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Flytech BladeStar RC Helicopter Announced by WowWee

Popular toy manufacturer WowWee has announced the Flytech Bladestar, a totally new type of rc helicopter which should become available this Feburary.

Flytech Bladestar RC Helicopter

The BladeStar rc helicopter uses a single main blade along with small propellers mounted on the ends of two arms or ‘booms’. Sensors incorporated into the Flytech BladeStar allow it to fly autonomously and avoid bumping into walls or objects. In addion to this ‘auto pilot’ mode, it can also be controlled using its 3 channel digital IR remote to control (with beginner and expert level settings).

See a video of the BladeStar on YouTube.

The BladeStar rc helicopter recharges from the remote control and reports indicate that it will fly for 5 to 15 minutes and take about 20 minutes to charge. An optional combat feature which will allow you to shoot other BladeStar rc helicopters out of the air (or get shot out of the air yourself) had been mentioned. The Flytech BladeStar rc helicopter is suitable for indoor flight only, and is constructed from durable crash-resistant materials. Additional information is available on the official web site.

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Posted in Latest RC Helicopter News

Interactive Toy Concepts Announces The World’s Smallest RC Helicopter

Interactive Toy Concepts has announced a remote controlled toy it is billing as the world’s smallest helicopter. It is a smaller version of their Micro Mosquito helicopter, called the Mosquito Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV). The Mosquito MAV is an indoor RC helicopter measuring only 2.5 inches tall, 4 inches long, with a rotor diameter of 3.5 inches.

The Mosquito MAV features dual counter-rotating rotors geared to a single motor, with a vertical tail rotor for yaw control (steering), much like the Interactive Toy Concepts Black Ghost, but smaller. It has a twenty foot range, and is powered by an internal lithium polymer battery that lasts for 7 minutes. Recharging is said to only take five minutes, which would make it one of the fastest charge times on any rc helicopter. This Mosquito MAV helicopter will be available this year at most major retail and electronic stores for $49.99.

The Mosquito MAV combines the style of the Micro Mosquito with the design and precise flight control of the Black Ghost, all in the smallest helicopter design so far.Mosquito MAV helicopter

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Draganflyer RC Helicopters in VECPAV Autonomous Control System At Vanderbilt University, NV, USA

Using the Draganflyer electric remote control helicopter (manufactured by Draganfly Innovations Inc) Vanderbilt University has developed the Vanderbilt Embedded Computing Platform for Autonomous Vehicles (VECPAV). This system is able to control an aerial or ground vehicle autonomously (without a pilot).

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (PRWEB) November 20, 2007 — Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN has successfully used the Draganflyer electric rc helicopter for autonomous vehicle research, involving flight by computer control without human input. The project is called VECPAV (Vanderbilt Embedded Computing Platform for Autonomous Vehicles). VECPAV is intended to create and develop autonomous control systems for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. These control systems eliminate the need for an operator by substituting intelligent control software and electronics. This research is part of a larger project aimed at improving the design of hybrid systems which use embedded electronics and software to control mechanical devices used in performance-critical and safety-critical applications.

Prof. T. John Koo, VECPAV Project, Draganflyer

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN has successfully used the Draganflyer electric rc helicopter for autonomous vehicle research, involving flight by computer control without human input. The project is called VECPAV (Vanderbilt Embedded Computing Platform for Autonomous Vehicles). VECPAV is intended to create and develop autonomous control systems for unmanned aerial and ground vehicles. These control systems eliminate the need for an operator by substituting intelligent control software and electronics. This research is part of a larger project aimed at improving the design of hybrid systems which use embedded electronics and software to control mechanical devices used in performance-critical and safety-critical applications.

Prof. T. John Koo, VECPAV Project, Draganflyer

Having autonomous control over a vehicle creates many benefits and removes the need for continuous human input. This could be applied to full size vehicles, allowing cars to drive themselves, or allowing automated vehicles to perform tasks in hazardous conditions. This would eliminate the risks normally faced by an on-board operator. By removing the operator and related systems from the vehicle, it also allows for increased payloads, smaller sizes, and increased mobility.

VECPAV Project Configuration

The VECPAV system uses a sensor tracker to monitor the motion and position of a Draganflyer rc helicopter by using identifier points on the helicopter. The system then analyzes this data and sends commands back to the Draganflyer rc helicopter through a radio control transmitter, telling the Draganflyer rc helicopter to maintain position or move through its flight plan. Videos of Draganflyer helicopters flying autonomously can be found on the VECPAV homepage, and This YouTube Video. In addition to being successfully used to control Draganflyer electric rc helicopters, the VECPAV system has also been implemented on ground based scale model vehicles.


