For quite a while, I’ve wanted an electric radio controlled (R/C) helicopter–one of the small ones you can fly around inside the house. Over the last couple years, I’ve tried cheap versions (complete waste of money; they fly like crud), and the expensive versions seemed too, well, expensive for what would be nothing more than a silly time waster.
Then, just before Christmas, E-Flite released the new Blade mCX, a smaller, lighter, and easier-to-fly version of their Blade CX2. The CX2 was one of the expensive models I’d passed on earlier. The mCX, however, comes in $50 cheaper than the CX2, and came close enough to my self-imposed $100 limit that I bought myself one for Christmas :). (Click the image at left [and any image in this writeup] for a larger view.)
After only a few minutes with the mCX, I was hooked. This machine is unlike any other R/C helicopter I’ve ever tried to fly. Within a couple minutes of my first power-up, I had it hovering in place, and could maneuver it relatively well. Even for me, a complete novice to R/C flying, this machine is incredibly easy to fly. R/C purists probably dislike it, though–relying on dual counter-rotating rotor blades and a gyro, the mCX isn’t a “real” R/C helicopter in any sense. But for my desires, it’s (nearly) perfect.
The mCX weighs one ounce (with battery), and has a rotor span of just 7.5 inches. Everything about this machine is tiny, including the motors (the round items in the image at left) and the battery (visible at the bottom of the image; it’s got a red dot on it). The front of the machine is the brains, though–a circuit board there holds the gyro, motor control units, fully proportional servos, and radio receiver. Amazing that it all weighs but an ounce.
Combine that with very sensitive flight controls, and you can fly the mCX almost anywhere–I’ve flown it above the garage’s workbench, for instance. The throttle is amazingly precise, making it easy to fly at whatever altitude you desire. As a brief example, here’s a video of me flying around in the den, trying to keep the mCX within view of the fixed video camera:
Read on for more about this amazing little machine…