Yes, yes, I know… another helicopter-related post. Sorry, but these things are addictive! This time, we have the WLtoys V911 which is (so I’ve read) a Chinese knock-off of the Align Trex 100X.
Apparently the Trex 100X costs five times more and doesn’t fly as well. My reason for buying this particular helicopter is that it is said to fly pretty well outdoors, even if there’s some wind about – that’s something none of my other models will do.
Like the Silverlit Z-Bruce, this is a single-rotor, 4-channel helicopter, capable of true sideways flight. Unlike the Z-Bruce, the V911 is a 2.4GHz radio controlled model, not an infra-red remote controlled model. Out of the box, the heli had a tendency to drift left and rotate right, meaning that it flew itself in a large clockwise circle. Fortunately, the transmitter – while feeling a little cheap – is actually pretty great, and both issues were resolved by trimming over a few trial flights.
The left shoulder button on the transmitter switches between ‘Mode 1’ and ‘Mode 2’. Here, ‘Mode 2’ makes the heli much more responsive, but doesn’t otherwise alter the controls, so these modes shouldn’t be confused with the usual ‘Mode 1’ and ‘Mode 2’ of helicopter controllers, which switch throttle/cyclic controls between the left and right sticks.
The transmitter also features a nice little LCD screen which displays not only the current trim settings, but also transmitter battery level, Mode setting, how much throttle you’re using, and how much movement you’re applying to the cyclic stick. Admittedly the last two are more of a gimmick than useful information, but it’s a nice touch all the same.
In terms of size, the V911 is slightly larger than the Z-Bruce: just under nine inches long, three-and-a-quarter inches tall, with a rotor span of around seven-and-a-half inches. Apart from the transmitter, it also comes with two spare main rotor blades, a spare tail rotor, two batteries and a charger; the charger can be connected to the transmitter to charge from its batteries (as with most indoor infra-red models), or a USB port via the supplied cable.
In flight, the V911 is fast and responsive. Compared to all of my other models, a much more delicate touch is required on the controls. For the first two or three flights, it was zooming off towards walls, and I was consistently over-compensating on the sticks, which led to loss of control and several crashes. I’ve already slammed it into the ceiling and a couple of walls, but have now got to grips with it a little better. Fortunately, its light weight and springy plastic parts mean that while it feels quite flimsy, it’s actually deceptively tough, and has suffered no damage whatsoever – not even a dent in the rotors.
It’s a fantastic little helicopter, and I can’t wait to try it outdoors. Sadly, unless we have a particularly calm, dry and mild winter, that’s not likely to be until next spring.