The story of the Oxy is rather long. Like every good project, we did not start with production or a sales plan. When I started on the Oxy3, the name wasn’t even decided. It was just my heli – I designed it using the experienced gained from many small heli upgrades made under our Lynx brand, and with a desire for a pure fun and innovative model.
Even the Oxy Heli division was not in the pipe line or in our minds. It was more a funny experiment to show myself that I knew what I was talking about….. a personal challenge to make something new, and with unique features.
It is hard to describe, but I like the feeling flying small helicopters, in particular when they have super performance…… and there really were not any helicopters on the market for my needs. The 300x or 300cfx from Blade was ok, but not really enough….. I was looking for superior performance and dramatic flight feel.
We tried our best with Lynx to upgrade the 300, and we even we made a new frame, but the helicopter design was limited and upgrades were not going to fix the problems….. a radical new design was need.
With one of my best designers we started to “play”, and with an eye on innovation we used our free time to make something really exotic……
We probably spend a month just talking and thinking… this was in February 2014.
Around the end of March we had a design in 3D, and we started to machine parts and use an innovative sintering plastic system to prototype the plastic parts. The main reason we chose plastic for some parts was to save weight, with no compromise in strength.
My experience guided me to design a 300 size helicopter with a precise flying mass – not too light, and not too heavy. When flown in the wind, or when flying fast, a light helicopter does not perform well. Conversely, if the helicopter is too heavy….. well, let’s just say even a stone can fly, but not very well!
The helicopter would need to fly well in the wind, and be as fast as possible.
Day by day, more ideas came and new features were added. Like the special oval boom section without boom supports, the tail counterbalancing system, and head geometry optimized like no other for modern FBL systems. We needed a landing gear able to kill any vibes generated by the tail coming to the frame.
Thanks to the support of two friends, who liked the initial 3D renderings, a really strong cooperation started. Andrew form all the way in New Zealand, and Luca Ursini who is Italian like me. Both are expert in helicopter design, and with engineering minds like mine they helped a lot with specific components on the helicopter. Andrew with the mechanical geometry of the rotor head, and Luca U with software simulation of all features of the helicopter in flight (mechanical geometry, CG and vibration analysis and suppression, torsion and parts load). Every single part of the helicopter was studied precisely. Another important support person was Andreas from RC Heaven Germany for the support to create all the sintered plastic prototype parts with his super expensive and techno equipment.
As I explained, initially this helicopter was a fascination – it was something for us, something to test and expand our knowledge and see all it tested on a new platform. We lost track of the hours spent, and even the parts cost – this was for our pure pleasure – with the best performance without compromise. The project stopped and restarted as our real jobs got in the way.
After four months of changes, samples, simulation and updates I got the first helicopter in my hands for a fly.
It was perfect timing – I was traveling to Italy, so I prepared two helicopters to take with me during the trip and tested them at my home field. Even without any previously testing in Vietnam, I decide I just needed to fly helicopter while I was in Italy for two weeks. I remember myself and a CAD designer Mr Hoa working overnight to finalize the two first samples so they would be ready to travel and test in Italy.
The first test wasn’t as great as expected….. I found an issue with the tail. The mechanical gain was wrong, because of a mistake with one prototype part. Luckily in Italy I have friends, and we made new parts in two days and I was ready for a new test…… those who know me know that I fly like mad….. with no respect for the machine….. “make it or break it”, I start flying our new helicopter….. the unnamed helicopter……
Whao….. amazing…. It fly’s so damn good! This was my first feeling. Many helicopter friends were there on the second maiden, and all were impressed by the performance. A small helicopter that really had the important feel of a larger machine. I was astonished.
I tried to fly as much as possible. I remember the excitement of those days. I went to the field three times a day – morning, midday and evening – I was at my home field and flying as much as I could. I messaged Andrew and Luca U…… in 15 days I made over 120 flights and no crashes….. a miracle…. lol.
In my mind the idea to make a production helicopter based on this sample become a real project.
My wife helped me think of a good brand name for the helicopter. We decided on Oxy over breakfast, and my two year old son Giovanni started repeating the name all day long…… oxy oxy oxy. Maybe this was a sign – a good one, he was understanding my happiness each time I talked to my friend and fellow pilot about this new helicopter. One important test was necessary before going further… Tareq. This mad frickin’ crazy pilot friend for over a decade now was the next test to pass.
I was somewhat intimidated to ask him to fly and test our toy. But Tareq knows me and he says OK! Send me one kit and if it is good I will fly it at the Alpine Heli Smack down in Switzerland. I was speechless.
You cannot imagine our thoughts as we awaited his comments….. I remember……. Days were as long as a decade.
One week later Tareq sends me an email about the good and the bad of the “baby”….. the good was that he really liked it, the bad was that one kit was not enough…… he says ‘I like it like candy.. and I need more asap’….. damn!! No extra helicopter was available… haha this was funny. We were in August and just two helicopters were around. One with Tareq, and my one now in very bad shape after many crashes.
I made a decision to run 15 kits….. as fast as possible….. this was hard, but in less than 30 days 15 kits were ready. We were at the Switzerland event like a pro company – a lot of interest, and with the star – Tareq flying the Oxy3 – he made an amazing show with a small 300 class helicopter. People were stunned to see a top pilot fly in a demo event with such a small helicopter. Flying hard we can see and feel the full control from the tail to the head. Tareq comments after each flight were funny. He just says ‘Perfect!’. Now the Oxy3 was definitely a project to be made.
What I personally believe about the Oxy3? It is a simple, revolutionary helicopter. It looks similar to traditional designs from afar, but once you get closer and you check the details and engineering you will see it is something special indeed. The helicopter already has the admiration of top pilots like Tareq.
From Rasmus to Adam, Erick, Chris and so many more that are now our beta testers we have really good feedback that makes me so proud of the job we did……
I honestly believe that the Oxy3 will write a new story in the small size helicopter market, giving the real possibility for novices to top pilots to have a helicopter they truly enjoy – for pure fun and flight performance.