Loc: Roanoke Va USA
11-30-02 02:07 PM - Post#11823
When I first received word that JR Radio (Helicopter Division) was about to release an all new 30-size ARF machine, with an incredible price, I immediately contacted Steve Goodreau, Marketing Publicist for Horizon Hobby, to get our name on the list to receive one of the first machines to reach the US. For those of you who know me, I have been a long time advocate of low priced, ARF helicopters. In order for model helicopters to continue to thrive in the RC Industry, we need to entice new people to our hobby. This is best accomplished with products that are easy to put together, and at an affordable price. It appears that JR/Horizon has hit the target - not only is their machine an ARF, it carries a price tag of only $269, which makes it appealing not only to the end user, but to hobby shop owners as well.
When the kit arrived, I found the new Venture 30 packaged in a sturdy box with graphics of the Venture flying, both upright and inverted. As I opened the box and removed the accessories package, I found the Venture 30 sitting on its feet, in a nearly completed phase of construction. I’ll tell you right off, the venture is no refit of an older model. It’s new in design, and engineered for both a beginner or the sport pilot who’s interested in (3D) aerobatics.
If you’re looking for a construction article in this review for the Venture 30, you won’t find it. The machine comes almost fully assembled, right down to the completed pushrods. If you’re looking for metal parts, you’ll find few, the Venture is definitely a composite heli. I’ve seen sideframes, but few compare to the Venture for strength. A lot of thought went into the design. The first thing I noticed was that the servos were recessed into the frame set. As a matter of fact, I think it would be difficult, if not impossible, to actually damage a servo case in the event of a mishap.
The Venture 30 sideframes are joined at the top and rear, making the frame more unitized, offering a more rigid structure than found on other comparable kits. This extra beef, tips the scale at 7 - 7.5 lbs., making the Venture a bit heavier than some other 30-size kits.
The engine, transmission assembly, and drive components are pretty much standard in design. The cylinder head faces rearward, which of course moves the fuel tank forward, under the canopy. Due to the forward mounted fuel tank, I would recommend that you balance the machine with an empty tank, this way, as the fuel is consumed, the balance will always remain forward or centered. I did notice that JR could have relocated the tank another inch or so to the rear, but choose not to.
The engine is mounted on a composite engine mount. There’s really nothing wrong with a composite mount, however, I prefer a metal one to help dissipate some of the crankcase heat. I heard that JR will offer an aluminum mount for the Venture. The Venture does have a nice aluminum clutch bell and steel clutch. The clutch is fitted with a one-way bearing, so as you start the engine, with the optional hex starter adapter, the start shaft remains stationary.
Needless to say, the Venture 30 is CCPM (collective cyclic pitch mixing). This means the normal complicated linkage system found on single servo systems is absent. JR did a nice job designing the placement of the radio system, unlike other CCPM machines, servos are neatly located, and wires are tucked away and protected. There are two cyclic servos that are counter-sunk into the frames, just behind the mast. The third elevator servo is mounted forward. All links are short and direct. I’m happy to say, the tail rotor servo is up in the cabin area instead of on the tail tube, making the appearance of the machine that much better. The forward section of the frame set is designed to house the receiver and battery pack. There is a cavity for the battery, and the receiver mounts to a platform just above. The gyro is situated somewhat closer to the main shaft and therefore is located on a platform some four inches from the main shaft. The radio tray offers some stand-offs, which you can use to hook rubber bands on to secure the radio system.
Moving up to the rotor head, we again find a somewhat conventional rotor system. The swashplate is composite but, there are steel balls for the links. The swash rides on a 10mm main shaft however, the Venture 30 uses a “skinny” flybar. The kit comes with two separate flybar and paddle sets to configure the heli for aerobatic flight. The stock paddles provide a way to securely add lead weight to the paddle’s leading edge to increase stability.
The Venture uses a “floating axle” design. The head dampeners are a bit on the soft side, which attributes for a nice feel in hover. The main blade holders are supported by two standard bearings. There are presently no thrust bearings. However, due to the light-weight of standard 30 blades, it won’t present a problem. Remember not to many years ago, we flew everything without thrust bearings, with no problem at all. If you have to have it - a thrust bearing option could be easily outfitted to the holders at a minimal cost. As I mentioned, the Venture comes standard with an extra (3D) flybar set. The standard supplied paddles have a somewhat vortec tip, which I feel might be more cosmetic than functional. However, the paddles have a nice aerodynamic design.
The mixers all ride on ball bearings. There are dual inputs on the flybar, which is achieved by the use of a “cage assembly” that surrounds the hub, offering unobstructed bar movement. The main rotor head is topped off with a “palm brake”, which is a nice touch.
I noticed that the Venture is now outfitted with rubber mounts on the struts. I’m not totally sure of the reason for this, other than to lessen the shock to the main rotor during a hard landing, and perhaps help prevent a “world famous” boom strike.
On my Venture, I used an OS 32 and a Hatori custom muffler. I had to re-drill the pressure tap to the top of the muffler. For fuel I used, Morgan 30%. This engine fuel combination makes for a nice quiet power plant with plenty of muscle. The Venture comes standard with symmetrical blades, so there is really no need to look for another set of blades for aerobatics. I found the Venture had more than ample cyclic power. As a matter of fact, I really liked the feel of the machine. The Venture is not radical in forward flight. Soft dampening, combined with a little extra weight makes the machine more predictable and a bit more stable in gusty conditions. While the fuel tank is located a tad forward, it resulted in minor trim differences from a full tank to empty.
I generally use a little expo on cyclic however, the Venture really did not need any. I was able to lock the machine in a solid hover at will. Aerobatic wise, the Venture 30 will do most of the big boy aerobatic maneuvers. I really like the big paddles, the machine is a bit slower thru maneuvers but more predictable. The tail rotor had ample speed for 540 stall turns and such.
Regarding autorotations, as any 30 machine, they require a proper approach and angle. If you 30 guys are having problems with autos, I would recommend that you use “idle up” when performing them. What this does is, “pre-spin” the rotor as you make your approach. You should engage your idle-up 5 or so seconds prior to hitting the hold switch. This gives you a little more head speed when you reach the ground for the landing.
For a radio system, we used the JR XP662, a low cost computer system. For sufficient servo movement the Venture comes with some “man-sized” servo wheels. The only problem is they only fit JR servos, so you Futaba guys will need to pick up some oversized wheels. See the included side bar concerning the features and set-up of the XP662 following this review.
A final note, the Venture 30 comes with one of the best written manuals I’ve seen in a while. Each step is carefully and graphically illustrated in an 83 page manual, which leaves little to the imagination. Not only does the manual do a great job of showing the machine, there is also a detailed set-up chart for each of the JR radio sets.
If you’re considering a first machine or just another machine to learn aerobatics, the Venture is worth the bucks. It’s important to not lose focus on the design. I would not recommend that you start buying every metal part you can get your hands on. I would just fly the machine, and if you bang it, put it back together with JR parts and use the machine for what it’s intended for.
If you’re considering a low cost helicopter that flys well, is backed by one of the world’s largest manufacturers, and has a power house like Horizon Hobby at the helm for parts and distribution, then the Venture 30 would be a wise and economical choice.
For Further Information:
Horizon Hobby, Inc.
4105 Fieldstone Rd.
Champaign, IL 61822
toll-free (877) 504-0233
Story by, Mike Mas
A full review of this model appears in the July/Aug 02 issue of Rotory Modeler