one thing Ikarus did right was to offer the Piccolo owner the chance
of converting their Piccolo in to a scale looking huge's 300. This
kit, in my opinion makes the Piccolo a real helicopter. The kit
came with new white main and tail rotors, tape to cover the boom
and an excellent canopy.
A year or two later
Ikarus produced a collective pitch upgrade which really turned the
Piccolo into a stable helicopter. The upgrade comprised of a pitch
slider, linkages and a set of wooden semi-sym blades that you had
to cover with bright orange or green film. Most of us used traditional
solar film (white or black) to avoid the need of sunglasses :-)
The next development
from the Ikarus stable was a new "scale" body. However
this time they suffered a real flop in the design. This time, rather
than a simple add on canopy Ikarus opted for a fully enclosed body.
The kit came in two versions, the Bell 222 or Airwolf. It was made
from molded expanded styrene and came with an up rated 310 motor.
The problem was
that you had to chop the boom and undercarriage struts to fit the
mechanics into the body, so there was no way of reverting the Piccolo
back to its original form. However the other major flaw was that
even with the 310 motor and freshly charged 8 cell pack, the helicopter
would only just get to head height, and then slowly floated to the
ground and remained in ground effect. It wasn't until the advent
of li-ion and later li-pol battery technology coupled with brushless
motor upgrades did people really get the performance and longer
flight times that was desired. The one thing that was impressive
was the way they came up with working retractable undercarriage,
but that requited the additional weight of an extra servo which
only added to the Bell 222's weight problems, however with the development
in li-po battery technology and cheaper brushless motors, this weight
problem is no longer an issue.