The E-flite Blade 400 3D is a high-specification RTF electric mini-helicopter with a with a composite frame, CCPM rotor head and a belt-driven tail rotor stabilized by a heading hold gyro. The model, designed by E-flite in the United States, built at its factory in China and distributed by parent company Horizon Hobby of Champaign, Illinois USA, is intended for use by intermediate to advanced pilots. Although labelled as a "400," it uses the same size (325mm) main blades and has the same total rotor diameter and approximately the same AUW as another model distributed by Horizon, the Align T-Rex 450. Unlike that model which makes extensive use of machined aluminum parts, most parts on the Blade 400 are molded of a rugged composite.
A noteworthy feature of the Blade 400 is the inclusion of a Spektrum DX6i 2.4GHz DSM2 six-channel computer radio with a AR6100e "Microlite" receiver. Advantages of such a system include the aforementioned 2.4GHz operation, full programmability for both rotary- and fixed-wing models and a ten-model memory. In particular, the two flight modes and adjustable five-point pitch and throttle curves make this a fully featured helicopter/airplane radio, unlike the transmitter bundled with most RTF models. The transmitter even includes a countdown timer to avoid the possibility of a crash due to a discharged battery; it is factory set for 4:30 for the Blade 400 3D. This value is for aggressive, full-throttle flying; fast forward flight and hovering gives times closer to six minutes, but caution should be exercised to avoid overdischarge of the battery.
Separate manuals for the airframe, radio and gyro are included as is a 1.8A DC-powered battery charger with built-in automatic cooling fan and a series of color-coded LED charging status lights. The fan switches on when a battery's balancing lead is plugged in and switches off after the battery is charged or an error detected. A 100-240VAC/12VDC 3A power supply (part number EFLC4030) is available as an option for those wishing to operate the enclosed charger on house current. The main connections on the supplied battery and ESC are the "EC3" type common across Horizon Hobby's product lines, but can be swapped to the modeler's choice of connectors if desired. Prewired male EC3 connectors are available from E-flite should one wish to build an adapter in lieu of removing the factory male connector.
A "plug-n-play" or "PNP" version without the transmitter or receiver is available for those wishing to use an existing helicopter-compatible transmitter. An almost ready-to-fly airframe is available as well for those wishing to add their own electronics.
Buyers of the ready-to-fly model should be aware of a recall of the Spektrum DX6i transmitter; this recall affects other models with the same radio as well as stand-alone radio systems. A link to information regarding the recall may be found in the "other resources" section below.
The various onboard components are suitable for intermediate pilots either experienced with or are interested in learning fast forward flight and basic aerobatics; more serious 3D operation and stable overall operation can be realized with upgraded servos and gyro. According to online bulletin boards and a review in Model Aviation magazine, the servos are alleged to be something of a weak point because of their tendency to strip in extreme manuevers and minor crashes. The gyro is suitable for all but the most extreme maneuvers, but an upgrade should be considered if extreme manuevers are planned. Factory upgrades include carbon fiber main and tail rotor blades, carbon fiber tailfins, flame-painted canopy and fins and a plain white canopy which can be customized with the modeler's choice of paint and trim.
Updated factory recommendations for improving the the response of various transmitter settings including updated exponential curves are available via the model's official website linked below.
The 325mm main blades are a common size and a number of companies offer upgrade blades for helicopters in this class. In general, carbon blades are thinner and stiffer, offering crisper response and less drag at higher head speeds.
- Type: Ready-to-fly electric mini-helicopter
- Main rotor diameter: 28.2 in (718mm)
- Tail rotor diameter: 5.3 in (135mm)
- Rotor blade length: 12.8 in (325mm)
- Height: 9.0 in (230mm)
- Length: 25.6 in (650mm)
- AUW: 23.5 oz (665g) with supplied battery
- Motor: E-flite 420H brushless outrunner, 3800kV
- ESC: E-flite helicopter-specific 25-amp brushless
- Battery: E-flite 3S 11.1V 1800mAh 20C lithium polymer with "EC3" connector
- Transmitter: Spektrum DX6i 2.4GHz DSM2 six-channel computer
- Receiver: Spektrum AR6100e six-channel "Microlite" helicopter/park flyer
- Servos: E-flite DS75 digital sub-micro (4)
- Gyro: E-flite G110 micro heading lock
- Catalog numbers: EFLH1400 (RTF); EFLH1401 (ARF); EFLH1475 (PNP)
- Suggested selling prices (USD): $469.99 (RTF); $169.99 (ARF); $279.99 (PNP)