KYOSHO CALIBER 30 / JULY-AUG 02 ROTORY
Caliber 30 comes almost completely built. I estimate that a beginner could take the box home and in less than 6-8 hours, they could be at the flying field, ready for their first taste of rotory wing. The Caliber 30 is designed for both the beginner and advanced pilot as well. The helicopter can be configured in two ways. In the beginner set-up, the main rotor blade holders are controlled from the trailing edge, with reduced mixing, making the machine extremely stable. For aerobatics (3D), you just assemble it with the control rods on the leading edge and the machine is capable of aerobatics with no modifications what-so-ever.
For those of you with standard radio sets, youâll be happy to know the Caliber can be set-up with either EMS/electrical mixing system or MMS/mechanical mixing system. With the mechanical mixing, âsingle servo systemâ?, the servos are mounted on a movable plate which rides on four ball bearings to achieve cyclic control. If you choose the CCPM version, as we did, you use a fixed servo plate in which three servos provide cyclic/collective control. The swashplate on the Caliber is ingenious, it has inputs for both mechanical or CCPM. The cyclic bell cranks also have two positions on the frame to accommodate either control system as well. Bottom line is, the Caliber 30 will work with most any radio system.
The drive train on the Caliber 30 is somewhat like its 60 size big brother. It is uniquely belt driven for smooth and quiet operation. There is absolutely no vibration transferred from the engine to the drive train. The Caliber 30 uses a total of two belts; one for the engine to transmission, and the other from the transmission to the tail rotor.
The engine mounting is also unique in that the engine is mounted in an all metal cast engine support, which slides into the frame set. This serves to strengthen the base of the frames yet, provide easy removal of the engine by dropping it out the bottom.
Kyosho did make a mistake by using Phillips head screws almost throughout the entire helicopter. While a few screws here and there are fine, they went overboard and even mounted the engine with 3mm Phillips head hardware. Once you blue Locktite the hardware as they suggest, there is almost no way to remove it again. Should you round off one of those screw heads, youâre in trouble. I would highly recommend that you do not use the provided screws, go out and purchase some hex head hardware.
The Caliber comes with a gear ratio of 9.6. A two stage belt drive system offers a driven tail rotor, which means the tail rotor turns all the time, even during an autorotation. I have mixed feelings about this option for the beginner. While Iâm aware that a driven tail rotor system is preferred for the expert, with light weight 550 main rotor blades, you have to have your act together to perform anything other than a âstraight-onâ? autorotation. The extra drag of the tailrotor (especially with a belt drive tail) really taxes the rotor system and thereâs not a whole lot left for any fancy hover, then land autos.
The engine drive on the Caliber is unique as well. Ours was powered by an OS .32 engine. The clutch is supported by what appears to be a 10mm shaft, which screws on to the clutch. I would highly recommend that you use 5 min. epoxy to set the two bearings in the plastic bell housing, since the fit was a bit on the loose side. The fan is mounted with two 3mm hex screws which are situated above the clutch assembly, putting it quite a ways from the cylinder head. So far, I have not had any over heating problems, but itâs still relatively cool, and Iâm using 30% Morgan fuel. The Caliber does come with a cast (baffled) muffler which, for the most part, is pretty quiet. It did weigh-out at a beefy 118 grams. The cast muffler greatly aids in the cooling of the cylinder head.
The main frame set of the Caliber 30 was carefully thought out. First off, the forward section is one of the best Iâve seen. The radio system is really protected by cavities/trays, which are molded into the frames. There are four cavities which house; the servos, battery, receiver, and gyro. Our Futaba GY401 gyro looked lost in the recess. In addition, there is access for you to route your wires from area to area. The frame set also holds a âCGâ? mounted 340cc fuel tank which is securely mounted between the frames and offers good visibility.
The main rotor head of the Caliber comes fully assembled. While it still has a âskinneyâ? flybar, the Caliber 30 does have a 10mm main shaft. Inside the blade holders youâll find two bearings and a thrust bearing. As I mentioned, the Caliber comes with two set-ups. You choose from; a RRS set-up (rear grip system) or a FRS set-up (front grip system). With the RRS system, the Caliber 30 is ideal for training, since itâs considerably more stable. With the FRS set-up, itâs suitable for aerobatics, thanks to a different mounting location of the input rod on the Bell-Hiller lever. The machine comes standard with the aerobatics set-up. For the most part, I would recommend that even a beginner start off with the standard FRS set-up (front grip system). Due to the high main shaft and somewhat soft dampening, the Caliber 30 would provide a good learning platform for a beginner with a little expo or rates on cyclic.
The tail rotor on the Caliber 30 uses a boom mounted tail rotor servo. I would have preferred to see it under the hood to avoid the use of an extension wire. The tail rotor grips are 60 size and the pitch change mechanism works smoothly.
Last, but not least, is the Caliber 30 Canopy. At first, I sort of had my doubts, but the new style definitely grows on you. If nothing else, itâs unique. This, combined with some bullet proof (poly) vertical and horizontal surfaces, make for a tough all around package.
The Caliber 30 is without-a-doubt a giant step for Kyosho in modernizing their helicopter line. Even though the Caliber is using CCPM, for the most part, everything is under the hood (canopy) where it belongs. Whether youâre a beginner, looking for an easy way to get into the air, or a more accomplished pilot into aerobatics, the new Caliber from Great Planes could be a wise choice.
Street Price $419.99 w/OS .32 or $299.99 w/o engine
Story by, Mike Mas
Gear ratio: 9.615 to 1 to 5.0
Main rotor: 1230mm
Tail rotor: 240mm
Engine: 32 to 38 class
Fuel tank capacity: 340cc
For Further Information:
Great Planes Dist.
P.O. Box 9021, Champaign, IL 61826
A full lenth review appears in the July / Aug 02 issue of Rotory Modeler Magazine