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SR UH-1 Huey Gunship RTF from Blade

By Don Coe
Published: March 14, 2012
MOD-PL0412_Huey copy

Product: E-Flite's Blade series of ready-to-fly helicopters from Horizon Hobby now includes the Blade SR UH-1 Huey Gunship. Based on the established Blade SR mechanics, any pilot who can hover comfortably can now fly a scale version of this iconic Vietnam War-era helicopter.

The product box is 24-inches wide, 10-inches high and 9-inches deep. It also serves as a carrying case for the Huey and all of its necessary support components. The box looks like a museum diorama of the famous Huey gunship with action photos of the helicopter searching out targets in the jungle. Very appealing!

I confess that I have a very personal connection with the UH-1 Huey as I have flown the real thing for more than 2000 flight hours, most of them in Vietnam. The Huey was truly the workhorse of its era, of which I am proud to have been a part. The name of my ship was the Tangellary Smoth, but that’s a different story for another time.

Performance: Pilots will find a 38-page instruction manual and DVD. The instructions are well-written and clear.

Everything needed to ready the Huey for flight is included: a 1000mAh LiPo flight battery with matching charger; 6-channel, 2.4GHz transmitter; 4 AA batteries for the radio; and an armament package of simulated miniguns. An optional lighting package was provided for this review (Prod. No. EFLH2009R; $22.99). It's even equipped with scale windshield wipers and radio antennas. The side windows are open for cooling. The cockpit is held in place by a plastic tab and two small magnets, making access to the battery compartment a snap.

The DVD provides an excellent series of video episodes detailing the disassembly and maintenance of the Huey’s mechanicals. One episode is dedicated to the installation of the optional lighting package. Installing it is worth the effort, as it adds to the overall scale presentation. The DVD also supplies text documents to allow setup of other popular transmitters.

Charging the battery using the included charger takes about an hour. Battery installation is simple with the removable cockpit. I recommend fastening the pack as far into the nose as possible for proper balance.

The transmitter is equipped with a functional throttle hold switch. This is an excellent safety feature to avoid unexpected rotation of the main rotor blades.

Flight testing required only minor trim adjustments on the main rotor. One blade was slightly out of track, but this was easily fixed by adjusting the pitch control link.

The tail rotor was a different story. Some minor tail wagging has been characteristic of the original SR, and the Huey manual instructs how to fix this by lowering the gyro gain through a hole in the right side of the engine compartment. The wagging diminishes somewhat, but completely fixing it requires adjustment of the tail rotor mixing pot, accessible through a hole in the bottom of the body just behind the front skid mount. The instructions for this are found on page 52 of the Blade SR manual. Find it at www.e-fliterc.com/Support/. I recommend reading and understanding the Blade SR manual before attempting to fly the heli.

Marketing: Considering this is a totally complete, ready-to-fly package, the suggested retail price of $439.99 is quite reasonable. To enhance the scale looks, be sure to offer the add-on lighting package.

There are plenty of "scale" appearing RTF helicopters on the market, which, for the most part, are only vague representations of the real thing. This is definitely not the case for the Blade Huey. Horizon has gone to great lengths to offer a truly scale-appearing model. Granted, it does not have every rivet and access panel, but the overall shape and markings are spot-on.

VITAL STATS
Product: SR UH-1 Huey Gunship RTF
Maker: Blade
Scale: Micro
Stock number: BLH1700
MSRP: $439.99
Availability: Horizon Hobby

BOTTOM LINE
Has the scale lines of the Huey
Proven SR components
Waggle fixable with SR manual