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Holy Huge Helicopter Batman

Posted 05-01-2009 at 07:45 AM by jrohland
Updated 05-01-2009 at 07:47 AM by jrohland (categorize)

I have a Minicopter Maxi Joker 3 on the way from Deutschland by way of Great Britain. For those not familiar with the Maxi Joker, it is one of two widely marketed 800 size electric model helicopters.

The other model is the very fine Bergen Tazer.

It was a tough call for me to choose between these two great machines. It came down to two things:

1) I have flown CCPM helis through my entire career. The Joker is CCPM the Tazer is not. I know there are great arugments for not using CCPM. Never-the-less, CCPM is what I am used to.

2) I have gone totally flybarless. Minicopter has a flybarless version of the Joker as a product in their catalog. Not so with Bergen at this time.

Not many pilots are into big electrics because of the battery cost. I think that is a bit of a specious argument because my studies show the cost per minute of flight is very close between electric and nitro models. That is not true with gassers. They are very inexpensive to fly. I have not studied the per minute cost of turbine flight.

I think the cost per minute of fuel powered models will continue to rise and electrics costs will eventually decline.

The BIG downside to electrics is the charge time of the batteries. There is some good news on that front. We are starting to see LiPo packs with approved 5C charge rates. And A123s can be charged about as fast as you can dump power into them. Right now, high current chargers don't appear to exist. You can use high current DC power supplies but they are expensive. Also, supplying enough power to these high current charge stations is a problem at many fields.

Us advocates of big electric models need to be prepared to spend laviously on batteries and charge systems and live with short flight times. What we get in return is less noise and airomatic stench plus, massive power and speed. Power and speed are fun.

jrohland, RWMAA
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