Blade Nano CP S BNF Review
Review by Gunnar Hovmark, Staff Contributor
Transmitter: Spektrum DX6
A couple of extra batteries.
- Easy to fly in stability mode
- Very agile when you turn stability mode off
- Very light
- Very durable
- Flying in windy conditions is not fun
The caption on the box says ”The pain-free path to 3D aerobatics”, and that’s turning out to be true. I’m not a 3D pilot yet, but this little helicopter has the necessary power and agility, and as long as I fly over tall grass it seems unbreakable.
The Nano CP S is sold in an RTF version, complete with transmitter, and a BNF (bind and fly) version that contains everything except the transmitter. I decided to use the DX6 transmitter I already had and got the BNF version. The helicopter comes in a small box that contains the helicopter, a battery, a USB charger, an extra pair of rotor blades, a manual and a few tools. First you set up the transmitter to work with the helicopter. The manual contains transmitter setup instructions for the Spektrum DX6i, DX7s, DX8, DX6, DX7 (new), DX9 and DX18. I had one problem when I set up my DX6. The manual said I should use switch B as flight mode switch. That didn’t work, don’t ask me why, but switch D worked just fine. By flipping switch D I can then choose between stability mode, agility mode and 3D mode. If you ask me, switch B is instead the best choice to use as ”panic button” on the DX6. Set up switch B so that position 0 gives normal flight and both positions 1 and 2 give panic mode. (More about panic mode below.)
Then you need to bind your transmitter and receiver together. ”Normal” spektrum receivers use a bind plug when you bind it to the transmitter. The Nano doesn’t, which requires a slightly more complicated binding procedure. I failed a number of times before I got it to work, but fortunately you only need to succeed once.
The Nano CP S is equipped with Horizon’s SAFE technology (Sensor Assisted Flight Envelope). It means that on-board electronics and software improve stability and provide automatic safety features. The best thing with that in the case of the Nano CP S is the stability mode. In that mode the flying characteristics are docile, bank angle is limited and the helicopter will go back to level flight if you let go of the stick. The BLADE Nano CP S is still not a helicopter for absolute beginners, but stability mode makes it a very good next step if you have some basic helicopter experience. When you feel confident with flying in stability mode the real fun begins. In agility or 3D mode you have a very agile helicopter that’s a bit more of a challenge to fly, but should be able to do just about any 3D trick with the right pilot. I’ve done a lot of four channel helicopter flying, but I’m still a beginner at 3D. After about forty flights with the Nano CP S at least my loops are beginning to look decent. Racing around at low level and doing steep turns is also great fun. So far about half of my flights have ended with loss of control. In theory the SAFE technology’s panic recovery mode should save me then. By flipping the panic switch I can tell the helicopter to automatically straighten up and fly right. The problem is that I nearly always use the panic switch too late, and then it may even make things worse. My strategy for handling loss of control is instead to fly over grass, about one foot tall, and to flip the hold switch to turn off the motor if I hit the ground. That has worked very well so far, except that I’ve had to search for the helicopter for a minute or two on a couple of occasions when I’ve ended up in unexpected places. With some more practice I guess I could use the panic switch as intended. Flying the Nano CP S requires a bit of space, so it’s not really for flying inside your home. Our local handball court is a pretty good place, but so far I prefer to fly outdoors. The Nano CP S is fast for its size, but it’s still not much fun on a windy day, so choose calm weather at least to begin with. Flight time in agility mode is around four minutes. Charging a fully exhausted battery with the USB charger takes about 30 minutes.
If you want a small, durable, collective pitch heli to practice on before you try on a larger, more expensive heli, then this is way more fun than a sim. If you like micros, but want a collective pitch micro, look no further, you won't have any regrets with the Nano CP S.