As a result of his efforts on the VECPAV project, team leader Prof. T. John Koo has been recognized with an NSF (National Science Foundation) CAREER Award: Computation Platform for the Design of Hybrid Systems. This award is considered a highly prestigious honor. Prof. T. John Koo is now at Shantou University, China, where he plans to build on and extend what he has achieved at Vanderbilt.

The Draganflyer radio control rc helicopter has also been used in similar projects such as the MIT Aerospace Controls Laboratory’s UAV SWARM Health Management Project and the Stanford Testbed of Autonomous Rotorcraft for Multi-Agent Control. The Draganflyer rc helicopter is well suited for these applications because it is a stable aerial platform with fewer moving parts than a standard rc helicopter. The Quad-Rotor Draganflyer rc helicopter manoeuvres by varying the thrust generated from each of its four rotors. With one rotor at each corner, differential thrust causes the airframe to rotate and change direction. This eliminates the need for the linkages and components used on conventional rc helicopters that vary the pitch of the main rotor blades in order to manoeuvre. With fewer moving parts, there are fewer things to wear out, and less maintenance required. Because it is an electric rc helicopter, the Draganflyer is safe to use indoors. Its small size allows it to be used in smaller areas than conventional rc helicopters. The Draganflyer rc helicopter is manufactured and sold by Draganfly Innovations.

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Posted in Electric RC Helicopters - Coaxial Helis, Latest RC Helicopter News, Quad-Rotor RC Helicopter Design, RC Helicopter Unmanned Drones and UAVs

Hiroki Ito Wins Japanese F3C Championship using Thunder Power RC Batteries

Hiroki Ito is one of four Japanese team members to place in the top 10 of the Japanese F3C Competition on October 20-21, 2007 while using Thunder Power RC batteries.

Hiroki Ito - Japanese F3C Champion

Competition Winners:

  • 1st – Ito (EP Thunder Power RC)
  • 2nd – Sensui
  • 3rd – Dobashi
  • 4th – Hashimoto
  • 5th – Sawamura
  • 6th – Kobayashi (EP Thunder Power RC)
  • 7th – Kunii (EP Thunder Power RC)
  • 8th – Iso
  • 9th – Nonogaki
  • 10th – Hutatugi (EP Thunder Power RC)

Thunder Power RC Japanese F3C Team

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Posted in Latest RC Helicopter News

New Books and DVDs for Model RC Helicopter Enthusiasts Released by Traplet Publications

Traplet Publications, has published three new books on rc helicopters and one new rc helicopter DVD.

Three new model rc helicopter books:
R/C Model Helicopters: A Guide for Beginners by Malcolm Messiter (covers electric power as well as internal combustion engines and includes tips and advice on buying, building, flying and maintaining model helicopters – everything the beginner needs to know, from choosing or building the model to installing the components of the radio)
Building Scale Helicopters by Peter Wales (who won the Top Gun Trophy for helicopters in 2001 and went on to win the US Nationals for RC Helicopters for the following three years)
3D Helicopter Flying by Russ Deakin (covers the many skills that are needed in order to take part in 3D helicopter flying)

New rc helicopter DVD:
Small Rotors DVD by Nigel Cartwright (an introduction to the wide range of model helicopters available from low-cost beginner’s models to powerful advanced helicopters, capable of full 3D aerobatics)

About Traplet Publications
Traplet Publications (traplet.com) is based in Malvern, Worcestershire, UK. Traplet publishes a range of magazine titles including Model Helicopter World, R/C Model World, Quiet & Electric Flight International, RC Jet International, Military in Scale, Truck Model World, Radio Race Car International, Marine Modelling International, as well as a wide range of books, DVDs and plans. Traplet also publishes a range of sewing and craft magazines, books and DVDs.

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Interactive Toy Concepts Introduces the Bladerunner Black Ghost Infrared RC Helicopter

Bladerunner Black Ghost Micro Infrared RC Helicopter

The Bladerunner Black Ghost is the latest invention from Interactive Toy Concepts Ltd. The Black Ghost is a mini co-axial infra-red indoor rc helicopter that is extremely lightweight, simple to fly and great for flying indoors in your home. No previous RC helicopter experience is required to fly the Bladerunner Black Ghost. The Bladerunner Black Ghost RC Helicopters will be available early next month, and should be a popular item this Christmas.

The Bladerunner Black Ghost can fly up, down, turn left, right all while moving forward at a constant rate. The coaxial, contra-rotating rotor blades make the Black Ghost extremely stable and easy to fly. The tail rotor controls left and right rotation.

