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By: Dave Taylor
Iím not a helicopter man. Well I thought I wasnít . As they say "donít knock it until youíve tried it" but guess what? Yes Iím hooked, line and sinker . Having seen the latest Hirobo helicopter being demonstrated at the indoor flying meet at Nacton it got me thinking. After not being fortunate enough to be given one as a present I took a trip to Galaxy Models, Ipswich with a friend to spend a few happy hours dreaming in their Aladdinís cave. Gary Weston is a mine of information and good advice & I came home happily clutching my Hirobo Helicopter.
The kit comes nicely presented in itís box. A good looking model with itís bubble cockpit, scale type skids and tail rotor together with the scale dummy turbine engine certainly makes this kit an attractive item. DO take time to read the manual and then apart from charging up the lithium polymer battery and adding the stabilizers itís ready to fly.
I was a little hesitant at first and kind of skidded across the carpet but soon gained confidence and was flying around the living room quite happily after about 2 hours. We did have one or two mishaps but practise makes perfect. Itís a bit noisy and the draft a little breezy but what FUN! Only problem is having to share it with my 10 yr old son! He has his ĎAí Fixed Wing but has quickly mastered the art of flying this helicopter with ease. Canít say the wife and daughter are too impressed but it is money well spent, I think. We have competitions as to who can take off, hover and land back down again. Or we try landing on a target. It does take a while to trim this model and getting the blades balanced nicely but do persevere. We have now flown this machine in various halls and a hangar. The more space you have the more you tend to show off and when you return to flying in the confines of the living room you really have to concentrate. We practise flying off the dining room table across the room and landing on a box. Sounds simple but it is quite difficult. Why not get a model and try.
I have of course returned to the model shop for spare blades and another battery. You get 15-20 minutes flying time per charge and they take about an hour to recharge. Blades will set you back about £8 and around £30 for another battery. As my son will only be too pleased to tell you he hasnít broken a single set of blades yet. Iíve got through several sets but whose counting. We have now progressed to flying without the stabilizers and are thoroughly enjoying this model. It is quiet pricey but I didnít have to buy a radio as I used my Futaba Field Force 7 so this saved a bit.
Just a note when charging lithium batteries I do the following. I have made myself a safer way to charge the battery by placing it inside an old tobacco tin with a hole at the side for the leads. The bottom of the tin has a ceramic tile stuck to it. Apparently there has been some accidents with these batteries exploding and this is a precaution just in case. Perhaps this is being a little too cautious and I can honestly say I have NEVER experienced any problems but just be aware.
However I donít want to put you off trying this great little helicopter so go on treat yourself you can now fly at home and entertain Ďher indoorsí at the same time!
By: Dave Taylor