by Thunder Tiger
1/19 -- Bought a Raptor 60
Of course, I'm getting the new Raptor from Rick's Heli in Texas. What great service! I also ordered the Telebee heading hole gyro, a remote glow plug thingy, and a Pegae starter adapter. I'm going to use Hitec HS-605-BB servos on everything except rudder - I'll us an HS-925-MG for that. The receiver will be a JR 10 channel PCM (just 'cause I already have it - not that I need 10 channels!).
I'm buying this machine for a few reasons. First I LOVE my X-Cell and really hate to stuff it!! Second, I liked the Raptor 30 I had and wasn't afraid to try new things with it due to the really affordable parts costs. Third, I'm hooked on the feel of a 60-sized machine. The 30 just doesn't have the inertia to follow through on many maneuvers.
Should get it late next week....
1/26 -- Test flights
No real surprises. The engine fired right up and ran fine with very little tweaking. I'm running it rich for now, and am using my usual 20/20 fuel. The muffler is real nice and has a fairly pleasing tone to it. The stock wood blades aren't much to write home about. Not balanced very well and needed quite a bit of work to get them to my specs. I'm probably going to try a set of fiberglass or carbon blades next. I know, I know, this was supposed to be a cheap heli to fly!! :)
My likes so far:
Low parts count
Very rigid radio tray and tail
Inexpensive to repair
My don't likes so far:
Main blades may not work out
Getting a tail buzz
Not quite as stable as my X-Cell Graphite - may just need some tweaking
Stay tuned for more exciting and informative Raptor findings that you just can't live without! :)
2/3 -- Still going strong
Well, I'm starting on my 3rd gallon of fuel through this machine and I'm really liking it. The engine is still not developing the power I'd like, but we'll see how it's running in another few gallons. The tail buzz went away on it's own. Probably engine vibrations from being new. Stability is right about where the X-Cell is now. No complaints on how it's flying - I just need more power.
I added 7 oz. of lead to the front end to get it to balance slightly nose heavy. Don't really like adding weight, but it flies better inverted this way. I just added a BC-6 to keep an eye on my battery. Sure do like those monitors!
I'm running MS carbon fiber blades on it - Ron Lund was all out of LeisureTech fiberglass blades. The MS blades fly just like the V-Blades (as near as I can tell). They're both excellent, but at $120 a set, I'm not flying the Raptor for what I intended it for. This is supposed to by my cheapo heli for practicing!
2/12 -- First Problem
I lost my throttle this morning. Turns out it was a broken throttle arm. The bends in the arm are quite sharp and are a natural breaking point when subjected to vibration. I gas welded it back together and put a fillet in the bend.
2/21 -- Second Problem
Today after starting the Raptor, I noticed that the start shaft came out when I pulled the starter off the shaft. Turns out that there is a circlip that holds the shaft in, and somehow it had snapped off. STRANGE!! Clipped it back on and all is well again. It fit nice and tight, so who knows what happened...
Still really like this heli. I'm getting it more and more dialed in and it's feeling really comfortable. I've switched to 35% Byron's fuel and it really made a difference from the 20% I'd been using. She climbs like a home-sick angel now!
3/30 -- CRASH!
It was a pretty bad one, and it was Thunder Tiger's fault. I was doing a roll at about 50', when the tail started piroetting real fast and the machine smacked the ground on it's side. New fiberglass blades, muffler, canopy, landing gear, main shaft, spindle, main drive gear, finset, clutch, fan casing, on and on. Over $300 destroyed. Know what it was? There are set screws which lock the pins which hold the tail drive gears in place. The factory either did not properly torque the set screws or did not Loctite them during assembly. One of the pins came out, causing the loss of tail control. And, in the middle of a roll, there was nothing I could do but hit the auto switch and watch it come in.
I've sent an e-mail to Ace asking what their policy is with respect to replacing parts damaged in a crash due to one of their ARF kits being improperly assembled. The customer should not have to disassemble an already assembled kit to make sure it was assembled correctly in the first place!
4/7 -- No Response From Ace
Well, it's been a week and still no word from Ace. I sent them a follow-up e-mail today. I also sent one to Dabling, an Ace rep who is helpful on their discussion forum. We'll see....
4/10 -- Help from Dabling
Dabling is an Ace representative who is very helpful on the Ace heli discussion forum. I've asked him for help in resolving this issue. He has sent me several e-mails and is doing his part in trying to get someone's attention. (Thanks, Dabling!) Ron Lund also sent me the name and number of someone at Ace who may be able to help. I'm going to see if Dabling can come through first.
4/13 -- Contact from Ace
Ace sent me an e-mail this morning stating that they are sending the parts requested. It will be good to get them and put the Raptor back in the sky where it belongs!