FlyTech Bladestar by WowWee - Hands-On Review


9 word summary: It flies, it's fun, and the kids love it.

This is my hands-on review of the Flytech Bladestar, covering how to assemble it, charge it, and get it in the air.

WowWee FlyTech Bladestar: What It Is

Bladestar is a new type of rotary-wing flying toy, with onboard infrared sensors to allow avoidance of ceilings and walls. The Bladestar is designed so the entire unit spins, driven by two opposing high speed props. The lifting blades are hinged, and constructed of a tough plastic that can withstand (the inevitable) bumps and scrapes.

Bladestar receives infrared signals from the hand-held remote control, allowing the pilot to control vertical movement by a sliding throttle adjustment, and to make the Bladestar move forward, backward, left or right relative to the remote by directional push buttons. As with the Flytech Dragonfly, the remote also serves as a recharger, with the cable hidden beneath the right cover. (Click on images for larger version!)

Bladestar is packaged in a re-usable plastic carrying case, and includes 2 spare props and a spare set of plain wings. The cardboard wrapper is printed to indicate whether the Dragon pattern (red) wings or Flame pattern (orange) are inside. A 'dogfighting' accessory is also included, which is basically a plastic shield that limits the spread of your controllers IR signals. More on that later!

Front of Dragon liner Front of flame liner

Preparing Bladestar

On first opening the package, you'll find the body of the Bladestar nestled in a special slot in the case. You need to attach a pair of wings and charge up before flying. Wing attachment is very simple, just make sure that the graphic on the wing is up (or convex side up) and the clip at the base of the wing is fully inserted. I found that a fully charged Bladestar can fly even with only one wing attached, though it is a bit wobbly!

To charge, make sure the Bladestar and remote are both switched off. Twist the right hand black cap on the remote a quarter turn to release the charging cable, and carefully plug into the socket on the side of the Bladestar. Now push the remote switch left, to the charging position. The center LEDs on the remote light up one at a time, in a ladder sequence during charging. Depending on the level of depletion, charging may take 10-15 minutes. When full charge is attained, the top LED stays on steady. Make sure you don't accidentally leave the switch in this position too long- I killed a new set of AA batteries by leaving the remote switched to 'charge' overnight.

Flying Bladestar

Time to fly! Make sure you have a clear area of at least a couple of feet, either on the floor or on a tabletop. We have found a short hardwood stool with a round seat to be very convenient for take offs. Detach the Bladestar from the charging cable and turn it on. The internal LED should flash (red for Dragon pattern, orange for Flame). Turn on the remote and aim it at the Bladestar, and the LED should stay lit (not flashing). You may need to rotate the Bladestar so that the IR detector (rectangular black object on the side of the body) is pointing at the remote.

To begin flying, first ramp the throttle fully up and down again, then slowly increase the throttle to about 1/3rd. Bladestar will spin up and begin to lift off. Slowly increase throttle to gain altitude, and slowly back off to bring Bladestar to a hover. If Bladestar starts flashing, this is to alert you that your aim needs adjusting! If Bladestar doesn't see the remote for 10 seconds, it will timeout and power down, and need to be turned off and on again to resume flying.

It's really easy to make the Bladestar shoot up and hit the ceiling, and once it gets sucked up onto the ceiling, the only way to make it drop is to kill throttle entirely. So take it easy on the throttle is my advice!

According to the instructions, this direct take off is in the 'autonomous mode' where Bladestar will detect and avoid ceilings and walls. It's important to not fly up too quickly, in order to allow the top IR detector to see the ceiling in time. A climb rate of about one foot per second or slower is recommended. The direction keys are still usable in this mode, I've found that my Bladestar will respond appropriately albeit slowly (perhaps gracefully is the best word!). Be prepared for a loss of altitude when using the directional controls, as the control system seems to chop power to one motor for a fraction of each rotation, in order to cause the horizontal motion.

To fly in 'RC' (for Remote Control) mode, turn the remote and the Bladestar on, and press the round center button. Bladestar should respond by revving the motors and spinning slowly. Now ramp the throttle up and down, and then increase throttle again to take off. In RC mode, the obstacle detectors are inactive, so you get to be in full control. I suspect that you might get longer flights in RC mode, since you aren't consuming battery power to run the IR LEDs on the Bladestar, but this remains to be proven.

In case of a crash, you can either let the 10 seconds run out, or cut the throttle and aim the remote at the madly spinning Bladestar. Don't try to pick it up until the motors are off! Check the blade tips for bends, and flatten them out if necessary; and watch for lint getting wrapped around the prop shafts.

Dogfighting

The idea behind dogfighting with a friend is fairly simple - pressing the center 'fire' button issues an IR 'kill' command that interrupts motor power. After 3 'kill' commands are received, the Bladestar will power down. The trick is that you need to stabilize your own Bladestar, then swing the remote to aim at your opponent and press fire. If you stay aimed away from your own Bladestar for too long, it'll die due to the 10 second timeout. Placing the 'dogfight accessory' on your remote limits the spread of the IR control signals, so hopefully your shots will only hit your opponents Bladestar. We haven't had a chance to try the dogfight ourselves, so I hope someone with a friend can try this out.

Summary

The Bladestar is a fun indoor flyer that is challenging to keep in the air. It's simple enough for a 6 year old to fly, though the recommended age is 8+. Just watch out for the props- don't pick it up while the motors are running, or you might get nipped. Have fun and be sure to show us any tips or tricks you may have invented!



