Multiplex Funcopter Announced

Multiplex has released a PDF file of their 2009 product lineup. Perhaps the most interesting new model is the Funcopter, a durable, fixed-pitch helicopter with an EPP foam body. This new heli appears to be based on the Lite Machines Corona, which was famous for its resilient design, including hinged main blades that bend instead of break in a crash.

The Funcopter goes beyond the Corona by being designed for a direct-drive, brushless Himax motor. It also features a scale fuselage (approximately 34 inches long) which will appear larger in the sky, helping with orientation. The Funcopter is designed for 3S LiPo batteries in the 2100-3000 mAh range. It has a rotor diameter of 770 mm and an all-up-weight of approximately 1250 grams (44 ounces).

Two configurations with be available: the Assembled Kit (AK), with just the helicopter and motor, and the Ready for Radio (RR), with all of the on-board electronics. No pricing or availability has been announced yet, but a short movie has been posted.

Our take: This is a very interesting new product, and could easily become the standard beginner fixed pitch helicopter. It’s both larger, heavier, and more visible than the current champ, the Esky Honey Bee Fixed Pitch, but being in a larger class, will obviously cost more. Besides being easier to see in the air, which means less chance of losing orientation, the Funcopter should also be more stable. I learned on the Honey Bee, and while it’s quite durable, it’s also the twitchiest heli I’ve flown.

Overall the Funcopter design looks quite good. This is the first single rotor helicopter I recall seeing without a main gear, so I’m curious to know how well the power system performs. In theory it means one less part to break and replace. I’m also curious whether the tail is powered from the main motor or has its own motor. The frame looks simple and should provide some protection for the battery in a crash.

My experience with Multiplex products is that they are extremely well engineered. Just the packaging on my AcroMaster had more thought put into it than models from other companies. This tends to come at a premium price, but in my opinion is worth it. We’ll try to get a review sample of the Funcopter in the coming months to help you learn more about this unique helicopter.

Update (April, 2009): Check out our hands-on coverage of the Funcopter from the 2009 Toledo Show (scroll down to the Multiplex section).

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