 6S batteries at 20A ea.
  • EC3/EC5 – I definitely like these connectors and have gotten rid of all of my Dean’s connectors.
    • They handle higher current
    • They are easier to solder
    • They are easier to connect and disconnect ESPECIALLY the EC5’s
  • Skookum SK-720 – a very nice FBL controller with a great feature set.
    • Fantastic vibration analysis tools to see where problems are with your heli.
    • Auto-leveling
      • Nice  for a Bail Out switch to right the heli if you get disorientated.
        • This actually saved me from completely loosing my 550E.
      • Also good for Video since you can really tame the heli with the Auto-Leveling  set appropriately.
    • Oh and it flies great too!

Biggest Disappointments of 2011

  • TREX  550E FBL – Don’t get me wrong it flies well and there is fantastic  parts availability for it, but the engineering and execution is just poor. A heli this size should have a 3rd main bearing. The frames really should be 2.0mm rather than 1.6mm. The Torque Tube tail it has is very vibration prone. There are a lot of frail parts that have created HUGE opportunities for aftermarket  upgrades of which my 550E is chock full!
    • This is also not the right heli for a beginning flier as it shatters pretty well when it crashes.
    • My advice is to start smaller!
  • Spectrum DX8 – They appear to actually have all the kinks worked out of it and most owners are happy now. I haven’t given mine that 2nd chance since I got a JR 11X while it was off having warrantee work done on the jumpy aileron pot issue. If it didn’t fail like that I may have actually liked it long term. It does have a faster frame rate than the JR 11X, otherwise the JR 11X is just a lot nicer.
  • Nanotech batteries 1S for my mCPX – half of them puffed on me very quickly. This even though they are supposed to be 300mah vs. the 200mah of the stock elite batteries.

Biggest Hopes for 2012

  • Not to add considerably to the Box of Shame!!!
  • Henseleit Three Dee Rigid (TDR) – this is a fantastically well engineered 700 class heli with jewelry like parts. I hope it lives up to all the expectations I have, but from what I can tell it really will.
  • Contour Roam – 1080P HD video camera with time lapse 5Mp picture ability. Hopefully I will get some very interesting video with it from the my helicopters.
    • 5.1oz
    • 270 degree field of view
    • 3 hours on a charge
    • 4 hours of video with a 16Gb memory card.

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