This close-up shows the details of the new head. Each blade grip
has its own set of main bearings and thrust bearings.
The tail is the same as previous Raptors, making the parts
The E550, guided by the Futaba 14SG
radio, is ready for its maiden flight.
The boom, tail section,
and boom supports
are preassembled. All I
had to do was slide the
boom in place, taking
care to make sure the
belt was rotated in the
correct direction so that
the tail blades moved
the right way. All of this
is illustrated in the easy-to-follow instruction
The servos are
all preinstalled, and
the pushrods are
already made, but
final assembly of the
servo horns is still
required. I mounted
the GT5.2 gyro on
the battery tray at the
front of the helicopter
using the included
3M tape. My receiver
was mounted to the
top of the servo box,
where it had plenty of
clearance beneath the
canopy because of the
receiver’s small size.
The Talon 90 has
an excellent BEC, so I
opted to not install an extra battery for the receiver. I mounted the Talon 90 on the
tray at the back of the helicopter near the tailboom. This made it easy to install by
simply removing the tray, and easy to unplug the motor wires when working on the
setup. Safety first!
I tried to figure out the best way to route all of the wiring, and settled on the
final configuration as the most efficient. I used plastic mesh to protect the wiring, as
well as the motor wiring to the ESC. Using the S.Bus feature of my Futaba receiver
eliminated many extra wires, making for a neater installation.
I followed the instruction manual, which includes basic setup instructions for the
GT5.2 and programmed the Talon 90 using my Castle Link adapter and software. I
initially set my governor head speed to 1,700, 1,800, and 2,000 rpm. Mechanically
setting up the blades was the same as setting up a two-blade helicopter, but with one
extra blade. No special or unique techniques were required.
I attached a strip of Velcro to the front of the battery tray for my flight battery,
and checked the heli’s balance to make sure that the CG was in the right place. The
build went quickly, and one could get the heli ready to fly over the course of an
evening—or two, if you agonize over wiring as I did.
The programming on my 14SG was basic. The GT5.2 takes care of nearly
everything. I set up a little exponential on the cyclic, selected single-servo swash,
and left everything else stock except the throttle curves that were set to activate the
various head speeds through the Talon 90.
The E550 includes an enlarged blade holder, with a third slot cut for that extra
blade. All three blades can be folded backward with a little care, so this heli is easy to
transport. You don’t have to remove a single main blade. With the setup completed,
48 Model Aviation DECEMBER 2014