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Unbelievable RC

Venom Micro Rescue Helicopter

July 2007
Street Price: $27.99 US
Manufacturer: Venom Group
Mfgr's recommended min. age: 8
Our recommended age range: 10+
Top speed: Not tested
Radio: n/a (infrared)
Includes:
  • Fully assembled helicopter
  • Controller/charger
Requires:
  • 6 AA batteries for the controller/charger

Initial Impressions

Some time ago, a company called Silverlit released the world's smallest remote-controlled helicopter, the PiccoZ. I recently reviewed the Air Hogs version, called the Havoc, and had a lot of fun with it. However, I wasn't too happy with how it looked -- it's a blob of styrofoam with a tail and a rotor on top. Venom seems to have the answer! The Micro Rescue is roughly the same size and uses the same technology as the Havoc, but comes with a realistic and detailed design.

 

Doesn't it look great? There are some very pretty details on the main fuselage, and the landing skids and the struts & supports around the tail give a very believable appearance. If only the rotors weren't so big, this could look real from a distance!

The only thing that worries me is that because the parts are smaller and the plastic bits are thin and flexible, durability might suffer. Let's see.

Preparing to Fly

Just like the Havoc, the Venom Micro Rescue charges from a jack on the controller. I didn't record exactly how long it took to charge, but it seemed like about 15 minutes.

There is nothing to trim on the helicopter, so once you're charged, you're ready to go.

Testing

I tried taking off from both a smooth linoleum kitchen floor and from a carpet, and neither worked too well. When the main rotor accelerates, it puts a force on the rest of the helicopter that makes it spin in the opposite direction. Not until it's actually in the air does the tail rotor work well enough to counteract this force and straighten everything out. As a result, if you try to take off from the ground, the whole thing spins like crazy for awhile.

It's better to launch the Micro Rescue from your hand. Just hold the sides of the landing skids between your thumb and index finger, and hold the controller with your left hand so you can use your left thumb to give it throttle. Watch out for the exposed main gear, though. The skids are soft, so if you squeeze too tightly, you'll end up grabbing the gear. It won't hurt you, but you might hurt it!

I was able to fly for 6 to 8 minutes per charge. Control in the air is pretty good, but the heli is so lightweight that it can actually get pushed around from the wind it , itself, makes! As a result, you have to respond and counter-steer it a lot, but it's a fun challenge. Unlike with the Havoc, I didn't have to be too, too sensitive with the steering control -- the heli responded more forgivingly in the air.

As for durability, after getting the hang of flying, I went ahead and tried crashing a bunch of times. I flew straight up and hit the ceiling several times, crashed front-first and sideways into walls, and let it drop out of the sky to the floor. Nothing broke at all! Of course, this does not mean it can't break, but it's certainly not as fragile as it looks. The thing is, it's so lightweight that it can't crash with too much force, and the plastics it's made of are very soft, so they bend & flex and absorb the force. Very cool.

Video

(Click a video a second time to view it larger in a new window.)

 

Conclusion

I like the Micro Rescue! It's not as stable in flight as the Air Hogs Havoc, but it looks a whole lot better and seems to require a little less skill to fly around. I was surprised by the durability, given the really thin plastic parts, but I do wish that main gear was covered so I didn't have to worry about grabbing it during hand launches. All in all, though, it's a good deal! This one will probably go into my permanent collection.

B

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