Heli model history

The beginning ...
I started this hobby like many, by playing with a 2-channel pico heli that was in a word ... worthless. But as lame as it was it did flip a switch in my brain and now I can honestly say I am addicted to rc helis. 
ESky King2 ( Feb 2008 - Sept 2009, retired )
This was my first actual rc heli. I bought the RTF and it was less than impressed with the quality. Looking back I wonder what I was thinking exactly. The entire kit cost me $180 shipped and that included an extra battery and some spare parts! Anyhow my first attempt to do anything with the heli cost me money. See there was this "3D" switch thing and I had no idea what it was. I did know that I wanted it off but that was about it. So I plugged in the heli, moved all the controls, tried the motor a little and then set the radio down to unplug it. That was about the time I bumped the switch and all hell broke loose! After I got the heli fixed after that little episode, I got a total of 3 packs through it before the esc wigged out and went full throttle. I got to sit back and watch the heli spin those little blades like mad for 10min, all the time hoping it would just stay right where it was!

That moment marked a change of attitude for me. I was no longer interested in doing things as cheaply as possible but just wanted something that worked. So I spent over twice the original cost of the heli in all new electronics and then I got to learn how to setup a heli from the ground up. All these things have made me the pilot I am today, so I have no regrets. Besides I still have the little guy and I even fly it once in a while.

TT Mini Titan
( March 2008 - Sept 2008, sold )
This purchase was an impulse buy really. I was pretty happy with the King2 but so many people online said that the 450s flew so much better. So I bought one. I would have bought a TRex450 but they were just too expensive and there was a pretty decent following for the Mini, so I watched the forum classifieds and found a great deal. I put 99 flights on the Mini and never really liked it. I had a few issues with it that I could not figure out and that always makes them less attractive. In the end I sold it after buying a TRex 450SE and being simply blown away by how well it flew.

Align TRex 450SE ( June 2008 - Sept 2009, retired )
This was the first heli that helped me advance. It was so smooth and solid that it instilled a confidence that was formally unknown to me. Within a week of owning it I did my first back flip. I believe it would have taken months or more with the King2 or Mini before I would have tried that but with the Rex it just seemed like the thing to do. Actually I did a lot of firsts on it including my first stall turn, my first loop, first roll, first backward flight, first inverted hover and I even cut the grass inverted with it! But there was a price to pay for that much stick time and simply put I wore it out. I logged just under 450 flights on it and it was used when I got it! So it has had a long and full life. I say "had" because I have retired it, replaced it actually. For now it will hang on the workbench while I decide what to do with it. Maybe it will become a souvenir to hold onto as time slips by. Something to look back at in a few years and remember the early days. Or maybe it will go to a new pilot somewhere.

MSH Protos ( Sept 2008 - May 2009, sold )
Another impulse buy that I never learned to like. Like most new pilots, there came a time when I was just sure I wanted a bigger heli. I started by looking at the newly released TRex500 but like the 450, they were just too expensive. Then I found the Protos and started looking into that. The Protos is a "thinking outside the box" heli and I appreciated that. It was also much cheaper than the TRex500 but was still very high quality. Finally I started watching the classifieds and almost immediately one showed up for sale, and for a very good price.

My first test flight on the Protos was one of the scariest things I have ever done. It was huge and very powerful. It also wandered all over, was very difficult to control and to add to all of that, I had major gyro issues. Simply put I was out of my league. After much work and many flights I finally got it to the point where I could fly it but I never really enjoyed it. Even when I started to flip and roll it, which was lots of fun to be truthful, it still scared me and was a bear to handle. As such when I got the urge for bigger, the Protos went back on the classifieds. That was possibly a mistake in the long run but at the time it made sense.

Kyosho Concept 30 DX ( Sept 2008 - ..., holding pattern )
Due to some online bickering with a nitro zealot, I was gifted one of the first mainstream rc helis, a Concept 30 DX. What started out as a basic hatred of each other turned into a friendship and he offered to give me a full rtf heli so I could experience a nitro heli. I accepted. I have only flown it a handful of times but not because I don't want to. The fact that it is an antique in the heli world and is in very good shape stops me. One crash may take it out of this world forever because parts are becoming impossible to locate. This is especially true of the foam blades!

