IKARUS PICOLO R/C HELICOPTER The kit comes in a lightweight plastic box which has a carrying handle and can be used to transport the completed model.
The kit comprises plastic and carbon components, and various small parts in numbered polythene bags. An excellent set of instructions is provided in English and German.
A nice touch is the inclusion of a tiny tube of CA adhesive, wet and dry paper and a set of small screwdrivers.
The box doubles as a carry case. Note handle.
The box can be used to carry the completed model
Depending on your bundle, a Piccoboard , servos and nicad may be supplied with the kit. If not, these items are available separately. The Piccoboard is essential unless you really know what you're doing and are prepared to shop around for separate components.
Training landing gear is also available, consisting of five ping pong balls threaded on 2mm carbon rods. I found these very useful when learning to fly.
Two electric motors for main and tail rotors.
Two feather servos for cyclic control.
Piccobard integrated module (gyro, twin speed controllers, mixer and BEC)
7-cell 250mAH NiCd.
The Piccolo's head is based on Dieter Schluter's simplified Hiller head used in his early R/C helicopters way back in the 70's (the full-size Hiller head was patented for full size choppers in the early 50's).
Hiller/Schluter Head Hiller/Shluter head.
Note there are two sets of whirly things - the main rotor to which the blades are attached, and a one-piece flybar with adjustable paddles at each end. The flybar rotates in a plane which tends to follow that of the swashplate - any deviation causes a restorative force to be generated by differential lift on the paddles.
The main rotor is influenced by the flybar, i.e. not controlled directly by the servos. This results in good stability and relatively low loads on the servos.
Rotor blades are fixed pitch, this makes aerodynamic balancing less critical than with collective pitch as well as simplifying the mechanics.
Piccoboard and Rx
The Piccoboard is an amazing device containing the throttle / tail-rotor mixer, BEC, two speed controllers, and piezo gyro all in one small package.
The Piccoboard. Pots are for tail gyro sensitivity and throttle-to-tail-rotor mix.
The Piccoboard is usually supplied with a 4-function Rx on a second PC board. The two boards come stuck together with double sided tape and wrapped in heatshrink to form a complete unit.
The receiver is a 4-channel unit. Two of the receiver outputs go directly to the speed control inputs of the Piccoboard via short flying leads. The other two outputs are connected to the the pitch and roll servos.
Receiver board showing Hitec/JR connectors. Xtal fits socket bottom left.
Components are made mainly of glass filled plastic, with some carbon components e.g. tail boom and main skid supports. An excellent set of instructions is provided.
Rotor head detail. Note twin ball bearings for paddle tilt.
There are 10 separate parts here.
Assembly is straight forward aided by the excellent fit of all parts. A few points:
Make sure you free up the the ball links as described in the instructions. This makes the main rotor assembly more crash resistant as well as providing better control response.
The attractive canopy is made from very thin - but surprisingly strong - material. Take care not to ruin it with too much cyano. Run glue from the inside and use masking tape on the outside to prevent glue from seeping out. The canopy is fiddly to put on and restricts access to the battery. I leave it off except for ceremonial occasions (like visits from the Queen).
The instructions recommend running the motor off-load. After one hour on a single charge, the motor was still buzzing away. Importers J. Perkins confirmed that one hour is easily sufficient.
Whatever gear you use, ATV and servo reversing are essential, and exponential is also useful. No mixing is required. Thus a mid-spec non-computer radio can be used.