If you’re flying beginners’ coax helicopters like Lama v4 you probably have heard about those undestructable Airy Harden Blades. Unfortunately all information about the blades in the internet is limited to a very impressive video and a review from a guy who seemed to be somewhat interested in positive test result. I have no interest in that so here is my quick review.
I have no doubt that Harden Blades (I was using both v1 and v2) are much tougher then the original blades made by Lama. Lama blades do not survive more then one severe crash or just a few light crashes. Good news is that your helicopter will keep flying even if more then 50% of the blade area is absent. But still if you’re flying indoors and have little or no experience those pieces of plastic that start flying around every time your heli blades touch anything are no fun. Also after just a few flights (that is typically for beginners equals to the number of crashes) you need to change the blades – not much fun at all. Harden blades worked pretty well for me and survived almost all indoor crashes I had. So if everything is so great why would anyone need to use the original blades? Ok, here is the price you’re paying for the tough blades:
- “Slghtely heavier” in the commercial is in fact a bit lighter! Pair of harden blades weighs about 6.1g and pair of original blades is 6.5g which is a big difference. Unfortunately this difference isn’t helping much: my lama v4 can fly with a camera and landing gear attached when the original blades are installed and can’t take off when Harden Blades are used. The maneuverability and flight time are also reduced when you use these blades. It looks like Harden blades have a bit different form, less effective then the original blades do in terms of thrust.
- “Thicker plastic” means what it means – it’s thick. It doesn’t fit the grips. Especially performance aluminum ones. So you need either widen the grips or file the blades. I did a combination of both, but still they don’t fit well.
- Harden Blades cause more vibration then the original blades. The blades I’ve got are all of different profile. I bought two sets of Harden Blade I and one set of Harden Blade II and all three sets had this problem. So if you turn on the heli and look at the blades from aside you will see that the blades are running at different height. If you stack the blades on each other you will see the difference in profile.
- I specifically mentioned above that the blades didn’t crash _indoors_. When I brought the heli outside I achieved success in just 5 minutes or so: 3 out of 4 blades got shattered. I believe the problem was the temperature. It was about 42F outside, much colder then indoors and the blades became way more fragile. On the commercial you can see how the blades heroically withstand hit against the wall. Well, they won’t if it is, I’d say, colder then 45F. Alaskans beware!
Overall I still like and recommend Airy Harden Blade (and Harden Blade II). It is a nice product that can potentially save lots of time and money for beginners. Just don’t think they are a silver bullet. You have to pay the price for it’s features and know it’s limitations.