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Walkera 4G3 RC Helicopter Review

January 11th, 2009 · 6 Comments ·

Rating:

Price As Tested: $222 ($181 + $41 shipping)

Flight Log: ~ 25 Flights

Repair / Maintenance Costs: ~ $13

Walkera 4G3

Introduction To The Walkera 4G3

The Walkera 4G3 is classified as a micro class helicopter and is currently the smallest, fully functional 6 channel RC helicopter available.

I got one of these a few weeks ago and even though I’ve only got 25 flights on it – it’s on great little heli. It also lives up to the manufactures claim of a small size helicopter but with the full functions of big one.

Winters up here in Canada are cold and I haven’t had a heli in the air for over a month and was suffering from withdrawal, so I wanted one of these for the simple reason is that’s it’s something that could be flown indoors, even in your house.

Though, if you have a small apartment or a tiny house, there’s not going to be much room for flying indoors though. Despite its small size, it’s a quick little bugger and you’ll need a decent sized open area – at least 10ft by 10ft if you want to do anything more than hover.

And 3D flight indoors is pretty much out of the question unless you’ve got a large open area, high ceilings, are an expert pilot or don’t mind replacing a lot of broken parts.

Walkera 4G3 Indoor 3D Flying


Here’s the specs on this little heli:

  1. Main Rotor Diameter: 302mm
  2. Tail Rotor Diameter: 58mm
  3. Overall Length: 273mm
  4. Total Weight: 68.4g (battery included)
  5. Servos: weight – 3.5g, speed – 0.12sec/60o, torque – 0.2kg/cm

It tiny and uses mini LiPo batteries to match. The 400 MAh single cell 3.7 volt LiPo batteries actually live up to the manufacturers claims and will give you flight times up to 8 minutes in normal mode with easy flying, or 5 minutes of 3D flying in idle up mode.

The only battery problem I have is that the battery keeps falling out and the battery holder will break easily in a hard landing. A little superglue as added reinforcement helps to told it together.

Also, the battery connectors were very tight and difficult to pull apart. Some people were sanding them down a little, but I found that after a few flights they loosened up a bit and fit quite nicely. The people who sanded them ended up having to hold them together with tape, so I wouldn’t recommend doing it.

What’s In The Box?

Walkera 4G3

The Walkera 4G3 comes with a 6 channel 2.4 GHz radio, the pre-assembled 4G3 heli, a battery charger, a 3.7 volt 400 MAh LiPo battery, an adapter cable for a flight simulator, a plastic screw driver, and extra set of main blades as well as the instruction manual,

Everything was packaged well and nothing was broken or not as it should be.

Walkera 4G3

Walkera 4G3

Was it really ready to fly (RTF)? Yes and no.

Yes, it was ready to fly out of the box and would work ok, but no, it wasn’t completely set up and trimmed for flight.

The swash was level and just needed a little trim to the right, though the tail trims and gyro weren’t set up properly and the tail was drifting significantly.

A few tweaks here and there and things were working much better and it flew around quite well.

Even though Walkera claims that it was test flown at the factory and the store I got it from said they test flew it twice, it wasn’t tweaked for flight.

It’s not a big deal and any RTF RC helicopter will never come really ready to fly. I was happy with how it was… you can’t really expect a factory worker in China to spend the time and TLC to get it spot on anyways as it takes a significant amount of time and testing.

Flight Testing

Hovering

Despite its small size, the Walkera 4G3 actually hovers quite well.

It isn’t anywhere near as stable as a larger heli and is a little twitchy, but isn’t that hard to control once you get the hang of it.

It also won’t hover hands off and requires constant micro inputs to keep it stable, but I had no difficult holding it still in the air.

Because of the ground effect caused by the rotor wash, you’ll want to be at least a couple of feet off the ground when hovering as it is sensitive to any disturbances in the air due to its light weight.

If you’re a beginner and don’t have RC helicopter experience, you might find it a little difficult, but for someone who does have previous stick time, they shouldn’t have any issues at all.

This Walkera 4G3 is also great for practicing hovering orientations – if you learn to nose on the Walkera 4G3, anything much larger should be a piece of cake.

Walkera 4G3 First Outdoor Flight


Flight

It’s definitely very light on the sticks and not needing much input to get it to react. When you hit idle up, it was really impressive and while you can’t do hard core 3D, loops, flips, rolls and inverted flight are no problem at all as long as you have the space.

For the size, the servos were quite fast and performed well, though they could use a smidge more torque on the extremes.

Forward flight is nice and it flies good and straight, though it looses a little torque on tight or whip like turns. There is a little slop in the head – but it should be fixed by the aluminum head upgrade that’s just come out.

Because of it’s extremely light weight, it’s very susceptible to wind and can only be flown outside on days where the wind is under 5mph. If it’s blowing harder than that or there are gusts, you should keep it indoors.

The tail motor is driven by a separate brushed motor and doesn’t seem to be able to keep up all the time with the heli. When doing figure eights, it would sometimes lag a little on the turns and because it works by speeding up and slowing down, it overcorrects then need to fix itself.

Also, if you pump full collective, you’d end up doing a piro or two on your way up – it’s just not fast enough to keep up.

You can change the gyro sensitivity, as well as the tail mix and compensation, but I can’t seem to get it to hold in the same way a larger heli would.

