Micro helicopters are quite the rage today. Newer models keep upping the ante with higher performance, lower weight, and more sophisticated control systems. Most modelers have heard of the major-brand helicopters because of their strong marketing campaigns. Today I am going to look at an aerobatic heli that is big on performance and small on price. I am referring to Skyartec’s Wasp X3V RTF flybarless electric helicopter. It can get you into the 250-size category at a reduced cost.
The X3V is well packaged with shock absorbing materials all around the helicopter and its accessories. I would be surprised to see anything damaged upon delivery because of Skyartec’s packaging. The helicopter, radio, printed instructions, Clearview SE flight simulator disks, and flight battery are included.
The Wasp X3V comes neatly packaged and ready to fly. The custom-formed inner packaging of the box ensures everything will arrive undamaged.
This complete kit even includes a nice Clearview SE flight simulator that has several models programmed into it. The cable to plug the transmitter into your PC is included.
The printed supplemental instruction manual is nice to have as you prepare the Wasp X3V for flight. It details how to turn on the radio and helicopter in the proper order and how to watch the indicator lights on the transmitter that signal ready-for-flight status. The manual is informative and complete.
Park RC Models in Auburn Hills, Michigan, is the product’s US distributor. Owner Max Ettinger has a vision to help pilots by providing a rich product-support environment.
Each model is shipped with a custom report and a 50-point quality checklist. Every model is test flown before it ever gets sent out to the customer! After reading through the manual and the accompanying documentation from Park RC Models, I gave them a telephone call to see how the company would respond to an end-user inquiry.
I left a message for someone to call me back in order to discuss questions about the heli. Within 30 minutes I received a return phone call from Max. Wow, that is pretty impressive and it gives the customer an instant warm, fuzzy feeling about the care provided by Park RC Models.
Max and I had a nice conversation touching upon many of the difficulties modern pilots face as they work their way up the ladder to more sophisticated machines. I am impressed by Max’s approach to sales and especially his desire to include a strong product support system. Helicopters require much assistance as one moves into bigger kits, so it is nice to get help from where you purchased the heli.
The Wasp X3V RTF is truly ready to fly. Charge the flight battery with the included charger, install 8 AA cells into the transmitter, screw in the canopy standoffs, and you are ready to take off.
The entire helicopter is nicely built and well laid out with neat, organized wiring of components. There are a lot of carbon fiber and CNC-aluminum parts.
The speed control is mounted on one side of the lightweight main frames while the three-axis receiver/gyro is mounted to the other. Both are loosely held with tie wraps that isolate vibrations.
It includes a powerful brushless motor with gear drive to the main rotor accompanied by a belt-and-pulley system for the tail rotor drive. This little helicopter is built with some quality details seldom included in lesser kits. Ball link fitment is one of those small details that make one helicopter fly great while another identical helicopter flies poorly. Helicopters rely on good ball links for precise control. The Wasp links are tight with no slop, yet they move smoothly for excellent, precise control inputs.
The Wasp is a completely redesigned helicopter. It has a strong, lightweight frame set with neatly preinstalled wiring.
The tail rotor is precise and well machined. The carbon tail rotor pushrod is positioned directly under the tailboom allowing perfectly symmetrical geometry for the linkage.
This photo of the right side shows the advanced two-in-one three-axis flybarless gyro control system. The receiver and gyros are housed within the component so weight is low and the electronics are ideally tuned to each other.
The tail rotor is another nicely appointed area of the Wasp X3V. It uses a belt drive, which is a plus for newer pilots who may inadvertently touch the tail rotor to the ground. The belt system will take a lot of abuse with no ill effects.
The tail hub, pitch slider, and shaft are well made and smooth in operation. I also noticed the tail rotor servo is set up with a carbon pushrod that runs parallel to the tail boom and is not angled.
This is a small detail, but the straight, parallel pushrod means the control inputs will be precisely symmetrical as they should be. There is also an optional training gear assembly that can be purchased to help beginners reduce tail strikes and tip overs.
The included transmitter is a programmable, seven-channel model with a LCD screen as are the expensive, upscale units. I had the older model without the LCD for my review so that is why the pictures do not show the new radio.
With the older radio, a PC is used to change the programming. Now you can do all the programming right on the front of the transmitter and a flight simulator is even included for this kit! The simulator is a great addition and it comes with an included cable that plugs into the PC’s USB port.
The X3V is a great value when you combine the low $279 street price, the kit’s quality with its many extras, and the ongoing support from Park RC Model.
Now it is time to see what this new 250-size 3-D Wasp will do in the air. The battery was charged and both heli and transmitter were switched on. After a few seconds the heli linked up to the transmitter and I checked the controls for proper movement.
When I was sure everything was functioning correctly, the throttle stick was pushed up and the little heli was locked into a pretty nice hover. Only a couple of clicks were needed on the roll and pitch trim levers to stop any drifting.
The collective response was snappy for the diminutive aircraft. I flew it in forward flight with transitions to sideways and backward orientations while checking the tail responses. When my comfort level increased, I flipped the idle-up switch triggering a faster rotor rpm and a switch to a fully symmetrical 3-D flight pitch setting.
The model’s tail started a slight wagging motion so I landed the heli and the gyro sensitivity decreased slightly. At the same time I adjusted the agility setting to allow more roll.
Back in the air all was good and I again entered idle-up or stunt mode. I flipped the heli over to check for inverted trim changes. Happily it flew nearly identical while inverted so an entire 3-D repertoire was tested.
The in-air qualities of the Wasp X3V are smooth and agile. It has an adjustable agility setting on the receiver. You can make the heli as stable or as radical as you want.
The author is happy with the Wasp’s lively performance. The flybarless control system is the ticket to controllable 3-D aerobatics with mini helicopters.
I have flown many 250-size helicopters and I am pleased to say that the Wasp X3V holds its own with any of the other models on the market. It is going to be a big seller for the Skyartec. The 250 category is the logical next step up for pilots when they graduate from smaller models. Once you master flight with this capable machine you will be ready to take on virtually any heli on the market.
The X3V makes a great, inexpensive platform to venture into some extreme aerobatics. It is amazing how all the latest technology such as solid flybarless control, a powerful brushless motor, and a top-notch mechanical layout are all encompassed within Skyartec’s 250-size machine. When you consider the excellent support and full line of parts availability from Michigan-based www.parkrcmodels.com, it makes good sense to give this heli a try if you are in the market for a 250.
Main rotor diameter: 18.7 inches
Tail rotor diameter: 5.1 inches
Length: 18 inches
Flying weight: 293 grams (battery included)
Power: Skyartec 4500 Kv brushless motor
Battery: Skyartec 7.4-volt 900 mAh Li-Po
Control system: Skyartec 2.4 GHz CCPM multifunctional transmitter and receiver
• Great-flying heli at a bargain price.
• Excellent product support and communication.
• Top-notch packaging with minimal chance for shipping damage.
• US distributor.
• Included flight simulator.
• Flybarless control system.
• Cannot use flight simulator on Mac computers.
• English in the manual from China is difficult to understand. (Park RC Models’ addendum to the manual is easy to read and understand.)
• Transmitter is proprietary and cannot be used with any other helicopters.