Heli-Max discontinued the Novus 125FP, and has now released the Novus FP N200 – a bigger fixed pitch helicopter for heli pilots transitioning from coaxial flight. We’ve been curious as to what Heli-Max has been up to so we took one for a spin to see for ourselves. Check out the review…
The Novus FP N200 brings a completely different design than the 125FP series helicopters from Heli-Max. Not that this is a bad thing, but we were quite happy with the 125FP and considered it a benchmark for true micro flight in it’s class. When the N200 showed up, we were extremely curious to see if our expectations would be met or if we’d be looking fondly back at the old 125FP.
Out of the box the N200 is ready to go and upon initial spin-up it ran smooth and glitch free. Entering into a hover (in my living room, mind you) was completely non-eventful and the N200 settled into a beautiful hover very comfortably. Power was about half throttle for lift off and strafing and slow rotation was well under control in a confined space, but this is not the intention of the design so it was time to go outside.
Our test day had winds gusting upwards of 7MPH so we knew it would be an interesting flight for such a tiny platform. Once we got into a hover the N200 dusted off the breeze like a champ. A quick 180o turn and we were tracking downwind with the tail rotor buzzing like a bumble bee fighting the tailwind. As we banked left and entered a downwind turn to a solid crosswind, the N200 brushed that off as well. Curious. So, feeling completely confident, we turning directly into the wind and experienced the first utterance of disagreement from the N200: too much wind, not enough cyclic!
After see-sawing back and forth, tracking left and right angles against the headwind, I was able to get the N200 to creep forward despite the constant onslaught of a strong headwind. The N200 was actually doing pretty well. After flying the pattern a bit, I learned how to manage the wind, when to turn, and what angles worked best for keeping up my forward speed. The challenge with any fixed pitch helicopter is that if you’re at the extent of your cyclic control, the only way to increase authority is to increase throttle. This, however, results in altitude gain and for us that meant stronger winds. With a little finesse, the N200 was working the wind like a pro.
Forward flight is easy and quite fast, especially on calmer days. You will “out-fly the rotor” if you get too aggressive so just keep in mind that you’re flying a FP heli with under-cambered blades and counterweights (instead of paddles) and you’ll do fine. Tail authority was good with very crisp response. Often times you find yourself fighting sluggish response from fixed-pitch tail rotors, but I had good symmetry regardless of rotational direction. I found the tail to be a little wiggly downwind, but never developed a full “wag”, even after quick tail snaps in either direction. The non-adjustable head-lock gyro did a good job of keeping things under control. Reverse flying is manageable, but nothing like a CP or any bird with constant speed variable pitch tail rotors. None the less, it’s easily stable enough for skill progression without running the risk of forming any bad habits.
Overall, I found the N200 to be a comfortable fixed pitch platform with ridiculously generous runtimes. The all-metal head was a good choice and gave the cyclic very crisp and solid response, adding to the confidence you’ll build as a transitioning pilot.