ESky Lama V4 Review

ESky Lama V4The helicopter has arrived. Bigger and scarier than I had expected after reading reviews and watching video. Battery is charging, expect a flight report later today.

Review: This thing is completely awesome. I can’t believe what they have packed into it for the incredible price of around US$80. It is twitchy enough to be a challenge, yet stable enough to be buckets of fun. After 3 battery charges (about 30-40 mins total run time) I could hover capably and generally move the thing to an arbitrary location of my choosing.

Four weeks later, and I’m zooming around the room, landing on a 12″ square footstool, and considering how to rig up some sort of hook system for carting cargo around the house.

Rudder turning is somewhat fraught, with the tail slowly rotating one way or the other. It seems to constantly rotate to the left at a rate of maybe one revolution every 30 seconds. Even adjusting the trim settings on the 4-in-1 electronic controller hasn’t corrected it. I think the culprit is slightly different motor performance between the two motors, or some binding in one or other of the rotor shafts. However, after spending some more time with a larger, more powerful helicopter, I’ve come to realise that all helicopters require constant attention on the rudder stick, so having this problem is actually like training for bigger helis.

Performance wise, the Lama V4 is not a rocket ship. It will move forward at a brisk walking pace, and will happily move in any direction you command it. It is definitely sluggish compared to a traditional tail-rotor, non-coaxial helicopter. The reason is that the upper blades have no cyclic control, and so are always working to pull the helicopter back to a static position. This is fantastic for a learning flyer. However, sudden changes of direction are prone to causing ‘blade clash’, where the tilting lower blades come into contact with the static upper blades. I’ve only had this happen once, when hauling hard back on the cyclic while the heli was at close to maximum forward speed. If your idea of fun is flying circuits of your lounge, but not high-speed aerobatics in a gymnasium, then the Lama is perfect.

The Lama will not fly outdoors, except on the most incredibly calm days. Considering the forward speed is so low, it can barely hold position with full forward cyclic in even the lightest breeze.

It’s a fairly robust little machine too. It is too light to damage itself even falling from 10 feet up (ceiling height!), onto carpet. While not recommended, you can get away from most situations by just cutting the throttle. Bear in mind this is not a good thing to learn when you want to go to bigger helis, when cutting the throttle will cost you dearly.

The most vulnerable part on the Lama is its standard blades. I definitely recommend you grab a pair of Xtreme Blades for the Lama when you purchase it. My two sets of basic black blades were chewed up inside of a week, but I’ve had one set of Xtremes on ever since. The only other thing I’ve broken was a single landing skid when coming down hard on concrete. I imagine you could bend or break some of the rotor/head components, but only by hitting something at speed and without cutting the throttle.

Overall, the Lama is a massive step up from a Picco Z. If you’re bored flying your Picco Z in lazy circles, definitely think about a Lama for flying sideways and backwards, and holding excellent hovers above people’s heads so that the downdraft spoils their hairdo.

I’d say if you can drive a RC car without crashing, you can probably fly a Lama. Just go gentle on the throttle, and quick, precise movements on all the other controls. Check out Radd’s School of Rotary Flight for an excellent set of tutorials that will get you more comfortable with the controls. Given the ease of flying the Lama, you can skip pretty fast through Radd’s lessons, but reading them will certainly help you learn.

The Lama even gave me enough confidence to to purchase a full-house CCPM ship. This is a much bigger jump than recommended – I was told to stick with a fixed-pitch heli. However I decided on CCPM for investment reasons, and because I’ve been flying planes for years. I can safely say that a ‘proper’ CCPM heli with a tail rotor is a completely different world to a coaxial like the Lama. The Lama is a good tutorial on how the cyclic control affects the movement of the helicopter, but beyond that, everything is harder: sensitivity, power, rudder control, pitch curves, etc..

I still love my E Sky Lama V4. I find it an absolute joy to fly, and it’s actually really relaxing to come back to it after a day of learning to hover my other heli.

Join the Conversation

21 Comments

  1. Dude, how about a full review of this badboy for the rest of us looking to buy one? Thanks!

  2. Just found your blog and it’s got me interested in these RC helicopters. Did you get the right-hand or left-hand throttle? If I’m right handed, which would be better?

