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JR Challenge 2003
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Helicopter Resources
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Scale: Flybarless Heads
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JR 10X
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Futaba 9Z WCII
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163km/h with a Vigor CS!
Raptor 60 V2
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Sceadu 30 update
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Bye bye little Ergo
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JR Voyager 50
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TSK & the Squirrel Part (III)
NZ Team Returns from Heli World Champs
Hirobo Freya
OS 50 Review
Millie vs CS (Part III)
Living with the CS
TSK & the Squirrel (Part II)
Promoting the Hobby
Ergo Z230 Gasser
Millie vs CS (Part II)
Millie vs CS (Part I)
TSK & the Squirrel
TSK & the Squirrel (Part IV)

Voyager 50
Simon Lockington

The JR Ergo 30/46 has developed a reputation as a sturdy little helicopter that can take a beating and come back for more. The little Ergo and it's bigger brother the Ergo 60 have been popular with fliers of all skill levels.
As good as the Ergo range is, they've had their problems. I, along with a few other Ergo fliers I know have had to put up with cracking frames, starter bearing block bushings wearing out (why bushings were ever put there I don't know...) and the unavoidable slop that eventually ends up in the control system. The Ergo Z230 Gasser is a bit different as although it has the same control system, it is fully ball bearinged.

The Ergo's replacement is the Voyager line of helicopters. They come in 30 and 50 size variants and also a gas version available from Japan.

The Voyager marks quite a structural change in the design of the helicopter's frame assembly when compared with the Ergo. JR have decided to ditch the stacked frame strategy of the Ergo and go with single piece frames more akin to the Vigor line of helis. A benefit of this is that they've made the frames much thicker than the Ergo.
We were impressed with the method of construction of the frames which gives the helicopter a more rigid feel.

One downside of the frame design is that there is no longer a position to put a needle mixing servo which the Ergo line had.
The frame design allows easy access to powertrain components which in turn allows easy maintenance. Much easier than the Ergo. However, access to the glow plug is limited making changing glow plugs near impossible. An extended length glow driver will reach the plug. It appears that you have to drop the engine to change plugs.

The front frame is rubber mounted which isolates vibration from the electronics. There isn't really a defined place to position the gyro sensor. In this case, the GY502's sensor was mounted on the underside of the radio tray above the fuel tank. Placement of sensors the size of CSM's 360 could pose a problem depending on the size of your radio gear. In summary, the radio tray provides limited space for electronic gear and as such the radio gear must be carefully positioned.

The boom mounting system is much improved over the Ergo line. Both boom clamps (at the frame end and off the boom stay) are very effective in holding the boom. Much more effective than the Ergo line.

Tail rotor gearbox design is similar in function to the Ergo line, however it is constructed of better quality plastic. The tail drive belt is of much better quality than the Ergo, being more like the Z230 than the previous Ergo. However, the tail rotor linkages are of the same design as the Ergo.

When we first viewed the Voyager kit, we were somewhat disappointed to find that the head is pretty much exactly the same as the Ergo, same washout, flybar rocker assembly etc. The only difference to cater for the 120 CCPM control assembly is the metal swashplate which disappointingly connects to a plastic top half.

The clutch is much improved over the Ergo line with being fully bearinged. Bearings have replaced the bushings that were used in the Ergo line in the start shaft which is supported by bearings top and bottom. This gives the clutch bell a very sturdy and rigid feel.

The clutch itself engages at very low RPM. However the OS50 with the bottom needle set quite lean will reliabily run at low RPM to disengage the clutch.

In summary, the Voyager is a more compact unit than the Ergo. The frame design should prove to be considerably stronger in the event of a crash or fatigue.
It's a shame that JR didn't see fit to make the swashplate fully alloy instead of alloy/plastic.

The construction of the kit is very straight forward. Everything lined up nicely. In following with JR's tradition, the instruction manual provided comprehensive instructions that were easily followed.
Be aware that the engine nut on the fan needs to be very securely fastened. In one of the initial test flights the nut came loose and required attention.

Set up
All linkages were set up as per the manual and were set up by vernier.
Setting up the CCPM control system on the Futaba Super 8 radio was a bit of a challenge at first that had both myself and Darryll, the helicopter's owner a bit stumped. We couldn't get the servos to move in the appropriate manner. Reversing the servos did not make a difference. Reading the radio's instruction manual didn't offer any clues. The Futaba website finally yielded the answer. In the SWASH menu, AIL was set to -60, ELE to +60, PIT to -55. However, please note pitch and aileron have been deliberately reversed at the reciever. This was done in an attempt to get the set up working. However, this is not required, it just changes the values listed above.

On the initial flights, hovering was a bit difficult as the JR sizing tool had not been used to 'break in' the linkages. This made the helicopter somewhat 'notchy' to handle. After an hours worth of flight, the linkages started to wear in and the notchiness disappeared.

The Voyager is a very fast machine with an OS 50 and CMT Carbon Fibre 600 blades. Vertical climb ability is outstanding. It flies smoothly without any untoward flight characteristics.

The machine does have a very responsive cyclic, however only marginally more than the Ergo. Rate of roll is very good.

Autorotations in comparison with the Ergo (OS50 and Fibreglass CMT 550 blades) was marginally better but not overly so. The tail drive on the Voyager is not driven during autorotations.

Now that the machine has had a few hours on it, hovering performance has improved and is now produces a very stable hover.

In summary, the Voyager feels much more capable in flight than the Ergo. It's much faster than the Ergo

In conclusion, Darryll said he would rather have spent a little more on the purchase price in return for the helicopter having features such as a full alloy control mechanism (ie the swashplate), bearings in the mixing arms, more durable tail rotor control.

The stock the machine is very capable and Darryll is very pleased with the machine. However, after watching it fly myself, I haven't been inspired to sell my Ergo and get a Voyager. If however, I write my machine off, I will most certainly get a Voyager instead of another Ergo.

The Voyager shows much promise in the 50 size market and has many improvements over the Ergo that it replaces.

Machine Specifications:
Engine: OS 50
Servos: Hitec 545's
Blades: CMT Carbon 600
Radio: Futaba Super 8
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