E-Flite Blade CX3 RC Helicopter Review

The E-Flite Blade CX3 is the rc helicopter that I learned to fly on. That was about 1-1/2 years ago now. It was also after many failed attempts, and considerable damage and replacement parts to another rc heli. When the Blade CX3 was introduced, it almost sounded to good to be true. The marketing materials and reviews said it was a heli that anyone could fly. You could get it into a hover the first time. If you get into trouble, just release the controls and it will go into a stable hover. After many crashes into walls and furniture with my previous heli, the CX3 sounded like the ideal heli for me. I’ve now moved on to a couple of other helis, but the CX3 will remain a fond memory for making my RC heli learning experience very favorable. Read on to get my full review.

Why is this a Great Beginner RC Helicopter?

For me, the CX3 took all of the frustration out of learning to fly an RC helicopter. Previous attempts with another rc heli had me almost ready to give up. Lesson learned, don’t buy a cheap RC heli to learn how to fly. It will just lead to frustration, and you will spend more money on replacement parts after numerous crashes. The CX3 proved to me that it can be fun and easy to learn how to fly an RC helicopter. After 1-1/2 years, I have yet to replace a single broken part from a crash.

The CX3 is a coaxial, counter-rotating head design. This means there are two pairs of blades, each spinning in the opposite direction. Each pair of blades counteracts the torque produced by the other pair of blades. A coaxial heli doesn’t need a tail rotor to counteract rotational torque produced by the main rotor blades. This makes it a lot more stable to fly compared to non-coaxial helis. The CX3 also has a very good heading hold gyro that helps to keep the heli in a stable hover. This is another major benefit when you are learning to fly. You are not constantly trying to compensate for natural, but unwanted, movements of the heli due to the basic physics of helicopter design.

Will you quickly outgrow the CX3? That depends on your expectations. Even now, I still like to fly it around the house. If you live in a climate where snow and rain keep you indoors a lot, it is a fun heli for even experienced pilots to fly around the house when you can’t get outside.

Overview and Key Features

The Blade CX3 MD 520N is consider to be a micro heli. This means it is primarily designed to fly around the house, or other indoor areas. Flying outside, even with a minimal wind, can cause some stability problems for this little guy.

The CX3 comes in both a Ready-to-Fly (RTF) and Bind-N-Fly (BNF) version. The RTF version comes with everything you need for your first flight, including a Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 radio. If you already own a Spektrum 2.4GHz DSM2 radio, or think that you will continue with the hobby and want to buy a more expensive radio, the BNF version allows you to use it (i.e., bind) with your own radio.

The main rotor diameter is 13.6 in (345mm), with the overall length of the helicopter at 16.4 in (415mm). It weighs only 8.0 oz (227 g) with the battery. It uses a 2S 7.4V 800mAh Li-Po battery pack, with charge protection circuitry. Battery pack and charger are provided with both RTF and BNF versions.

The CX3 has an advanced 3-in-1 control unit including main motor electronic speed controls (ESC), mixer and heading lock gyro. The sub-micro servos provide full cyclic forward, backward and side-to-side movement.

In Flight

The CX3 lived up to its marketing. I had no difficulty getting it to fly out of the box. After some minor trimming, it held a hover very well. I even experimented with the ability to let go of the controls and have it go into a hover. It works reasonably well, not that you would want to leave it flying uncontrolled for too long. There will always be some minor rotation and drift, even if just from its own air turbulence bouncing back from walls and furniture. I’ve even crashed it a few times into walls and furniture. So far no damage. The lightness of the design, and quality of the components, seems to respond well to mishaps, assuming that you quickly turn off the throttle.

I also tried to fly it outside, against manufacturer recommendations. I had to make a quick and abrupt landing as the wind got the rotors out of shape. Although some people do fly the CX3 outdoors, be careful, it doesn’t fly well in wind.

Check out the videos on this page to see how stable and maneuverable the CX3 is to fly.

Is the CX3 Heli for You?

If you are considering getting into the hobby of RC helicopters, or are an experienced pilot looking for something to fly indoors during the winter, the CX3 is a good choice. I now own two other E-Flite Blade models based on my positive experience with the CX3. All three have lived up to my expectations, and have made RC helicopter flying a fun hobby.

If you are interested in flying this little heli yourself, here is an Amazon link to the Blade CX3 MD 520N RTF Micro Helicopter . You can find the Bind-N-Fly version here: Blade CX3 MD 520N BNF Micro Helicopter .

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Comments

  1. Margaret Tabor says:

    At the top of this section I notice there is a headline “Old Boys Toys”
    I am a 55 year old woman who just bought a Blade MCX helicopter.
    I realize most interested in these things are men, but there are some women such as myself who enjoy this type of thing.
    I’m still trying to figure out how to get Waleda (Cherokee for hummingbird) how to act like a hummingbird, but I guess that just takes practice and tiime,
    I also recently bought a model sailboat. The batteries operate only the sail controls; there’s no emergency engine that are on a lot of “real” sailboats.
    My brother had a 21 ft Hunter years ago. I sailed a few times on it, and came to realize why you need to watch for the boom!
    Happy Flying!
    Peg Tabor

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