50-Size 3D Dynamo Changes The Rules
Is the Titan X50 the ultimate 50-class nitro engine powered 3D helicopter that you have been waiting for? The new X50 from Thunder Tiger certainly delivers the performance punch, product quality, and value. Thunder Tiger has dominated the RC helicopter market since the original Raptor 30 came out in 1998. And we have seen the success of the Raptor 30, 60, 90 and 50 machines over the years. The Raptor 50 was by far the most popular helicopter product of the Raptor series, and tens of thousands are flying around the world.
A rock-stable hover allowed us to confidently photograph the X50 very close in. The O.S. 55 HZ engine and O.S. tuned pipe make the Titan X50 a rocketship!
Over the last six years, the Raptor 50 has benefited from many performance improvements. It started as Raptor 50 V1, then V2, SE, Titan, and culminated with the Titan SE. However, even a venerable product will age. Thunder Tiger R&D and Marketing realized the situation in 2009 and secretly started working on a new helicopter, code named X50.
O.S. 55 HZ and O.S. tuned pipe
After one year of designing, testing, and tooling development, Thunder Tiger surprised the world and unveiled the brand new 50-size helicopter at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in Germany in February of 2010. The X50 breaks away from the tradition of Raptor helicopters by having a 120- degree eCCPM control system, an underslung main rotor, and two flat-sheet carbon sideframes (it is not a stacked 4-sheet design). The helicopter flew so well that Thunder Tiger president, Mr. Aling Lai, at the recommendation of his chief designer, decided to officially name this new high performance helicopter the Titan X50. X50 is a nice transition from the old Raptor 50 and Raptor Titan 50 series to the brand new Titan X series. At the field and in the chatrooms, you will probably hear it simply referred to as the X50.
Checking the control throws, I found the X50 has no problem delivering +12 to -12 degrees of collective travel.
LIGHTER AND TOUGHER
One of the many design goals for the X50 was for it to be lighter than all other 50-size helicopters on the market, yet the helicopter could not sacrifice structural rigidity because it must handle any abusive 3D thrown at it without failing. The end result is a tough machine that weighs 6.8 pounds ready to fly without fuel. That is incredible. Why? Because another design goal was that the X50 accept many proven components from the existing Raptor 50. For example, all components from the tail boom back are interchangeable with the Raptor 50. The X50 uses the same toothed drive belt and tail boom as the Raptor 50. Even the belt pulleys and the main gear are interchangeable. Some of the other components are also interchangeable.
Thunder Titan X50 breaks the Raptor tradition and replaces mechanical cyclic collective pitch mixing with electronic cyclic collective control mixing (eCCPM) and thereby delivers an awesome 3D machine.
This is very thoughtful and desirable because many people own a Raptor 30/50 already, and Raptor parts are also carried by many hobby shops around the world. Furthermore, these Raptor parts are proven and strong. But many critical parts on the X50 are brand new. The engineering team at Thunder Tiger made some careful choices; all parts are made either from aerospace carbon fiber and graphite, aluminum or highquality injection molded plastic. For example, the radio and servo tray that is sandwiched between the carbon frame on the front is injection molded. The benefit is plastic absorbs vibration and also permits screwing the servos screws directly through the carbon frames and into the plastic tray without requiring a nut. This simplifies assembly and reduces weight.
Inside each metal tail rotor blade grip are two radial bearings and one thrust bearing. A carbon 3D fin is standard in the kits.
As described by Thunder Tiger R&D, The X50 is the ultimate machine for pilots seeking a full-adrenaline, nothing held back, all-out 3D experience. The all new Thunder Tiger under-slung main rotor set with an internal flapping stiffness control system gives fast and sharp cyclic and collective response demanded by competition pilots. It can be set up to suit any flying style: from edgy and aggressive to ultra docile. Its silky smooth stability instills confidence in beginners and intermediates to quickly hone new maneuvers. Using the best combination of aerospace carbon fiber, precision injection molding, and machined aluminum to produce a light and rigid structure capable of taking on the most abusive 3D move you can dish out, the Titan X50 is fast to build, and easy to repair. Maximum performance, ultra smooth handling, ruggedness, and great value make the X50 the ultimate 50-class machine that you have been waiting for.