  3. Stuart, glad to hear you’re interested. They are damn fun.

    The left-hand versus right-hand throttle thing is a bit of a religious debate in the RC world 😉 It’s nothing to do with left or right handedness, it’s a throwback to the days of early radio control.

    If you haven’t flown before, I’d go for a left-hand throttle (Mode 2). Most RC users in New Zealand use Mode 1 for historical reasons, but I find Mode 2 more natural, especially for helis. With the throttle and rudder on the left in Mode 2, you have the cyclic (forward-back-left-right) on the right stick, which feels more natural like a “real” helicopter cyclic. I even went as far as converting my Futaba 9C radio back to Mode 2 for my new helicopter. I’m dreading having to re-learn how to fly my planes in Mode 2 🙂

    I’m not sure what lefties would do, but I’ve found when flying helis (as opposed to planes) you’re pretty much having to concentrate on both sticks ALL the time, so handedness probably doesn’t come into it.

  4. Hello,

    I received my Lama today and it will not fly. The LED on the 4 to 1 just blinks red to green. I’m disappointed. Any tips on what may be wrong

  5. Hello,

    I received my Lama today and it will not fly. The LED on the 4 to 1 just blinks red to green. I’m disappointed. Any tips on what may be wrong

  6. Kurt, try to position your throttle stick at ZERO (the bottom position) when you switch on your heli.

    remember to switch on our TX first then the heli.

    if this doesn’t work, centre the trim on the throttle as well.

    additionally, when you switch on your heli (when you connect the battery) don’t move the heli whilst doing so. the gyro cannot take any movements when switching on.

  7. This is my first heli and I love the little bugger. I am a little disappointed with the standard blades though and I will take your advice and get the Xtreme blades. I am also expiriencing the same rudder problems and am looking for a correction though it is still fun to fly.

    Great deal on a great heli from a great wife (gift to me for Xmas from the wife). $105.00 for the ready to fly from xheli.com.

  8. I go it also from my wife and I love it sooo much

    but the problem here is…. the calibration setting is not correct. the channel # 1 is not moving at all..
    i tried many many times but didn’t get it.

    also the program comes with the model is not working with windows vista

    another problem with the left stick not working I don’t know why.

  9. Where can I buy a LLama4 in California. I don’t want to buy online. They rip you off for tax and shipping and handling. I just want to walk in the store, get them to test it out and then buy it and take it home. Had a lot of trouble buying over internet. Many of the above criticisms can be corrected buying it in a store. I think it is worth the xtra few dollars. Jerry

  10. @Jerry

    I just got mine as a birthday gift from my parents (13 Years Old 😀 ) (Jan 3) and I went over to HeliHobby.com (eHobbyHouse) …. I don’t know exactly where you are, but that is located in Reseda… Over by White Oak and Vanowen….

    They are far best for me. I had my parents come with me because I knew it was gonna be quite small, but amazing stuff. Boy was I right!

    They stock helis, planes, parts, rc cars, everything!

    Once we bought it (Retail from them = $140…. They just reduced it down to $110….. and my mom somehow persuaded them to get a random discount for 10 bucks..)

    Then JB or JP asked us if he would want him to test it out (JB/JP = THE expert) and what he did was adjust all the pots (Gain and Stuff on the inside) trimmed it, and everything! I went home, recharged the battery… They recommended 2 hours, Mine was fully charged in 1!!!

    I immediately took it up, and it was AMAZING!

    I fully recommend helihobby / The Hobby House!

  11. @Jerry

    I just got mine as a birthday gift from my parents (13 Years Old 😀 ) (Jan 3) and I went over to HeliHobby.com (eHobbyHouse) …. I don’t know exactly where you are, but that is located in Reseda… Over by White Oak and Vanowen….

    They are far best for me. I had my parents come with me because I knew it was gonna be quite small, but amazing stuff. Boy was I right!

    They stock helis, planes, parts, rc cars, everything!

    Once we bought it (Retail from them = $140…. They just reduced it down to $110….. and my mom somehow persuaded them to get a random discount for 10 bucks..)

    Then JB or JP asked us if he would want him to test it out (JB/JP = THE expert) and what he did was adjust all the pots (Gain and Stuff on the inside) trimmed it, and everything! I went home, recharged the battery… They recommended 2 hours, Mine was fully charged in 1!!!

