The International Radio Controlled Helicopter Association (IRCHA) Jamboree is a great place to show off new products, and this year something special flew during the noon demos. Nick Maxwell surprised people when he pulled out a new Thunder Tiger Raptor E550, sporting a different canopy, and more noticeably—an all-new, three-blade rotor head.
Nick put on a great demonstration with the helicopter, as only he can do. Now that three-blade helis are becoming
popular for 3-D pilots, Thunder Tiger has jumped on the bandwagon with a twist. Its first offering in this arena is
inexpensive, preassembled, and can be ready to fly in a single evening, opening the three-blade experience to more pilots
who may want to try it out, but are unable or unwilling to bite the bullet and purchase a larger heli that offers a three-blade head.
This new Raptor arrived in a large box containing the helicopter’s two major subassemblies: the main frames and the
boom/tail. The heli comes with everything you need to fly, except a receiver and flight battery.
Included are three Ace DS1510MG digital cyclic servos, one Ace DS0606n digital tail servo, a Castle Creations Talon
90 ESC, an Ace OBL44/11-30H brushless motor, and an Ace GT5.2 three-axis flybarless gyro.
The canopy is made from the same material as the previous version, but there are no decals on this one. The artwork
is printed directly on the plastic. This is great because decals can fade and peel, but this printed canopy will keep its good
looks for a long time. Wrapped in foam are the three main carbon-fiber 550mm rotor blades, and the included plastic tail
The head is preassembled, and each blade grip contains regular and thrust bearings. It is seated on a rubber
damper. There is a central triangular piece of metal that each of the blade grips bolts to, and the single-arm, clamp-on-style swashplate follower is mounted slightly beneath the head to help drive the
swashplate and keep it aligned. The grips appear to be the same as
the ones used on the X50, so they should be compatible.
The model also comes with an extra set of
Assembly is straightforward.
46 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2014