Bladerunner Black Ghost Micro Infrared RC Helicopter

Like the popular Havoc Heli the Bladerunner Black Ghost IR Helicopter features a micro infrared receiver that allows the Bladerunner Black Ghost to be extremely lightweight; only 16g (0.6 oz). The Black Ghost’s infrared remote control gives the it a range of up to 10m (30ft). The controller also doubles as the charger. The Black Ghost is available on 2 infrared bands so 2 can be flown at once.

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Posted in Electric RC Helicopters - Coaxial Helis, Electric RC Helicopters - IR Indoor Micro Helis, Latest RC Helicopter News

New Heli-Q Infrared Mini Helicopter Announced by Tomy

Billed as the worlds smalled remote control helicopter, the new Heli-Q is scheduled to hit stores in Japan next month. Manufactured by Tomy (know as Takara-Tomy in Japan), this helicopter will compete for market share with the popular infrared helicopters including the Silverlit Picco-Z helicopter (Air Hogs Havoc Heli in North America).

Tomy Heli-Q

Tomy Digi-Q CarIn March 2006 Tomy merged with Takara, the manufacturer of other popular IR (Infra-Red) remote control toys such as the Digi-Q 1/128th scale RC car. Based on the quality and amazing miniaturization shown by the Digi-Q, the Heli-Q should live up to the high expectations of miniature helicopter enthusiasts.

The Heli-Q will fly for 5 minutes on a 20 minute charge. A rechargeable Lithium Polymer battery built into the helicopter will allow it to be charged over and over again. The Heli-Q is incredibly light and designed for indoor use, however it will stay steady and fly well because of the stabilizer bar built into the top of the main rotor. Biased for forward flight, the pilot will have control over altitude and direction. The transparent front dome gives the Heli-Q indoor infrared RC helicopter a realistic look, and the tiny size will allow it to be used even in small rooms.

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Posted in Electric RC Helicopters - IR Indoor Micro Helis, Latest RC Helicopter News

Obtaining a Still Image Using a Wireless Video Cameras

Wireless video cameras mounted on rc helicopters can provide some amazing video footage. But what if you need a still image?

Still cameras will yield the highest resolution images, but if you already have a video camera here is what you can do:

    1. capture the video in a digital format
    2. open up the video in an editor
    3. move the slider so you are displaying the frame you want
    4. copy the frame
    5. paste into a photo editing program
    6. save the image in the format of you choice

    An example of an RC helicopter using aerial video camera is the Draganflyer SAVS.

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      Posted in RC Helicopter Camera Systems

      Introduction to Using Lithium Polymer (Li Poly) Batteries in Your RC Helicopter

      Thunder Power Lithium Polymer BatteriesLithium Polymer batteries are currently considered the best electric power source available for use in electric rc helicopter kits. The reason for this is that lithium battery packs are significantly lighter than NiMH or NiCD packs, and have higher capacity for the same size. Over the last five years they have worked their way into the hobby market, and in addition to being used in electric rc helicopter kits they are also common in rc boats, cars, and airplanes. Their low weight and high capacity make them ideal for long flight times, while also providing more power.

      Understanding Lithium Polymer Battery Specifications:

      Lithium Batteries are also know as LiPo, Li-Po, LiPoly, and Li-Poly. What do all the lithium battery specifications mean? The values that are the most important are:

      • Pack voltage (depends on cell count; each cell is 3.7 V)
      • Capacity (mAh)
      • “C” rating (describes the rate at which power can be drawn from the battery)

      Lipo Battery Cell Voltage

      The nominal voltage of each cell in the pack is 3.7V, but this can go down to 3.3V during discharge, and up to 4.2V when fully charged. A battery pack is composed of two or more cells put together in series for increased voltage, or in parallel for increased capacity. A 2 pack with 2 cells in series would be rated at 7.4V (2x 3.7V).

      The battery pack configuration is denoted by the number of cells in series and the number of cells in parallel. A 3s2p pack would have three cells in series, and 2 cells in parallel, using a total of 6 (3×2) cells. A 4000mAh 3s2p pack would have a capacity of 4000mAh (2 x 2000mAh), and a voltage of 11.1V (3 x 3.7V). It would internally consist of six 3.7V 2000mAh lithium polymer cells. The cells would be doubled up (the 2p part of 3s2p) to get 4000mAh, and there would be three in series (the 3s part of 3s2p) to get 11.1V (3 x 3.7V).

      The “C” Rating

      The “C” rating describes how quickly a battery can be discharged. A 2000mAh LiPo battery with a “C” rating of 1C continuous would mean it should not be discharged any faster than 2000mA or 2A, which would take one hour. A 2000mAh pack rated for 12C continuous would be able to discharge at 12 times its capacity (12 x 2000mA = 24000mA or 24A) at which rate it would discharge in 1/12th of an hour. Using a pack with a higher C rating than you require will leave some room for safety, and extend the life of your battery.

      Continuous Current:
      If you know how much continuous current will be drawn and the capacity of the pack you want to use, you can easily determine what C rating you require. If you are drawing 5A from a 1320mAh pack, simply take the current and divide by the capacity: 5A = 5000mA, 5000mA / 1320mAh = 3.8C.

      Burst Current:
      LiPo batteries are also given a C rating in terms of burst, which is how quickly the battery is able to discharge for a short time. A burst rating of 20C would mean a 2000mAh battery could supply 20 x 2000mA = 40000mA or 40A for a few seconds.

      Selecting the Best LiPo Battery for Your RC Helicopter

      Thunder Power eXtreme 450To select a battery for your rc helicopter, you first need to know what voltage you require and how much current you will be drawing continuously.

      • If the motor in your rc helicopter is rated to work with 11.1V, you would need a 3 cell battery.
      • If you need to draw 20A, and you would like your rc helicopter to have a 10 minute (1/6th of an hour = 6C) flight, you would need a battery with 20A / 6 = 3.3A = 3300mAh.
      • This means you would need to put a 3s 3300mAh battery with a C rating of 6 or higher in your rc helicopter.
      • Thunder Power RC has a LiPo battery for almost any electric RC helicopter.

      Always Remember These LiPo Safety Instructions

      • Remove the battery pack from your rc helicopter before charging.
      • Only use chargers designed to work properly with lithium polymer batteries.
      • Always place your LiPo on a fire-proof surface while charging or use a LipoSack.
      • Never leave your battery unattended while it is charging.
      • Never charge a lithium battery if it is below 3.0V per cell.
      • Never charge a lithium battery that is puffed up, or damaged in any way.

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      Posted in Lithium Polymer Batteries for RC Helicopters

      Measuring the Efficiency and Power of your Electric RC Helicopter Power System

      RC Helicopter Electric Power SystemTo get the most out of the electric power system in your electric rc helicopter, you will need to know if any of the components are under-powered, or over-powered and just adding weight. This article discusses what you can measure, and how you can measure it. This article is fairly advanced. We recommend reading What Does An Electric Power System For An RC Helicopter Consist Of first.

      Each component of your power system is good at something. Are you taking advantage of each of them? A 25A speed controller in a small coaxial helicopter with a motor drawing 5A is not being used properly. By measuring your electric power system you can discover mismatched equipment and correct it. In this example, a 10 amp or 7 amp ESC would save weight.

      Measuring the Electric Current in Your RC Helicopter

      The measurements you are interested in describe the flow of electric current (using unit of Amps, A), the electric potential (using unit of Volts, V), and power (using units of Watts, W). These can be measured with a wattmeter. A wattmeter can be inserted between your battery and speed controller and it will tell you the voltage, current, and power drawn from your battery. Measurements should be taken when your helicopter is at full throttle. For RC hobby use, there are small wattmeters that can be installed in you aircraft, and can log measured data over the entire flight. These are called flight data loggers, and in addition to current and voltage, they can measure rpm, temperature, and more with the addition of the appropriate sensors.

      Measuring Current And Voltage in Your RC Helicopter

      The current reading should be within the limits of the speed controller, battery, and motor. The voltage indicates how your batteries are performing. Usually you can confirm your battery is adequate by noting that current is below the battery’s rated max current (For Thunder Power batteries, this would be the continuous rating, not the burst rating). This rating generally says ‘this battery model is approved for this use,’ whereas voltage says ‘this battery is performing as expected’ or ‘this battery can’t handle this.’ As a rough guide, your lithium polymer battery voltage at full throttle should be above 3.3V per cell (i.e. a 3s lipo should be above 9.9V).

      Measuring Temperature in Your RC Helicopter

      The temperature gauge is used to tell you the temperature of your motor and batteries. For both, the key temperature is 60°C (140°F). Both should be under that temperature. Above this temperature, lithium polymer batteries are permanently damaged, while motors lose efficiency and become dangerously close to demagnetizing and burning the windings. However, being too cold isn’t ideal, either. Cold is a sign that the motor isn’t being properly used (i.e. it’s too big), and cold batteries don’t put out as much power as 50-60°C batteries.

      Tips

      • Put together a power system that is slightly conservative
      • Test and measure that system, and then adjust based on those measurements
      • Currents will be near every component’s limit, and temperatures after a flight will be ideal
      • At that point, every component will be played to its strength.
      • Have fun flying!

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      Posted in RC Helicopter Flight Data Recording and Monitoring

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