The Picoo Z (also known as Havoc Heli or Honey Bee in some countries) is an indoor model of miniature remote controlled helicopter in polystyrene and plastic marketed by the Chinese firm Silverlit Toys.
Characteristics and performances
Designed by a Belgian , Alexander Van de Rostyne , the Picoo Z is the world’s smallest remote-controlled helicopter ( Guinness Book of Records 2006). Weighing 10 grams , the Picoo Z is 170 mm long and its main rotor has a diameter of 130 mm . It is controlled by a two-channel infrared remote control , allowing independent rotational speed adjustments of the main rotor and the tail rotor. It is designed for flying in enclosed places but also outdoors in calm weather. The Picoo Z is constructed of EPP ( Polypropylene) foamexpanded) and includes a rechargeable LiPo battery and two micro-motors. The helicopter recharges by plugging into its remote control. The charging time is approximately 20 minutes , providing a flight autonomy of about ten minutes. Its area of evolution is limited by the radius of action of the infrared of the order of 10 meters . Ambient light can affect the range of the remote control. The price of the set ready to fly is around 25 € .
The Picoo Z is characterized by a main rotor self-stabilized by a small rotor coupled by two rods that allows the pilot not to worry about the stability of the flight. Thanks to this characteristic, it is enough to give enough power to the main rotor so that the climbing force cancels the weight of the Picoo Z, thus allowing its take-off, which makes the maneuver very simple even for a beginner.
The motor actuating the tail rotor of the Picoo Z allows, by changing its speed of rotation, yaw movements to the right or left, but that is all its maneuverability . Most helicopters and models have a mechanical or electronic interconnection of the main and tail rotors. So when the main rotor speed changes (and thus changes the torque ), the tail rotor follows to compensate. On the Picoo Z, this interconnection is made electronically.
The pilot must act on the remote control to prevent a strong rotation of the helicopter during take-off. As with more powerful machines, an aggressive use of the throttle causes strong rotational movements of the device, which are all the more important as the battery is on or undercharged.
In order to simplify the manufacture of the rotor head, the Picoo Z is not equipped with collective or cyclic controls , which would have allowed the pilot to fly forwards and backwards / left and right at will during a flight horizontally. The rotor uses blades with fixed pitch and does not have a swashplate . The helicopter can not make a transition from hovering to directional flight at the pilot’s discretion.
The helicopter comes with three self-adhesive counterweights that can be attached to its nose to – by overloading the front of the device – to advance it. Some users add a little more weight to the nose, this increases the speed of directional flight but reduces the take-off capacity, increases the battery discharge and the horizontal speed at landing.
Other modifications are also possible to obtain this propulsive effect, including one in particular that has the merit of not creating significant overweight: it is to play on the aerodynamic support created by the rotor blast on the structure of the helicopter. For that a piece of transparent tape (to preserve the aesthetics) can be stuck on the nose of the device, shaped like a horseshoe, creating a kind of cavity in which the trapped air will come to create additional support. This support forces the device to tilt slightly forward, which makes it move forward. The hover is then no longer possible but compensable by two techniques: rotation on the spot (by playing on the command of
The Picoo Z is launched in the summer of 2006 . Because of the public’s enthusiasm, manufacturers and distributors who had not expected such success quickly found out of stock 1 . This immediate popularity that some dealers took the opportunity to sell the Picoo Z five times its base price 2 . There is also a huge wave of copies coming mainly from China that are coming onto the market. In fact, most of the toys sold by SilverLit are manufactured in the parent company in China 1 .
The popularity of Picoo Z has also led to the creation of websites, forums and fan events on the Internet 3 , 4 .
New Picoo Z
Three new Picoo Z 5 are announced for April 2008:
- PicooZ the MX-1, mini Picoo Z of 10 cm existing in two versions, extreme or Supreme ;
- the Picoo Z Atlas, similar in size to the first-generation Picoo Z, but with three lanes;
- the PicooZ TandemZ-1, very original because it has two rotors (inspired by dual rotor helicopters: Tandem or Chinook). He also has three ways.
Notes and references
- ↑ a and b Silverlit Flying Club [ archive ] for flying products
- ↑ Picoo Z at a premium price [ archive ]
- ↑ Mod for Picoo Z Mini Helicopter [ archive ]
- ↑ Picoo Z Toolbox [ archive ]
- ↑ See available images [ archive ]