Radio-controlled electronic ultra-micro helicopters have certainly come a long way. If you don't mind spending $120 on a toy, you can take a step up from those nearly uncontrollable styrofoam Picoo-Z helicopters, finding yourself in the realm of four-channel maneuverability.
That's what you get with the E-Flite Blade mCX RTF, a $120 kit that includes everything you need to get flying right away. Come with us as we take a pair of them for a reckless spin around the living room.
The kit includes the tiny 7.9-inch copter that weighs a mere ounce, a battery that gives you 7 minutes of ultra-fun flying, a charger where you park the battery for a full charge in a half hour, and a 4-channel transmitter control panel. That lets you smoothly adjust throttle, rotate left and right, go forward or backward, and steer from side-to-side. Because of its feather weight, E-flite recommends flying the mCX indoors.
The helicopter's dual rotors (coaxial, counter-rotating) and internal gyro make it remarkably stable. Once the controls are balanced ("trimmed"), if you let go of all the levers, the helicopter flies in place, dutifully holding its position until you steer it again.
We found it to be exceptionally maneuverable, except it seems to be a whole lot better at turning left than turning right. But that didn't keep us from learning how to fly these babies with pinpont precision. After just a few hours we were able to maneuver them without crashing much, cruising them all over the house, and even landing them in formation.
Admittedly, we were rough on the little suckers, flying them around with reckless abandon. Even so, they're too fragile. They're fairly easy to fix once you break them, and you will crash them. Unless you're already a skilled pilot, you'll probably need spare parts. If you want to get into this, you might want to just buy two of the helicopters, and some extra batteries — as you can see in the video, it's lots of fun to fly them with (and against) each other.
We love these E-Flite Blade mCX helicopters. Even though they can't fly upside down like the most advanced $500 helicopters, they're so maneuverable that with a little practice, you'll find yourself flying them around even the tightest spaces without hitting anything. They're well worth your $120.