    I immediately took it up, and it was AMAZING!

    I fully recommend helihobby / The Hobby House!

  12. The reason it turns one way really fast and the other way slow is the way of the blades are rotating..

  13. oh yeah,
    i used to fly the 2ch micros around the yard until the dog grabbed it
    mid flight
    so i purchased a lama v4 and crashed it quite a few times onto the concrete driveway (no big damage ,just chipped blades)
    I’ve learn’t NOT to attempt to fly with even a slightly damaged blade
    even though self destruction at 10m is something quite spectacular
    -ill take your advice and change to the extreme blades –
    day 2 and I’ve chewed up 3 full sets of the cheaper ones
    my lama can turn quite rapidly in either direction no problems there,
    but forward and reverse is almost nonexistent ,i could crawl faster
    im leaving sideways till next week mostly because i have no more blades and its easter weekend ,Dam it!
    if any one knows a way to increase forward and reverse thrust
    please tell us

  14. oh yeah,
    i used to fly the 2ch micros around the yard until the dog grabbed it
    mid flight
    so i purchased a lama v4 and crashed it quite a few times onto the concrete driveway (no big damage ,just chipped blades)
    I’ve learn’t NOT to attempt to fly with even a slightly damaged blade
    even though self destruction at 10m is something quite spectacular
    -ill take your advice and change to the extreme blades –
    day 2 and I’ve chewed up 3 full sets of the cheaper ones
    my lama can turn quite rapidly in either direction no problems there,
    but forward and reverse is almost nonexistent ,i could crawl faster
    im leaving sideways till next week mostly because i have no more blades and its easter weekend ,Dam it!
    if any one knows a way to increase forward and reverse thrust
    please tell us

  15. Its easy to practise LAMA V$ before I do test flight with my Belt CP…anyhow, LAMA V4 sometimes gets out of control and then RED LED on 4-in-1 mixer controller turns ON…Must dissect my LAMA and do again some experimental flights…

  16. Pingback: Ben.geek.nz » Me
  17. Hi,
    Brown here,from professional RC airplane and helicopter manufacture—–skyartec.After promoting our new goods WASP V3 and V4 a few months ago ,the reaction is positive,so we want make them more known.if you have already sold our products,thanks for your support and any questions about our goods to improve them,please contact us freely. if you are selling the other brand helis or aiplane ,just waste you seconds to view this,some surprise you may find and get some more benefits.we have reason to believe our goods bring the price and the quality to the better point through the feedback from our customers .More news about us please visit our website:www.skyartec.com

    1) WASP V3 helicopter have 2 version: 4ch TX/RX and 6 TX/RX.
    The 4ch TX/RX Advantage: (1)metal body and landing gear(2) belt drive tail rotor,(3)CP rotor head (4)can fly both indoor and outdoor(5)suit for both beginner and professional (6)easy control,stable,durable and light weight
    The 6ch TX/RX Advantage: (1)CP rotor head ,(2)metal body and landing gear (3)can take professional 3D trick flight (3) 4 servos (4)CCMP control system (5)belt drive tail rotor (6)Compact size,stablity and agility

    2) Cessna 182 Airplane — Advantage: (1)Special EPS as material, (2)Fibre pipe on main wing, (3)Steerable front wheel, (4)4 servos, (5)Good effect in glide.

    3)WASP V4 helicopter Advantage: (1)6 TX/RX (2)The landing gear,stabilizer wing set,tail boom and airframe side are all made of combon.(3)The rotor head and tail are all made of metal.(4)The canopy is made of fiber galss.(5)we can produce three different versions for your selection , the Glass Fibre version , carbon firbre version and 200XE version.

    Any interest in the helis or planes , please let us know,we will offer you our best service and extremely quality at the related competitive price.Looking forward to cooperating with you

    Best regards

    John Brown
    Sales Department
    http://www.skyartec.com
    E-mail: brown@skyartec.com
    MSN: skyartec.Brown@hotmail.com
    Tel: 86-0769-89180133
    Fax: 86-0769-85925878
    Address: Tingkeng Road, Tingshan, Houjie, Dongguan, Guangdong, China
    RC Model Fun Ltd

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply to rawfuls Cancel reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: