Just completed a Superfly and wanted to do a quick post and a few comments for those considering the Superfly. This was a big step up for me since I am essentially still a novice. I really don't have much flying experience, and can just about hover. I have a Quickheli EP10, which still works, but wanted to move up. I live about 1½ hours away from Coopersburg, PA, and so when I had problems with the EP10, I decided to drive over to the shop for parts and advice. My prior experience with Quickheli were all through the phone or e-mail, and I must say they had always been prompt with the replies and sending out parts. Well, the long and short of it was that I walked in to the store for a few parts; which I did buy, and walked out with a much bigger box which cost me a lot more than I expected! There was no high pressure tactics, and in fact Irwin suggested that I change out the motor on my EP 10 to an out-runner, and a new set of batteries, and I would have a better flying machine for about $150.00.
My EP10 experience was an adventure. I had no idea on how much effort it would take, and sat down on a weekend and was immediately overwhelmed. The instructions were very sketchy, the photos and diagrams were inadequate, there were a lot more tools that I needed, etc. To top it all off, there were a lot of missing parts. I would get so far, and then find I did not have the part to complete the next step. I would have to put away all the stuff, and then I would e-mail QH, and get the part, and then have to wait till I had a free few days to start up again. It was a very frustrating build, but throughout, QH was very supportive. The missing parts were promptly sent out, without any extra charges to me, and advise was freely offered. (That does not make up for the poor packaging).
When I got the Superfly, and with my prior experience, I decided to budget a week to build and so decided to do it during my one week vacation. I had now acquired all the tools I needed, was more technically adept, and was more confident of figuring out the instructions. The first step I did was to lay out all the parts, and as you can tell from the photo, all the bags seemed to be intact, and everything seemed to be there, although there was no detailed parts list. I will go into more detail on the build later, but just a few points for those considering this model. The first thing that I did was I printed out the instructions from the provided CD. I did not realize that the instruction manual was out of date, and even the picture of the frame was wrong! I checked their web page; no luck under the Superfly page. I finally found it under "instructions" and then clicking on Superfly. Here is the link: http://www.quickheli.com/instructio...ly_inst_5_6.pdf
and it says it was "Updated:5/09/08".
The build went surprisingly well. The major parts were all there, and once I got the correct instructions, they were more in-line with the parts I had. There is a box of hardware including bolts, nuts, etc. which did not have all the correct sizes, and had a couple of extra things. I spoke with Jon and this is because it is a "generic" fastener box for all their kits, and so there are extra bits, and sometimes some of the fasteners run out. I had extra fasteners so I managed on that front. By the end of the week, I had come towards the end, but I found some more pieces missing. In addition, there were no instructions on how long to cut the boom supports, or the tail push rod. The supplied carbon fiber tube, was not long enough, and rather than have them send out parts, etc. I decided to drive to the store. I was offered the option of sitting there and finishing it but I had run out of time. So I decided to leave it with Jon to finish, and also set up the radio, etc. Had to pay extra for the work, but that is what I would expect.
Went back the next week on Thursday to pick it up again, and Jon and Irwin took it outside powered it up, hovered it and did some adjustments, and set it up to fly for a novice. They offered to let me fly it out in their field, but I did not have the time. I did a quick once over, and drove home. I started it up, and noticed the main gear was missing a tooth! I was very disappointed! It was Thursday evening, I was looking forward to the long weekend (Memorial Day) with a new helicopter, and now I had nothing! Called up Irwin at around 4:30 pm that day, and they said they would get the main gear out to me. I was resigned to sit out the weekend with out a helicopter, but on Saturday I got a new gear from QH in the mail! I did not have time till Sunday evening to change the gear, but then on Monday it rained!! So, finally did not get to fly, but QH really went out of their way to make the experience with the Superfly build a good one.Conclusion on the Superfly:
Prior build experience strongly recommended, although if you live close to Coopersburg, PA, you could get by with minimal prior experience. Technically challenging, but doable with moderate to advanced skills. Instructions need improvement with more detailed directions on the technical aspects. Need to have a good set of tools for fasteners, ball link pliers etc. (This is spelled out on the instructions). Need to know how to use a Dremel, soldering iron, CA glue, etc. Installation of servos, electronics, etc. much easier than EP10 (better thought out design; larger frame make it easier to find places to put stuff).
Package: Quality of parts - good to very good
throughout; especially the frame, motor mount, head, tail, etc. but still problems with some missing parts which is frustrating. The worst parts were the ball link ends. The holes for the metal link seem to be off center, and so the completed links look "bent" although the metal is straight. Everything seems to work, but doesn't quite look right. Maybe I will buy some other brand links in the future and replace everything. The same links on the EP 10 have been working fine for years.
Excellent! I really could not have completed this (or the EP 10) without Irwin & Jon's help. It helped that I could drive to the shop when I needed to (but a 2 way trip is still 3 - 3½ hours for me!). Even if you can't get to the shop, they are prompt with replies to e-mail, with sending out parts, and providing advice. If you live anywhere within a driving radius of Coopersburg PA, I would strongly recommend getting a Quickheli. RC helicopters are the most complex RC machines and so regardless of the manufacturer, you need good one on one support. This may not be available at your LHS if they mainly deal with airplane or trucks.
I am not the right person to comment on this aspect, because I can just about hover. It is a stable machine, with good power, but my radio is not set up to do wild 3D etc. (and I don't have the skills). I don't anticipate doing any 3D in the near future, and if I progress to that level, I will re-post my thoughts on the suitability of the Superfly (don't hold your breath!). This is a big, stable machine, which is a step up for a novice; which is what I need for my stage of flying.
Quickheli is a single location, and they are the only supplier for parts for their machines. You will not be able to drive down to your LHS and get parts such as a specific tail rotor belt, or parts for the head. If you crash on a Friday, you may not be able to get back in the air that weekend. That being said, they are prompt at sending you out parts if you need them.
I would definitely buy another Superfly, or any other model from Quickheli; especially if I lived close by.