Frontal view shows the narrow profile fiberglass canopy. A regular NiCd glow starter conveniently fits through the lower air intake hole to reach the glow plug. This is very convenient.
That is quite an impressive description. Many pilots around the world have flown the X50 since its official sale started in September 2010, and they all agree, the X50 has lived up to its claims.
X50 NEW FEATURES
1. Two flat sheet carbon sideframes for easy alignment and assembly.
2. The two sideframes are 30 mm apart; this provides a wide stance for structural rigidity, yet it narrow enough to give a slim profile.
3. Main rotor and tail rotor blade grips are each supported by two radial bearings and a thrust bearing.
4. An aluminum rotor hub mounted to a 10mm main rotorshaft using two bolts prevents slop or wobble.
5. The under-slung flybar design reduces the distance between the washout arms and flybar control arms.
6. 7mm diameter hardened spindle is stiffer than the 6mm spindle used on the Raptor 50 and other helicopters. A 7mm spindle is chosen over an 8mm spindle to provide just the right balance for smoothness in flying and rigidity for 3D, and in case of a crash, the spindle will be sacrificed and not the rotor system.
7. Metal tail rotor blade grips.
8. Lightweight and vented clutch bell with metal-reinforced ribs.
9. Lightweight and vented main and driven tail gears.
10. Landing struts are lighter than Raptor 50 design, but it retains identical spacing.
11. A carbon base plate beneath the engine and sideframes tie the front and rear structure together to enhance torsional rigidity.
12. Carbon vertical fin.
13. 10mm hardened main shaft.
14. Efficient cooling system and shroudedfan design.
15. 3-deck tray for installing electronic devices.
16. Main and header tanks with total capacity of 480cc.
17. Metal tail boom clamp.
18. A gorgeous factory painted fiberglass canopy with a carbon look windshield.
19. Lightweight (20 gram) paddles for 3D flying, and which provide excellent stability.
20. +/- 15Â° collective travel range to provide fast acceleration and for doing collective pop maneuvers.
GREAT PLANES DISTRIBUTION
Thunder Tiger is headquartered in Taiwan and has grown to be one of the world market leaders in radio control models. Founded over 31 years ago, the company markets under the brands of Thunder Tiger and Ace RC. They are known for their strength in the radio control helicopter segment and are highly regarded for their expertise in RC engines, cars, airplanes and boats.
The X50 is a well thought out design that is strong and light. A Futaba GY611 gyro is mounted on the front.
Part of the new customer support strategy for all Thunder Tiger helicopter customers is that Thunder Tiger has closed its own Ace Hobby distribution center in California and transferred the exclusive distribution rights for all Thunder Tiger products for North and South America to Hobbico/Great Planes, which is headquartered in Champaign, Illinois. This transition started on September 20, 2010. All Thunder Tiger products will be or already are available to hobby retailers and hobby consumers through Great Planes Model Distributors and Tower Hobbies.
A new under-slung main rotor head features the same dual-stage 3D rubber damper as on the proven Raptor 90 3D model, and it has a 7mm spindle. The older Raptor 60 had a 6mm spindle.
Thunder Tiger says since Great Planes has the largest network and sales channel in the US and North, Central, and South America, this move will permit customers to buy kits and parts very conveniently at their local hobby shops or by mail order. Customer support and service for Thunder Tiger products will be handled by Hobby Services.
