The Kit

I know a lot of people are interested in the kit hornet so I will give a run down of what you find in the box

I ordered the kit from Midland Helicopters in the UK and after a few hassles getting them to ship the kit,it took just over a week to arrive on my door step.

The Packaging

I was not home when the parcel arrived so I got Nolene, my fiancé to open it up and have look to see that every thing was present and not broken. When I arrived home I was a little disappointed to see how badly everything was packed. The box is about twice the size that it needed to be and used a slip-on full color sleeve around it. Although all the components were separated into bags what worried me the most was that the motor and battery were left free to roam the box.

Considering the kit came all the way form the UK I am surprised that either the motor or battery did not dent or break anything on the way over.

Everything else was clearly labeled and it only took me a few minutes to check that everything was present

The Rotors

The two rotors are glass fiber molded blades. The Quality of them is out of this world. I have fair amount of molding experience and these blades put even my best work to shame. I can now understand why MS Composites heli blades are so popular.

From having a good look at their construction I can see that they use a � ounce cloth at 45 degrees and use a epoxy paint gell coat that is sprayed into the mold before the glass is laid down. Holding them up to the light you will see a balsa or spuce spar running along the center of lift for the whole length of the blade.

Near the tip there seams to be a weight that is obviously used to correct the center of gravity and reduce the coning angel of the blades in flight.

The leading and trailing edges are dead straight and the trailing edge comes to a sharp point. The Leading edge is a bit too sharp but I suspect that is because the molding flash has not been sanded off correctly.

I am in two minds at this stage of whether it should be smoothened of with a bit of sandpaper

Since this will be my first Helicopter, these blades are going to take a lot of abuse from me. I am a little worried that they will be destroyed on the first crash. We will just have to see how well they survive ME!

The Plastic Bits

In amongst all the bags there are many molded plastic bits. They seam to me made out of a plastic that has a high carbon or graphite content. Some of the parts show signs of shrinkage due to insufficient plastic being injected into the molds but in general they are well formed and more than strong enough for their application.

Almost all of the parts still have the molding flash on them so a bit of time is needed to remove them. One possible gripe I have is that on the swash plate balls, the mold line goes directly through the center of them and it will require some careful work to get the perfectly smooth and round.

Also due to shrinkage, the rotor head and tail rotor gearbox frame need their sidewalls straightened. MS recommends placing spaces (stack of coins will do the trick) between the walls and boiling them to relive the stress and therefor straighten the walls. Some people claim that it makes the plastic less brittle so you should boil them even it they are straight. They should be boiled for 30 min and left for 12 hours to cool

Overall the parts are light and strong enough but some work will be required to get them ready for use.

The Carbon Bits

There is not many carbon components and all of them are rods or tubes. The biggest piece is the Tail boom witch is made up form carbon cloth. The boom is light and well made. The tolerance on the ID has to be exact since it holds the tail drive shaft bearings

The Main Shaft, Tail drive shaft and Undercarriage legs are made from extruded carbon shafts and cut to the exact lengths. When playing around with the main shaft I found that it would not fit into its bearings unless it is sanded down slightly. In my case I will be replacing the shaft with a stainless steel shaft from Walt so I will probably keep the carbon one as a spare.

The Metal Bits and Bearings

There are 30 or so screws, bolts, washers and pins. All of them are stored in their own little bags so you done have to worry about losing them when you are building (Re-sealable bags too!!). The Screws and bolts seam to be quite good quality and sizes appropriately for their application.

The flybar is a steel rod that is in the same packet as the Tail Boom.

The Bearings are constructed just like any other bearing except that they tiny (Don�t want to lose these on the floor). There is almost no friction when spinning them but they do have some side play. I can see regular cleaning and oiling is going to be required to keep them smooth

There is bout 10 or so bearing used throughout the Hornet.

The Electronics

Since this is my first Heli, first micro and first electric I required all the necessary radio and electric gear to get the Hornet flying.

MS and the Model shops have realized that this is the case for most people and so offer complete packages containing everything one would need.

You can get different levels of completeness and normally they will customize the package to what you need.

With my kit I got the following

  1. Webra 6ch Nano 40MHz receiver
  2. 3 SuperTec Pico servos
  3. MS 180 Gyro
  4. MS Speed Controller
  5. MS Peak detection Charger
  6. MS Nimh 700 mA/H battery pack

The Kit normally comes with a 4ch receiver but Midland was unable to obtain a 40Mhz version and this is what caused the delay in the shipping of the kit.

Trevor form Midland very kindly offered me the 6ch instead, which I gladly accepted. At some stage in the future I will probably convert the Hornet to collective pitch and I am going to need the extra channels

The Webra receiver is heavier than the MS one so I will remove its plastic case and heat shrink it to reduce the weight. Every gram counts on the Hornet!!!

You have to see the servos to realize just how small they are. Take a NZ 20 cent coin and imagine a servo siting within the circumference of that coin, Small Huh?

I am battling to resist the urge to open one up and see how they get them so small

The MS 180 Gyro was originally developed for 30 size helicopters and is cut down in both size and weight.

A lot of people say that this gyro is not suitable for the Hornet and even more claim that it works fine. I believe it is just a question of finding the right position for it and setting the correct gain. There is a similar gyro called the GWS-po3 that was specifically designed for micros and maybe a better choice

The speed controller is another master piece, About the size of a small postage stamp, this little thing can handle up to 5 amps peak and is driven by a micro-controller with some very intelligent software inside (I am a software engineer so I always take notice of these things). Both its small size and weight suit the Hornet and I cant think of any problems that one would have with it

The MS Charger is also tiny (The speed controller must have rubbed off on the Designers) and is dead simple to use. It has peak detection and can charge Nicads and Nimh with capacities from 50mA/h to 1500 mA/h and handle up to 8 cells.

My only dislike is that the supply is 13.8 DC and requires the you either charge form your car battery or purchase a good 13.8 power supply. I am still deciding how I would like to solve this one.

The battery pack is branded with MS name on it but I am sure that they get them made up by someone else. The cells are spot welded together and encased in the thin black heat shrink tube. The pack also has a plug that connects directly into the speed controller. I can�t comment too much on it until I give it a try.

 

Well that is what you get for your NZ$950 dollars. For me it was quite an investment but I believe it was money spent on good quality components that give me hours of enjoyment.