TT Raptor 30 v2
( March 2009 - Sept 2009, sold )
Having played with the Concept and feeling the urge for a larger heli I decided to pick up a R30 to play with. I bought a very nice setup sporting the O.S. 37 and mostly digital servos. That was a learning experience for sure and was fun while it lasted. In the beginning I appreciated the size and ease of flying enough to look past all the short comings but after getting the next bird on my list I quickly grew tired of the mess, the vibrating loose parts, the utter lack of power (yeah I know it is a 30) and especially the tuning issues I had. Sometimes it would run like a champ and other times it would die randomly. It did allow me to learn how to auto, so I am grateful for that but electrics just worked better for me. In the end I owned it about 6 months and sold it for pretty much what I paid for it.

Compass Knight 600e ( May 2008 - Dec 2009, sold )
This heli was an attempt to have a big heli that was easier to own and better performing than the Raptor. In some ways it was a successful venture but it was not without issues. First off WOW was this thing a beast! It was big and extremely powerful. I got the 8s version and it was easily capable of holding 2500rpm during full collective climbs! This is where the biggest issue came in, I couldn't slow it down! I was forced to run 60% throttle keep the head speed below 2300rpm and the esc did not like that. This sent me on a long journey to find a solution that included a new esc, different motors and even a smaller pinion (the pinion is fixed). I am now convinced that the best solution is to run 10s or 12s on a properly selected motor, but I never made it there. This is because of the second issue I had with the heli. In the air it was worth somewhere around $1000 and I was well aware of this fact. Simply put I was always afraid of crashing it and having a $300-$400 bill, so I could never relax while flying the bird. I ended up selling it in order to reacquaint myself with a 500 class bird. It was a good learning experience though and it was fun with so much power that it never failed to impress me or anyone else watching.

Align TRex 450 Pro ( Sept 2009 - ..., active )
At long last I now have the replacement for my workhorse heli, the TRex450SE. This was an agonizing decision. I was torn between the Rave and the Pro, both great helis. In the end the cost of parts and simplicity of design won and the Pro took over as my main heli. It is not perfect but it is a great improvement over the SE if for nothing other than it is new. This marks only the second heli I have ever bought new. I got the super combo and even though I had some 'growing pains", I have been very happy with it. I have had to accept that this heli is a high performance machine and only a high performance machine. It greatly resists being tamed down and it took me a while to accept this. I finally uncorked it and since then it has been a lot of fun as well as a good learning platform.

Align TRex 250 ( Dec 2009 - July 2010, sold )
I bought this heli with high hopes. It was to be the perfect travel/gym heli but I only ended up flying it a few times and I never enjoyed it. It was too small to work on and just not fun. I sold the 250 and don't plan to play with anything that small again.

MSH Protos "take 2" ( Dec 2009 - Aug 2011, sold )
Take 2 because I sold my first one to fund the K600e. In some ways I am glad it has gone this way but I do regret it some. After 50 flights on the big bird I made the decision to sell it and go back to a 500. Again I looked at all the options out there and I am just not drawn to any of them except the Protos. The TRex500 is the most popular but it is very expensive and very heavy for its size. I also just don't like the design and layout of the frame. So once again I have gone with a Protos.

I did things right this time and pulled out all the stops. Good servos, solid gyro and great esc. The end result is a fantastic bird that I enjoy a lot.

Align TRex 550e ( July 2010 - ..., active )
Welcome to the replacement to the Knight 600e. After almost a year of having just the 450 and Protos my eye caught the newly released 550e. It is a nice size and sports a simpler design than the other big Align birds. Top that off with what seems like a very reasonable price for the kit with everything, and I was sold.

Like the Protos I pulled out all the stops to make sure this is a great bird, as well as being reliable and easy to live with. See my write-up on it for more info, Thinking outside the 6s box, my 12s TRex 550e.

My first heli, the King2

Neon orange paint rules!

Mini vs. Rex

Glamor shot of the King2

The Rex and Honda, what a nice combo!

Me gloating after winning with the smallest heli!

The Compass 600e

Oh no! A plane! This is my ElectroStik, 
something I almost never fly.

My new 450 Pro and the Protos in front of "M" mountain

The TRex 550e

My charger box, the FBL 550e and my field. 
Yup elevation is 4848ft above sea level.