Here is my Blade 400 which I actually didn’t buy fully. My boss said ‘lets go get this $400 helicopter, you learn to fly it and teach me. We will both own it this way”. Well I did learn but it was rather expensive. This was my first collective-pitch helicopter and really the one that got me going ‘on track’ with what is quality and what I had been playing around with. It was what I really learned on how to hover. It is not flawless but you do get a Spektrum Dx6i with it which makes this a real bargain in a fully equipped 450-sized helicopter. When I got this the big selling point ( and still is) is that you get a really good radio with it.
This is a compromise on the part of Horizon Hobby to create a full collective pitch 450-sized helicopter fully Ready-To-Fly for under $500. The main compromise is the servos. The cyclic servos need to be chunked just as soon as you get it. The plastic gears just can’t hold up under the strain of even casual ‘sport flying’ very well. They do sell gear sets for these servos, however, once you have replaced them a couple of times you will have wished you had just bit the bullet and replaced the cyclic servos. I used the JR 285 MG (mg is for ‘metal gears’) digital servos. They are a little pricey at about $47 each but OMG do they shore up and tighten up the controls on this bird. You’ll need 3 for all three cyclic motions so you will be out about $150 If you go that route. There are some cheaper analog servo’s out there but the positioning and response isn’t nearly as good. If you go with either Hitec, Futaba or JR servo’s you should be fine but get the metal gear versions otherwise you will be replacing gears/servos more often than you want to.
Ok that was the major drawback of this heli. The gyro is OK but not the best but it does an adequate job for sport flying and learning basic flight with a collective pitch. Being 450 sized it handles wind up to about 11mph reasonably well without sending a beginner into panic mode too much. Speaking of beginners, I was a rank beginner when I got my hands on this and crashed a lot! If you are a newbie and you are learning on this like I was you will need to stock up on feathering shafts (which bend at the slightest provocation) main shafts and main gears w/ one-way bearings. Semi-minor crashes will evoke the need to replace all 3 of these. The Blade 400 can be a bit of a parts pig when you are learning. You will be out at least $15-20/crash. The best part about it is the FULLY programmable radio. If you are new you can add exponential to the cyclic curves and really soften up the handling around center stick. I used 30% and it helped a lot. Some people go as high as 40% when starting out because their thumbs are shaky due to lack of experience. This heli is very twitchy with less expo and can be quite a handful for a novice.
The Blade 400 can sing through the air once you have tamed it (and replaced the cyclic servos, have I mentioned that?). I would replace the stock wooden blades with carbon fiber ones before I started getting too adventurous on trying 3D with this one. My boss has the original and I went and bought a replacement BNF that I did some other upgrades on. A word of advice, be careful when buying on e-bay used helicopters and ask lots of questions!. My current fleet has a hopped up blade 400 with CNC head, a Futaba 401 gyro, JR 287MG servos and a JR290 tail servo. This makes this heli fly smooth as glass. I took it to the school near me and was flipping it and rolling it all over the place, no issues. This is a good one to get if for no other reason you get a great radio that you can use for 9 other helicopters. I like the Blade even though it doesn’t get taken out all that much because of the others I have.
The Blade 400 bible is here. This will tell you all you need to know on how to fix your blade 400. Plus loads of other info on CCPM helicopters and lots that I have left out here.
On Helifreak.com you can get the Blade 400 for Dummies section with all kinds of tips and tricks!
If you decide to get a Blade 400 of these you can order 3rd party from Amazon (RTF).