X50 KIT DETAILS
Currently the belt drive Titan X50 is available in two versions: 4855-K10 is just the kit, but it includes a pair of genuine Thunder Tiger 600mm length carbon fiber main rotor blades. This kit has an incredible street price of around $400. That is a fantastic value for one of the best flying 50-size helicopters on the market. There is also a 4855-K11 version, which includes the helicopter kit, a pair of 600mm carbon blades, a Thunder Tiger Redline 53H engine, and a Thunder Tiger Hi-flow muffler designed for 3D flying.
HELICOPTER: Titan X50
DISTRIBUTOR: Great Planes
TYPE: 50-size engine powered high performance helicopter
FOR: Intermediate to advanced pilots
FLYING WEIGHT: 6.83 pounds ready to fly, without fuel
ENGINE TO MAIN GEAR RATIO: 8.5:1
TAIL TO MAIN ROTOR RATIO: 4.6:1
MAIN ROTOR BLADES: 600 mm
MAIN ROTOR DIAMETER: 53 in.
TAIL ROTOR BLADES: 95 mm
TAIL ROTOR DIAMETER: 10.25 in.
LENGTH WITH BLADES: 47.25 in.
Engine: O.S. 55 HZ
Muffler: O.S. PowerBoost Pipe
Radio: 6 channels required; flown with Futaba 10CH FASST transmitter w/R6014FS receiver, 3 Futaba BLS451 brushless digital high-torque high-speed servos, Futaba GY611 gyro w/Futaba S9256 servo
Fuel: Byron Rotor Rage 30%
At 6.8 pounds dry, ready to fly, the X50 is likely the lightest 50-size nitro helicopter in the world. It shows an excellent choice of carbon, metal and plastic parts to optimize the strength of every part using to best advantage each type of material. High quality parts, a gorgeous painted canopy, easy construction and awesome flight performance prove that this heli sets a new standard.
This is a superbly engineered helicopter at a good price. Thunder Tiger 30 years of manufacturing experience clearly shows in the quality. After years of providing great helicopters, a new level has been attained in this reviewer opinion; it almost as if a giant has awakened with a vengeance by unleashing this wonderful Titan X50 helicopter.
The X50 embodies a superb combination of carbon frames, CNC machined aluminum components, and high quality molded parts. Thunder Tiger is a world expert in molded parts, and they produce them themselves, in-house.
The X50 is a great value and in the hands of an expert, it is a competition winner. Yet, amazingly, it is rock stable. A tip for beginners who demand the best of the best: replace the stock light-weight blue paddles with a pair of Thunder Tiger heavier black (30 gram) paddles from the Raptor 30, and you will have a solid machine that is a super stable heli for any entry level enthusiast!
As the Italians would say, superleggera which means super light. Out of the all the 50-size helicopters, the Titan X50 has the best power-toweight ratio which allows the X50 to compete seriously with the best 3D electric helicopters in the world. After flying the X50, you may want a second one and decide to sell all your other 50- size models. It is fast, nimble and rock solid ” any pilot dream.
The X50 is an excellent model to fly and it exhibits no bad traits. Forward flight is fast and glued to a rail with no pitch up tendency. The main rotor damper design is the same as on the Raptor 90 3D helicopter, and it has a durometer rubber donut wrapping the spindle, and there is a nylon sleeve between the rubber and the metal rotor hub. This design provides smooth and soft flapping near neutral for good docile hovering. When full cyclic is commanded the non-linear flapping stiffness gives fast cyclic response. Many pilots say the X50 has a very light feel to it and it is like flying an over-powered electric 600 with a 10S LiPo battery. The X50 does precisely what the pilots ask with no hesitation. The acceleration is fast like an electric and there is no delay. The X50 has the expected and delightful endurance of a nitro engine powered helicopter.
Byron Originals, www.byronfuels.com, (712) 364-3165
And Distributed Exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors:
Futaba, www.futaba-rc.com, (800) 682-8948
O.S. Engines, www.osengines.com, (800) 682-8948
Thunder Tiger, www.ttamerica.com, (800) 682-8948