It Keeps Getting
Better And Better
I have been a fan of Thunder Tiger helicopters for almost 10 years, having owned several œRaptor series helis. Opening the box of the Titan X50, I guess I was expecting some of the same style mechanics that have been synonymous with Thunder Tiger helis of the past. As I looked through the kit, I had to do a double take to make sure it was, in fact, a Thunder Tiger heli, as this machine bears no resemblance to the Raptors of the past. In fact, this might be what a Raptor would look like if you upgraded every part on the machine.
The X50 is full of metal parts with the main head and tail rotor assembly having very few plastic parts. The parts that were plastic were of very high quality. The most noteworthy feature of this heli is the new torque tube tail drive system. The bearingsupported torque tube is outfitted with beefy gears at both ends. Not only did this new tail drive promise to offer a more precise tail control, but it aided in speeding up the assembly process as well.
I am not going to go through a step-by-step build process as that is what the manual is for. However I will point out some items that I felt were noteworthy. First off, providing you have all the electronics and other required components; you can easily assemble the Titan X50 in an afternoon. Mine took me about seven hours, but would have taken less time had I not been stopping to take photos and make notes for the review.
Every assembly step is accompanied by a corresponding bag of parts which are clearly labeled. I like to work on a durable white bath towel so I can easily spot even the smallest parts and should I drop one I don/images/drupalt have to worry about it bouncing off to Neverland.
The assembly manual is based primarily on diagrams and not so much on step-bystep text instructions. Also, the mixture of Chinese text along with English text can be intimidating for someone who has not assembled a heli before.
The process starts off with assembling the head and related components and then moves on to the main frame. I wish I had more to say here, but honestly the fit of all the parts was flawless, and as long as you are paying attention to the order of the steps as well as making sure you are using the correct screws, you will have no problem putting this machine together.
I installed a Futaba GV-1 Governor on the X50. This involves mounting a pickup sensor on the motor and a pair of magnets to the bottom of the plastic fan. The fan already had two recessed holes in it for the magnets. All I needed to do was to ensure that the magnets were installed with opposite poles facing out. The fit was precise and only a dab of epoxy was required to hold them in place. Once installed, I used my Du-bro balancer to ensure the fan was balanced with the addition of the magnets. It turns out that it was off a bit which I easily corrected by removing a slight amount of plastic with a Dremel tool from the back side of the fan.
The fan and clutch assembly was a simple install. Once the fan unit was threaded onto the crankshaft and fastened securely, the clutch was simply bolted on top. I then set the gap between the GV-1 sensor and the magnets to 2mm. Before installing the completed engine into the frame, I checked the run-out with a dial indicator and I measured .001 of an inch. This is not bad for a bolt-on system right out of the box.
The torque tube was a vast improvement in the assembly process of drive belts. The only thing to really be aware of is the installation of the bearing on the torque tube shaft. You need to put some CA glue on the shaft and slide the bearing over the glue. Failure to do this will make it impossible to slide the rubber grommet that supports the bearing into the tail boom.
There is plenty of room on the multi-level radio tray to easily accommodate all of the electronics and a good size LiPo battery pack.
CONFIGURING THE X50
This is probably the most intimidating part of setting up any heli as failure to setup the linkages, servos and swashplate correctly will cause unpleasant results when you get to the field.
It is important to note that the linkages from the flybar mixer are connected to the leading edge of the blade grip. I mention this because unlike most helis, the collective is positive on the X50 when the swashplate is down and negative when the swashplate is raised. This is a point I should have paid more attention to when I was setting up the radio and scratching my head because something was not adding up.
I used Futaba S9452 digital servos for each of the 120-degree cyclic controls. The servos control the swashplate via a push-pull linkage and a bellcrank. To ensure the bellcranks are level and 90 degrees to the servo, you can point the tip of the bellcrank to the center bolt hole for the elevator bearing. For the elevator bellcrank, when the bolt supporting the elevator pushrod to the swashplate is centered in the hole in the side frame you know it is level. With the radio on and all sticks centered, I adjusted the push-pull links to center the bellcranks. At this point the swashplate should be centered if you made your linkages exactly to the manual/images/drupals dimensions. If not, you can make minor adjustments to the linkages that connect to the swashplate until it is level.
Once this was done, I checked the blade pitch and with a 0-50-100 pitch curve on my radio, I had 12 degrees of negative pitch and 14 degrees of positive pitch and there was still more room on the main shaft. I assume with longer control horns on the servos you can easily get 30 degrees of total collective travel on the X50.