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Comments

GWJax's picture

Here are a few tips on how autopilot works, This setup must be preformed to make sure that it works right the first time.
After launing the Bladestar it will hover above the ground for a few seconds, as the ceiling sensors scan the area for obstacles. Do NOT try to control the Bladestar during this time, as you might cause it to become unstable, After this it will begin to fly higher.
Note: the side sensors only scan for obstacles after you have pressed the left or right direction buttons. also note that the Bladestar CAN NOT dectect windows! This information is found on page 7 of your manual.

Also to note in the case there is a compartment for your 6 spair batteries so you'll always have them on hand if you don't froget to bring your case with you.

milw Great Article! I very much enjoyed it as being a Bladestar owner my self!
Jax

Currahee's picture

cant get my bladstar to lift up and hover

milw's picture

There's a couple of things to check, but first, have you had a succesful liftoff at all? Look for fibers or hairs wrapped around the prop shaft- that'll slow the motors down significantly. If the tips of the blades are bent (mine get bent pretty quickly) flatten them out.

If it has never lifted up, is it possible the blades are on upside-down? (I don't think they go in that way but I could be wrong).

Good luck!

Currahee's picture

no i have not had a successful lift off. i will check the bladestar out to see about the prop shaft and blades.......thanks milw

millipede's picture

I bought two of these. One does not appear to take a charge. It will hover at 6 or 8 inches for about a minute then the LED dies and it has to be chaged. Came out of the box like that. I was pretty dissapointed. I wrote the company but have no heard from then yet. The other one seems to be OK though flying is kind of iffy. Not sure if that is because of me or the unit. As I can't get the first one to work properly, we have not ben able to test the Dog Fight mode yet. But I will keep you posted.

jose fernando's picture

one doesn't eat nactibar the autopiloto way I don't understand him a lot

clovis_rog's picture

So what does it mean if the LED is flashing? I got about one or two flights, but now it does not appear to be charging, the LED is flashing and it doesn't have any lift.

GWJax's picture

clovis_rog with these batteries you can not let them drain out completely if you do it will damage the battery inside the BladeStar. When the BladeStar the LED flashes it means that it is looking for the transmitter to come on line, make sure you have fresh batteries in the transmitter.

Jax

Danii yaya's picture

Bladestar : fast , fun and furious... I tried flying it outside & it works!
Try launching it off a car.

Danii yaya's picture

clovis_rog said:
So what does it mean if the LED is flashing? I got about one or two flights, but now it does not appear to be charging, the LED is flashing and it doesn't have any lift.

I'd try giving it a spin to start it off .  clovis_rog                   Undecided

Danii yaya's picture

You know what? My BladeStar lost its ON/OFF switch ( BladeStar itself not remote)     

Yell

Danii yaya's picture

I got my BladeStar for $19.99

Robosapien V10's picture

I want Bladestar, or Lightstar. Lightstar seems to be just a Bladestar with a light stuck on it.

wowweefan's picture

I have one.

Piet's picture

Sofar it sucks. Connecting the bladestar to the remote for charging gives a blinking top led indicating the thing is charged. When trying to start, the 2 motors run for a fraction of a second and it all stops and all is dead. to get the thing alive again I have to repeat every step from charging up but the result is the same. I already changed the batteties but that does not make any difference.

Piet's picture

Sofar it sucks. Connecting the bladestar to the remote for charging gives a blinking top led indicating the thing is charged. When trying to start, the 2 motors run for a fraction of a second and it all stops and all is dead. to get the thing alive again I have to repeat every step from charging up but the result is the same. I already changed the batteties but that does not make any difference.

Ash's picture

Used one time. It looks this brand new bladestar may be old but not used. Internal battery will not charge so bladestar will not go up. Is it possible to replace internal rechargeable battery?

GWJax's picture

Ash said: Used one time. It looks this brand new bladestar may be old but not used. Internal battery will not charge so bladestar will not go up. Is it possible to replace internal rechargeable battery?

Yes you can replace the battery in the BladeStar. When you cut open the 2 halfs of the body just take your time so you do not rip it apart. Use an exacto knife for the cutting. You can buy another battery here these are only around $3.00 UDS

here is a photo of the internals.

Hope this helps,

Jax

Shockwave's picture

Danii yaya said: Bladestar : fast , fun and furious... I tried flying it outside & it works!Try launching it off a car.

i had a bladestar and it worked like a piece of crap

Exit151's picture

For all those complaining about it not working, or that the LED on the bladestar goes solid after about 2-4 seconds and it won't work:

Most likely you've got debris stuck in one of your propeller motors. Get a magnifying glass (or young, sharp eyes) along with tweezers and / or needlenosed pliers (with textured teeth to help grab and pull) and examine the shaft where the propeller meets the motor. It will auto-shutoff (solid red light I believe indicates an error) because it can't get the motor rpm's either equal to each other, or some other internal method that alerts it something isn't right.. Simply look there, remove any debris (dust, string, hair, lint, fur from your beloved pet, whatever!), ensure a good charge, cycle power on both units and resume your enjoyment. That guard does a great job preventing propeller damage (lost tons of micro r/c choppers to broekn tail rotors just like that), but does nothing to prevent debris collection.

In a pinch, and I do NOT recommend this, you could use the pliers to remove the propeller and easier slide the caught up hair and whatnot off, but doing so is putting the tight and firm connection essential to your propeller at risk. You should only remove it when it's damaged and needs replaced. Just be patient, and works the bits of debris off and take your time. :-)