Back in 2014 I bought a Blade 130 X as a step up from my Nano CPX as I wanted to try something a little bigger. After a few months of use I thought I would note some of my experiences with this heli.

I was very excited to get this heli - it was a step up from the little nanos, cpx and qx that I had been using so far. I went through all the usual stuff as soon as it arrived, top up batteries, read the manual, program the transmitter. As soon as I had bound the receiver I wanted to check that all was working. Everything looked ok - the swashplate was level, I had checked zero pitch and all was ok. I fired up the transmitter, put it in hold and connected the battery. The board make all the correct squeaks and whistles, so I put on the canopy and started to check the controls; all was well and everything moved as it should. Looking good. I came out of hold and slowly increased the throttle. To my surprise the helicopter immediately fell over.

Now, I had always thought that with all the controls at center the heli should take off smoothly with a little leftward movement due to the push of the tail rotor. I must have done something wrong so I checked the C of G and the pitch again. I checked the controls, I checked the servos. Everything was as it should be so I tried again. This time I brought up the throttle very carefully but again the heli fell over. After several tries I noticed that as soon as I applied throttle the rotor disc tilted swiftly to the left even though the stick was at centre. Not good.

After some research around the net I found that this was a known problem and that Blade's fix was to get the heli airborne in as short a time as possible and sort out the controls in the air. The alternative was to input some sub-trim to compensate prior to flight. In the end I had to set around 25 units of right aileron and 11 of down elevator to achieve a reasonably safe take off. Blade was correct in one respect, however; the heli responded normally to control inputs in the air. In fact it was very agile and responsive.

All in all the 130 X has been a great trainer. It is, of course, very light so it cannot stand a lot of wind but that is always a problem with small helis.

After a short while I noticed that the tail was less and less stable, eventually leading to a crash. Nothing terrible, but I noticed that all the tail gears had stripped. They were probably worn before this, but I hadn't noticed. Anyway, I ordered a set of metal gears to eliminate the problem and it did, but now the tail vibrated horribly. This, it turned out, was due to the gears on the main shaft binding. Once this was resolved the tail was steadier, but continued to hunt and wag - I tried changing the gains but this had no appreciable effect on the tail.

Whilst the 130 X was flying ok, there were a number of small niggles, like the tail wag, vibrations in general and a slight unpredicable instability.

I turned to the web and bought lots of metal bits to stiffen up the frame and extend the tail. These upgrades were probably unnecessary, but I wanted to see if I could make any improvements.

I bought the frame and main shaft with a new main gear from Rakon, a new extended tail boom, tailcase, rotor assembly and servo from Lynx and a new set of Blade landing gear as the original gear kept tearing out of the frame at the slightest impact. Upon reflection I should have also bought a new main rotor head as the plastic has worn on the original and the screw tends to come out at inconvenient moments. Surprisingly, all that happens is that the rotor slows down and the heli lands more or less under control.

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