NEED TO KNOW
HELICOPTER: Titan X50
MANUFACTURER: Thunder Tiger
DISTRIBUTOR: Great Planes Model Distributors
TYPE: 50-size 3D aerobatic helicopter
FOR: Intermediate to advanced pilots
Author/images/drupals Opinion: Thunder Tiger sure has come a long way since the days of the first Raptor 30. This new Titan X50 is a precision workhorse. The fit and finish of the entire kit was flawless and was even more pronounced by the fast assembly time. If you are looking for a high-performance aerobatic helicopter, the Titan X50 combined with the TT53 engine will not disappoint!
Online Bonus Content: www.helipilotonline.com/061115
1. The header tank is included with the kit, giving a total of 16.2 oz. of fuel capacity
2. Torque tube driven tail rotor for crisp rudder response with 100% power transfer
3. Full metal head with under slung flybar assembly providing a large pitch range
4. A 7mm dampening shaft is used with the thrust washers located in the outermost position. Progressive dampening is obtained by having the softer damper inside the harder damper providing very responsive collective inputs
5. The pitch adjustments are from the swashplate to the mixer. The Hiller and pitch links are molded one-piece, simplifying the setup process
6. The elevator arm acts as the swashplate anti-rotation bracket
7. Push-pull linkages are used for all cyclic controls as well as the throttle
8. The engine mount is very lightweight and is designed to brace and strengthen the carbon fiber frame.
9. The tail servo is mounted toward the front of the frame helping to better disperse weight for an optimal CG.
10.The three-tier radio tray has more than enough room for all the electronics as well as a sizeable LiPo battery pack.
11.The Futaba GY520 heading lock gyro is mounted on the top tier of the radio tray.
12.The all-metal tail case supports the torque tube design with oversize bevel gears and bearings. It can be removed from the tail boom quickly and easily.
13.The metal tail grips and fully bearing-raced tail pitch arms provide smooth, precise
IN THE AIR
With Tony Yap
I fueled up the Titan X50 with some 30% Morgan/images/drupals Cool Power heli fuel, and started it up with a standard 6mm hex wand. The first couple of flights I took it easy, to allow the engine to break-in. Even at a relative low, 1,500 rpm rotor speed, the X50 was extremely stable and precise. I did notice a slight rattle sound during my flights, it turned out that one of the tail pushrod supports was too far from the tail pushrod coupler, allowing it to resonate. I slid the support closer, and that seemed to fix the problem. I ran two tanks through in this configuration, only flying some very slow figure-8s over the field.
By the third tank, I was ready to start trying some aerobatics. I set up the Futaba GV-1 governor to provide 1,700 rpm in idle-up 1 (aerobatic mode) and 2,000 rpm in idle-up 2 (3D mode). Even with the extremely rich settings (for break in), the TT53 provided plenty of power. The X50 happens to be one of the lightest 50-size helicopters around, and it showed. On many helicopters, you would have a hard time doing fast tic-tocs unless the motor is tuned perfectly. With the low weight of the X50, fast tic tocs were effortless. Once the motor had a few more tanks through it, I was able to lean it out to an optimal setting and the additional power was breathtaking.
Fast-forward flight showed no noticeable pitch-up or pitch-down tendencies. The carbon blades included with the kit tracked well and were very quiet throughout the flight. The CCPM geometry is excellent. Starting from a hands-off hover and pushing the collective; the X50 travels straight up without any noticeable rolling or pitching. There is no doubt that the head on the X50 is solid and precise. Basic aerobatic maneuvers such as loops and rolls were effortless and I had no problem keeping the X50 on track.
Now that I had optimal power coming from the engine, I switched to idle-up 2, I put the X50 through my normal 3D routine including maneuvers such as tic-tocs, funnels, flips, and piroflips. I can say that in comparison with many of my other similar-size machines, that the X50 excelled as it was very responsive and had a nice solid feel throughout all the of maneuvers. The X50/images/drupals tail rotor coupled with the Futaba GY520 Gyro yielded fantastic tail stability and authority. The tail would œlock on in all maneuvers and would not move until you told it to.
