Art-Tech Falcon 400 Beginner Review

Review by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor

Equipment Used:

Equipment used the first three months:

Out-of-the box RTF configuration plus 5 grams of lead glued to the battery.

 

Euipment used now:

Motor: EMax HL 2010/06 Heli with a ten tooth pinion

ESC: HobbyWing Flyfun 30 A

Receiver: Orange DSM2 six channel

Transmitter: Spektrum DX6i

Swash plate servos: Three EMax ES 08MA.

 

Tail servo: E-Flite EFLRDS75H

Gyro: E-Tech G105.

Balancing weights: 30 grams of lead in the nose, 5 grams on the battery.

Pros:

- Very stable and very easy to fly, for a single rotor

- Very good mechanical design

Cons:

- The gyro is attached with way too little protection against vibrations

 

- After three months of very frequent flying I got problems with gyros and ESCs dying on me. I made a total makeover to get rid of that problem

Summary:

With respect to flying characteristics, this helicopter is a very good choice as your first single rotor. I was very happy with it for the first three months. Then I got problems with the electronics. Now after a total makeover I’m very happy with it again.

 

Unpacking and setting up:

This is an RTF helicopter. Everything you need is in the box, including a pretty good charger.

There is one thing I think you should do though. The gyro is attached to the helicopter’s chassis with a piece of double sided adhesive tape with a very thin layer of foam. If you want your gyro to have a long life you should put it on a much thicker piece of foam. Look at the picture.

After the first flight I also glued a five gram lead weight to the battery to get the CG a little further forward. Not mandatory, but I think it was an improvement.

 

Flying:

Art-Tech claim that this helicopter is as easy as a coaxial to fly. That’s not entirely true. I think it’s a good idea to master a four channel coaxial before you move on to the Falcon Beginner. However, for a single rotor it’s stable and very easy to fly. It’s a lot faster than a coaxial and can easily handle some wind. I flew it in the RTF setup every weekend and on a few weekdays too for three months and was very happy with it.

 

Total makeover:

After three months I ran into problems. A number of gyros and ESCs died in rapid succession, and I couldn’t figure out what the problem was. Finally I decided to replace everything, and after some experimenting I came up with the ”Equipment used” that I’ve listed. I’ve flown the helicopter in that configuration for quite some time now, and everything works very well. One thing I’ve had to do is to change the plastic parts of the ball links to the swash plate. They lasted about a year and a half.

 

I still don’t know what caused my problems, but I have a guess. The gyros probably broke from vibrations because they were attached too firmly to the chassis. That the ESCs died may have been caused by an intermittent short circuit in one of the swash plate servos, but I have no real evidence of that. With any luck you will not get the same problems that I had, if you just put some more foam under the gyro.

 

Note that there’s a V2 out now that seems to have the same very good mechanical design and improved electronics.