Originally Posted by OICUFly12
Which parts wear out quickly?
The parts that don't have bearings, really.
1. The pushrod-guide balls on the boom are plastic and the vibration of the pushrod hogs them out within a couple of cases. Cheap to replace, but irritating. Also, the vibration tends to also wear out the guide rails that hold the balls, so you typically replace both at the same time. I tried replacing the whole assembly with one long CF rod, but apparently it vibrated at just the right frequency to snap off the metal pushrod part in-flight! Lucky to quickly feel what was happening and auto down with no damage.
2. The pushrod itself is pretty close to the horizontal fin nylock nuts, and tends to scrape them a little bit in-flight. Pushrod failed at the start of the third case because it had worn & flexed enough to break the pushrod right at that point. Repairs were: main shaft, spindle shaft, blades, landing skids from a bad pirouetting auto at that point.
3. The elevator bellcrank comes with bushings by default. Mine have wallowed out a bit. That's why they sell the bearings as an upgrade for this part.
4. The tail-pins that drive the tail pitch slider wear down the ring that they're set in, and the pins themselves. Any time you have a plastic-on-plastic joint you'll get pretty bad wear pretty quickly. Audacity also sells an upgrade for the pins to metal. If you fly a lot like I do, you need the upgrade. Most people are lucky to burn a case of fuel in a summer on a .50... I'm glad to have burned through 3 cases
5. The bleach-bottle canopy that comes with it doesn't like to sit in the sun at the field at all. Warped pretty badly. The Raptor canopy has a bit thicker plastic and seems to handle the heat better. Then again, I HATED the Raptor canopy retention method as several times I had the canopy pop off in flight until I hacked in some retaining bolts... I have a fiberglass, white T-Rex 700 canopy that I just need to paint.
6. Hate the clunk line. Pick up some Hayes Clunk Line from the hobby store (it's the black stuff) on the initial build or you'll get a split line within a case or two. Also hated the fuel-tank-nipple attachment until I learned the proper technique to attach it without hassles.
All that said, the Pantera has some really killer features that made me happy:
* Cone-style alignment mechanism for the clutch and fan. This allows me to get runout down to .002", which is much better than my old Raptor that often ran at .010" or worse. Less vibration == less wear.
* Really tough main frame that's survived 3 hard crashes so far with no damage.
* Cheap carbon & FG blades ($45 & $35, respectively) that hold up to my style of flying just fine and track well, though they're a bit heavier than the competition. You can, of course, run these 600mm blades on any .50.
* Incredibly smooth head compared to a 600n, but very sensitive around center. You have to fly it to feel the difference. This makes a HUGE difference in sport aerobatics. I can fly it in FFF the whole length of the field almost hands-off! The 600n is pretty twitchy without mods. Then again, you have to make changes to the Pantera head to get it to 3D the way a 600n can out of the box, too.
* Engineered-in mounts for retracts and in-flight mixture adjustment. I don't use 'em, so they are just lightening holes for me
* Much cheaper crash costs than many other models. The newer, thicker landing gear add a little weight but a lot of robustness.
* US support. Speaks English natively. John Beech is pretty opinionated and strong-headed, but if you have a problem with his heli, you can get the designer on the phone.
* Big tank == longer flights. Important for this 4-year-flying newbie just now working on inverted hovering and backward flight
Also the tank is engineered to withstand crankcase pressure if you use a YS rather than OS-style muffler pressure. Nice, because many competing designs tend to swell the tank and distort the frames under crankcase pressure.
* Easy upgrade path designed-in to drop in a .60-.90 engine. The power of a Hyper 50 is less-than-impressive at our altitude. An OS .91 in this thing makes it absolutely un-boggable, and the big tank makes sense then. I don't have that upgrade in mine right now, but I plan to do so one day...
* Can run up to 640mm blades stock.
All that said, the Pantera 50 is really designed as a "beater" helicopter, not a showpiece, competing much more as a Raptor alternative than a T-Rex 600n alternative.