Before running out of fuel, I climbed to about a hundred feet, and flipped the throttle hold switch to initiate an autorotation. The X50 exhibited some of the best autorotation performance that I have ever seen. As the X50 approached the ground, I pulled some back cyclic to halt the descent and bleed off any forward speed. Because of the X50/images/drupals light weight, and efficient torque tube drive, I was able to hover the heli in ground effect for almost four seconds prior to the rotor speed bleeding off and finally landing. If you like to perform autos, the X50 is unbeatable!
|Align HN6022 Fuel Filler|
|Du-Bro Tru- Spin Balancer|
|Futaba 10CG Transmitter|
|Futaba GV-1 Governor|
|Futaba GY520 Gyro|
|Futaba R617FS FASST Receiver|
|Futaba S9254 Servo|
|Morgan/images/drupals Cool Power 30% Heli Fuel|
|Prolux Remote Glow Plug Adaptor|
|Thunder Tiger Redline Hi-Flow Muffler|
|Thunder Tiger TT53 Redline Heli Engine|
|Sullivan 6mm Helicopter Starter Extension|
|Futaba S9452 Servo|
|LiFe 3200 Battery pack|
FLYING WEIGHT: 7.25 lbs.
LENGTH: 47.25 in. (1200mm)
ROTOR SPAN: 52.95 in. (1345mm)
BLADE LENGTH: 23.6 in. (600mm)
ROTOR DISK AREA: 2,200 sq. in.
ROTOR DISK LOADING: 7.54 oz./sq. ft.
TAIL ROTOR BLADE LENGTH: 3.75 in. (95mm)
GEAR RATIO: 1:8, 5:4.6
RADIO: Minimum 6-channel required; flown with a Futaba 10CG transmitter, Futaba R617FS 2.4GHz FASST receiver, (4) Futaba S9452 servos for swashplate and throttle, Futaba GY520 gyro and S9254 servo for tail rotor, Futaba GV-1 Governor
POWER SYSTEM: Thunder Tiger Redline Series RL-53H Engine, Thunder Tiger Redline Hi-Flow 53 muffler
MAIN ROTOR RPM AT HOVER: 1,700 Idle-up 1; 2,000 Idle-up 2
DURATION: 10-13 minutes per tank depending on flying style
MINIMUM FLYING AREA: RC club field
COMPONENTS NEEDED TO COMPLETE: Transmitter, receiver, 3 cyclic servos, throttle servo, high-speed tail rotor servo, heading-lock gyro, governor (optional), 2000mAh receiver battery pack, electric starter with 6mm hex wand, remote glow plug adaptor, fuel filter, 30% heli-blend glow fuel
1 Make sure to study each page of the assembly manual before attempting to perform that step. Sometimes there are components that need to be attached prior to others and if you are not paying attention to the exploded view diagrams, you will be scratching your head with extra parts.
2 Be sure to use the supplied thread lock on all metal to metal fasteners. It is red, but do not confuse this with the RED Loctite brand as it is NOT the same. If you lose the included thread lock, then use blue Loctite.
3 To slide the fuel tank into position, I rubbed a little oil on the outside of the tank. Without the oil it kept binding to the rubber gasket on the frame
4 Be sure to grease and lubricate all bearings and especially the main shaft where the swashplate and washout unit slide.
5 Use the linkage measurement diagram in the manual, for me it was 1-2 turns away from perfect.
6 I use a 0-50-100 pitch curve for aerobatic and 3D mode which gives me 12 degrees negative and 14 degrees positive pitch with 0 degrees at center stick. I keep this same 0 degrees at center stick setting for normal mode as well. For normal mode, I readjust the lower points to give me about 4 degrees negative at low stick. This avoids the œdrop when you switch from normal to idle-up modes.
7 My throttle curve is linear for normal mode with idle at low stick and full power with full positive collective. For idle-up modes I use a œV curve with 100 percent power at full positive and full negative collective positions.
THE FINAL SAY
If you are looking for a precision high-performance helicopter that is easy to build and set up, then the Thunder Tiger Titan X50 is your machine.This bad boy comes completely hopped-up right out of the box with carbon fiber and aluminum everywhere you want it. The new torque tube driven tail took the previous belt-driven X50 and made it even better. The result is a helicopter with outstanding performance that will handle anything you throw at it.
www.dubro.com, (800) 848-9411
Futaba, distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors
www.futaba-rc.com, (800) 682-8948
www.heliwholesaler.com, (877) 454-9757
www.morganfuel.com, (800) 633-7556
www.sullivanproducts.com, (410) 732-3500
Thunder Tiger, distributed exclusively by Great Planes
www.ttamerica.com, (800) 682-8948