BBT Maniac 603mm Carbon Main Rotor Blades

Reviewer: Rob Turnbull
Review Date: 16th April 2008
Supplier 50-Tuning.com
Manufacturer: BBT
Unit Cost: £49.99

Blade details

These blades come as a symmetrical balanced pair with the blade weight marked on a sticker on the bubble wrap blade bag in which they arrive.

Length 603mm
Width 57.5mm along the blade
Blade grip size 12mm
Bolt hole size 4mm, no brass collar
  • Padded bag with information labelPadded bag with information label
  • BladesBlades
  • RootsRoots
  • White undersides of the bladesWhite undersides of the blades
  • Balancing plugBalancing plug
  • Maniac - all part of the bladeManiac - all part of the blade

These blades have a very distinctive look to them due to the huge Maniac in white lettering on a black carbon weave background. The rest of the top of the blade is white and the whole of the underside is white. The last 20mm of the blade tip forms a curve which is shaped across its width and height forming a nice rounded angle around to the tip.

They are quite stiff when flexing from root to tip - one of the stiffer blades available so far, with excellent torsional stiffness. They also fit straight into the stock 12mm blade grips of most 50 sized nitro helicopters without the need for spacers. Helicopters using 14mm grips will need spacers.

The balancing plug is small and sits quite flush with the blade.

The finish on the set of blades that I received was pretty good, just a couple of very minor marks on the trailing edge, which were only visible at close range. There have been several reports of issues with these blades not coming up to scratch in the quality control department, but my set appear pretty much spot on.

  • Fitted to my Trex 600nFitted to my Trex 600n
  • Fitted to my Trex 600nFitted to my Trex 600n

Flight testing

Flight testing the blades involves 3D style flying on a heli setup with quite fast cyclics and using V Paddles for their extra crisp response. I also happened to be in the middle of testing the Kasama Head as you can see in the pictures, but have flown them on the stock Trex 600 head too.

The blades simply slotted straight into the blade grips and tracked perfectly from lift off. There was no difference in the tracking between headspeeds either. This is pretty much normal these days as blades just keep getting better.

The colour of them, along with the design makes them really stand out well in the sky when flying - get the angle right and the sun shining on them and they really look fantastic.

These blades offer very good performance and give off very little blade noise in 3D flight. They handle everything I can throw at them without me worrying that they're going to flex too much and strike the boom or something equally disastrous. They handle fast forward flight very nicely and they offer great pitch performance. They do not require the same level of pitch management that V Blades have, but at the same time they don't have that instantaneous snappiness of V Blades. Full pitch pullouts are fast and do not significantly bog the heli down.

As far as autorotations go, these blades are phenomenal - especially when the wind gets up a bit. The ability of these blades to generate headspeed is suprising. Aerobatic autos are well within the repertoire of these blades (as long as the pilot can do it!) as they seem to bleed very little headspeed off.

I can recall two separate occasions that the engine in my helicopter has stopped in flight - both times were around 20 feet high while performing a headspeed sapping manoeuvre. As is usually the case, you might not instantly notice the engine has stopped and continue the manoeuvre, bleeding off loads of headspeed. With my usual V Blades on I have my doubts that I could have built enough headspeed back up enough to auto and save the heli - but these Maniacs were on my heli and both times I was shocked and amazed at the amount of headspeed that was recovered, allowing me to not only comfortably land, but actually hover and position the heli first. A very pleasing outcome on both occasions!

In sport flying terms, these blades are an excellent choice and will perform very well. The high demands put on blades in 3D flight are not present in sport flying and these blades will handle everything the sport flier will require of them.

Pros and Cons

Pros
The finish of the blade looks great and is very distinctive
You do not need blade spacers when fitting to a standard 12mm blade grip
The blade colours are very easy to see in the air
Good value for money
Cons
I've heard several people complain about the finish, and sometimes the quality of the blade - mine were fine

Conclusion

It depends what you want to get out of a blade as to where you might rank these. I like the snappiness that only V Blades seem to have (currently) but that comes at a price, both in cash and in flight management. Picking one blade to say it is the best of all blades is incredibly hard to do, if not impossible, which is why I don't. Are the BBT Maniac blades excellent, yes they are. Would I personally trade my V Blades for these permanently, not at the moment because they don't have the same snap that I like so much in the V Blades! So for me, they're not the top of the tree, but they are very very close, and for others they could well be.

There's really not much to detract from these blades. They perform very well, they are £50 and they look great. If BBT can sort out their apparent quality control issues on these blades, there would be next to nothing left to worry about. if you get a set of these blades and they aren't quite right - chipped, or twisted or any other issue - send them back and get them replaced. It's worth it when you get a good set!

I have really enjoyed flying these blades and I am happy to give them a positive review - theres just too much on the plus side going for them. If you want very good 3D flight and auto performance from your helicopter and have a mid range budget for main rotor blades, these blades should be somewhere near the top of your potentials list.