Saturday, December 18, 2010

Review: Art Applewhite 29mm Helix Monocopter

The 29mm Helix is the latest member of Art's Helix fleet, although I'm sure he's planning to up the ante.  This version provides some very impressive flights! 

I won't go into as much detail as I have is previous reviews.  First, this was a beta version and I know some of the details have been tweaked.  Second, I didn't originally publish a review because of its beta status and have since both forgotten said details.  Finally, I can't even find the instructions! Still, I think you will get all you really need to know from this review.

The kit comes with the following basic parts:
  • Basswood wing components
  • A pre-marked tube/body
  • A 29mm motor tube
  • A 3/8" launch lug
  • A dowel balance beam

You start by cutting the pre-marked holes from the tube. The patterns are polygons so this involves multiple straight cuts. These are best accomplished by inserting the tip of the blade at one vertex with the cutting surface directed along the line. If you carefully insert the blade the rest of the way, the cut will be made.

The wing is assembled from the large piece of basswood and several smaller pieces. The end that mates with the tube is also notched to to fit.

Finally, the parts are all inserted and fillets are applied inside and out. Because the holes are supposed to be snug, I found it helped to insert a motor in the motor mount when it's installed.

Art says to apply a light coat of enamel to protect the kit from moisture. I applies a clear coat and then decorated it with Rustoleum brand paints.

To prop the Helix, I added a tape thrust ring positioned so the motor was centered in the motor mount. As added insurance gainst the motor coming out, I added another tape ring on the front end of the motor. I also rigged up a short 3/8" launch rod (more of a stub) for my pad.

The first flight was at NOVAAR on a G38FJ. This smokey motor was pretty cool. The Helix flew and recovered perfectly.

Find more videos like this on Our Planet

The second flight was at MDRA on a G10 collectible AT motor manufactured circa 1986 or so. Low thrust motors in monocopters and wind don't mix but I was tired of scrubbing the flight. Well, it started up, tilted into the wind, and hit the dirt. D'OH! But wait! It once again takes off and has a nice flight. I wouldn't have chosen this flight profile but everyone agreed that it was WAY COOL. And it was a G10 not a mislabeled F10 or anything. I estimate over a 10 second burn time. One leg of the balance beam broke off but it flew well anyway. Man, I wish someone had captured a good video of this flight!

A bit of surgery and the Helix is once again be flight worthy.