They gyro is decent for the size of heli, but doesn’t seem to be quite sensitive enough and as the head speed drops, the tail starts to drift some.

That coupled with a driven tail, means that you need to change your flying style a little and correct for it with the rudder stick some.

Also, the headspeed throughout the flight changes by at least a couple of hundred RPM, so the zippiness will subside a little as you’re flying.

The only other characteristic I didn’t like was its tendency to rebound from stick inputs. For example, you give a left cyclic input, then stop the heli with a right cyclic input and bring it to a hover and it bounces some to the right.

This is obviously because of the proportionally heavy flybar weights, which I’ll probably move in or remove all together for crisper 3D flight.

Walkera 4G3

While I though it flew pretty well and would hover and flip over without too much of a problem, it did take a little bit of getting used to. Though, once you master this tiny thing, you should not have any issue flying anything larger.

Also be sure to order some extra parts with your purchase – you’re going to break things more quickly than you would with a full sized RC helicopter.

Here’s what I’d recommend:

  • 3 – 5 sets of main blades
  • An extra tail blade or two
  • Flybar
  • Linkage set
  • Screw kit
  • Battery holder
  • Extra batteries for more enjoyment :)

If it’s in your budget, get a few of everything minus the electronics and main frame so your down time is limited to almost nothing.

Upgrades

As of this writing, an aluminum metal head upgrade was just released that includes blade grips, mixing arm, rotor housing, linkages and swashplate. The metal design is a lot more precise than the plastic parts and takes away a lot of the slop making the cyclic more sensitive and snappy while only adding 1 gram to the overall weight of the Walkera 4G3

Walkera 4G3

The aluminum head upgrade will run you about an extra $50, so if you’re just flying around your house, it’s not really needed for anything, but if you’re going to do a little 3D with this heli, it would probably be worth upgrading.

There are also supposed to be scale canopy bodies that will be out at some point for the 4G3 if you want to go for the super micro scale look.

There’s also a brushless upgrade that’s rumored to be out soon – this is one I’ll definitely want. With a little more power and the metal head, this heli will buzz around like a humming bird on crack.

Other Things You Might Want To Know

  • The skids are made out of a thin wire which pretty much made flying on carpet impossible as they’d keep getting caught. I guess it depends on the type of caret you have, but for mine it was a no go. Hard wood and tile though are no problem at all. The skids also bend easily so order a second set.
  • Also, the tail blade is prone to picking up hair and winding it around the motor and gears, so if there are any long haired people where you’re flying, you should check it every few flights.
  • The heli needs to be ‘bound’ fast when you turn on the transmitter and plug in the heli battery, in around 5 seconds or so or it won’t bind.
  • The 4G3 handles crashes quite nicely. If you happen to land on carpet or grass, there’s a good chance you can hit without damaging anything and if you do, parts are quite cheap, though really only available by ordering online.
  • The main blades are made out of hard foam and take a beating quite well – you can usually survive a few run ins with the wall and keep on going without swapping them out.
  • It looks like the main blades come balanced as a set – in the 5 or so crashes I had around the house, I busted two blades and when I tired to swap the broken one with one from a new set, the tracking was way off and there was major vibrations. But when you put a matched set on, everything was smooth as glass.
  • I found 12 degrees of pitch (both directions) works best for 3D, so you’ll need to adjust that to get the best performance from the 4G3.
  • When switching from idle up to normal mode, the heli will jump in the air because the blades are at 5 degrees pitch in normal mode at center stick, where it’s 0 degrees in idle up.
  • The instructions don’t mention a lot of details concerning repair or reassembly or the Walkera 4G3, not mention what maintenance to do.

    As for maintenance there’s not really too much do to. Every few flights, you should give the 4G3 a good look over and make sure there are no bent / broken parts or loose screws as well as checking the tail and main rotors for hair. It also wouldn’t hurt to lube the swashplate once in a while.

    If you need to repair something, note the steps you take to disassemble it and follow them in reverse. Taking a few digital pictures helps if you’re relatively new to the hobby.

Walkera 4G3

Overall, for about $200 this little heli is extremely entertaining and also a lot of fun to fly. It might not perform quite the same as a larger 600 sized RC helicopter, but for its size it’s a pretty incredible piece of work and a heli I’d recommend for beginner and expert pilots alike.

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Tags: RC Helicopter Reviews

6 responses so far ↓

  • Vernon // Mar 16, 2009 at 6:55 pm

    Hi.
    I just got the Walkera HM 4-3B Micro Helicopter (2.4G Metal Edition). & It also drifts to the left with some tail yaw.
    I am still learning to fly it, But this whole article helps with all kinds of problems like LiPo batteries. Your Info is valuable.

  • floyd // Mar 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I have one of these 4g3′s and it has been nothing but a nightmare! Burnt up two motors so far and it wont stay airborn some body please help.

  • anndy // Apr 15, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    hi , floyd , do not be so upset , here I want to recommend you a good place , there you can have the best RC helicopter and other RC toys , I get mine there too, it is really wonderful , that is : tradestead
    , believe it will not let you down, have a good luck!

  • MARK // Apr 29, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    Just ordered one with the upgrade and training gear. My local hobby store had nothing but poor things to say about this model…I hope he’s wrong ! :)

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