My Posts: All Forum Topic
Thought I would share a story about my experience with Roban. This past winter, I had built a 700 size super scale AS350. The mechanics were test flown in a pod and boom form to make sure everything was good and solid. I put 10 flights on it with zero issues. I assembled the mechanics in the fuse and all was well. I took the AS350 down to a funfly down in Panama City Beach, FL back in April. The conditions were windy and heavy gusts at times. This would be the first time the helicopter had been flown in such conditions. Right away, I could tell how hard the tail rotor was working and the blades were making a lot of noise. Still, the helicopter managed to handle it just fine and it was flying well. On the second day of the fun fly, I went for my first flight and again it was very windy and gusty. I decided to gain some altitude and head down the field to try to find some calmer conditions. Upon entering a right turn, the tail swung around 180 degrees, then it swung completely around again and then started an uncontrolled pirouette. I had absolutely no tail control and had to hit throttle hold. Down she came and hit hard on the skids, flipping over and landing on the rotor head. All I could see was parts flying everywhere and the cockpit tumbling off in the distance. I was in complete shock and couldn't believe what just happened.
After gathering all the pieces, I pulled the mechanics out to try to determine what just happened. Emile (CopterDoctor) was there and he quickly found the problem. The tail rotor output shaft has a crown gear on it. The crown gear is a 2 piece assembly and we discovered that the 2 pieces were not welded or soldered together, just pressed together and they spun freely which allowed the tail rotor to no longer maintain authority. I emailed the pictures to Roban and to my surprise, Michael who is the owner replied and he immediately confirmed the crown gear was defective and was never solder or laser welded together properly. He reassured me Roban stands behind their products and he will get this resolved and to have patience. He also stated he has never seen this type of failure before. So 2 days ago, a large brown box was sitting at my door step and to my surprise, I received a replacement AS350 helicopter kit in the exact paint scheme.
While it was disappointing RC Aerodyne didn't offer to replace the helicopter (I did buy it from them) and just wanted to sell me a new kit, it was a relief that Roban stepped up and stood behind their product and did the right thing. Michael if you are reading this, thank you very much for your support and customer service.