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Thunder Tiger Titan X50/Raptor Flybarless Conversion Kit

Chris Mulcahy converts the Thunder Tiger Titan X50 to flybarless using the new flybarless head from Thunder Tiger.

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Introduction


Heli:Thunder Tiger Titan X50
Head:Thunder Tiger X50/Raptor Flybarless Conversion
Gyro:Futaba CGY750
Blades:Rail Blades
Manufacturer:Thunder Tiger
Distributed by:Great Planes
Price:$139.99

When I first saw the flybarless conversion head, it was at IRCHA earlier this year on one of Team Thunder Tiger's X50. As soon as I saw it I knew that this was what I was going to do to my X50, which at the time was waiting for me to build it back home. I'm a big fan of flybarless helis, and as much as I love the X50 I was thrilled when the flybarless conversion kit was released. The head can also be used to convert the Raptor 30/50, but mine was destined for the X50. To see the recent review of the X50, check it out here.

Kit Contents

The kit comes with everything you need to convert your rotor head to the flybarless version. This includes the new head, mixing arms, and replacement servo bellcranks. One of the unique features of the kit are the pushrods that connect the blade grips to the swash. They are of the turnbuckle type, which allow for the smallest of adjustments (with the included tool) to make sure your blades are in track while keeping the plastic link oriented correctly.

Gyro

An important item to consider when doing your conversion is the gyro you choose. I was already using the Futaba GY701, so it was a natural progression for me to switch to the CGY750. The CGY750 has all of the features of the GY701, plus it is a 3-axis flybarless gyro. One of the advantages to me, was being able to leave the governor sensor setup from the 701 on the heli, because the CGY750 uses the same sensor. This made installation a breeze, and the familiarity with the governor and rudder gyro setup was a bonus.

I'm using the 8FG, and combined with the CGY750 this is where the 8FG really shines. Being able to program all three gyros from the same screen on the 8FG is a great feature. Following the advice of Bobby Watts (his setup videos for the CGY750 are on youtube) I assigned the aileron and elevator gyro function to a single switch so that I could change between AVCS and Normal mode for the trim flight. There is a lot to cover on the CGY750, but this article is about the head conversion, I may go more in depth at a later date on the CGY750 as I become more familiar with it.

Blades

This was a great opportunity for me to try out the new Rail Blades from Matt Botos. I chatted with Matt at IRCHA, and it was great to see the passion that he has for the hobby. Matt is a fantastic heli pilot, and the fact that he is designing and selling his own line of helis (and now blades) comes as no surprise. To give you an idea of what these flybarless specific blades are all about, read the text below which is taken straight from the Rail Blades website.

In the winter of 2010, Botos Design & Distribution Inc. set out to design and manufacture a more efficient model helicopter rotor blade for both flybar and flybarless helicopters. Extensive research was performed involving both flybarless electronics experts as well as aerodynamics experts which uncovered airfoil efficiencies that are now implemented in the design of Rail Blades. The efficiencies of this custom airfoil are revealed in faster forward flight speed, more stable flight, as well as cooler running power systems. Other widely used “standard” airfoils such as NACA-0013 showed dramatic increases in amperage draw and motor loading as well as less collective and cyclic response than the custom Rail Blade airfoil.

Assembly

The first thing I did was disassemble the head to make sure everything was thread locked. It turned out only about half of the parts were, proof once again that doing this is always good practice. The blade grips appear to be the same as the flybar version, using the same bearings, but the head block is obviously different. There washout is integrated into the head block, which saved time from having to line it up. Assembly was minimal, and the switch was completed in very little time. As mentioned earlier, the swash/blade grip pushrods are turnbuckles. One end of the turnbuckle has a reverse thread on it so that you make small adjustments without having to turn the plastic links around. The plastic links are one way, so it's nice to be able to adjust the lengths without worrying about which way around the link is. A small tool is included for adjusting the turnbuckle, but in practice it was easier to pop the pushrod off and do the adjusting with a ball link tool. The plastic links from the mixing arms (the ones that used to operate the washout) were very tight, and needed a little work to make them snap a little easier on to the swash. The included spacers for the Rail Blades were not needed as the blades fit the grips snugly.

When it came to dialing in my pitch range I realized that I needed something to use as reference. I took the small attachment and rod that comes with T-Rex kits and mounted it to the head button of the X50 with a longer screw. This gave me a definite reference point, and I dialed in 14 degrees negative and positive pitch, with 10 degrees for cyclic.

Flying

The upgrades flew great! I was able to get a full 14 degrees +/- pitch out of the blades, which running at 2100 rpm and above made the X50 a rocket ship. Stock setup of the CGY750 out of the box was already better than other flybarless gyros that I have tried, and I'm looking forward to tweaking the settings a little more to see what I can get out of it. The consistent pirouette speeds in either direction were spot on, and the tail held it's course through any backwards maneuver that I could throw at it. I did notice a little wobble when doing autos, as the head speed was bleeding off, and found out that I need to dial in less gain on the elevator and aileron gyros when in hold mode to eliminate it. I had to perform a trim flight to begin with, which involves changing the elevator/aileron gyro gains to normal mode, hovering the helicopter and using the transmitter trims to trim out the heli, and then landing and resetting the gyro's centers before switching back to AVCS mode. Once that was done the heli was ready to go!

The Rail Blades were awesome. They are a lot quieter than all the other blades I have flown, and have a very crisp feel to them. The biggest difference I saw was in fast forward flight when performing rolls, it's super slick and lightning fast. This has to be attributed to the custom airfoil, as well as the unique blade tips. I also had plenty of "pop" when punching the collective, and the R96 tail blades did a fantastic job holding the tail. I'm liking the the blades more each time I fly it, they perform every bit as good as they look (which is pretty cool!).

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Below is a quick video of myself trying it all out. I'm having a lot of fun with this setup, now I just need to find somewhere to buy nitro fuel in bulk!

Conclusion

The conversion to flybarless on the X50 was well worth it. The X50 was already an awesome machine, and the flybarless conversion really took it to the next level. Combined with the CGY750 and Rail Blades, it's faster, sharper, and smoother all at once, and is definitely a machine that I'll never out fly! The quality of the flybarless head is excellent, and the parts went together exactly the way that they should, all in all it was a great build.

Pros:
Easy Conversion
Makes your X50 (or raptor) Flybarless!

Cons:
Washout links were a little tight

Last edited by Angela H; Dec 01, 2011 at 01:04 PM..

Discussion

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Old Dec 01, 2011, 01:19 PM
Registered User
Ireland
Joined Apr 2001
4,031 Posts
spindle?

does this head use the standard spindle (the same as the plastic head) ?

and the fut gyro does it have self leveling?
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Old Dec 01, 2011, 03:05 PM
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Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
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It uses the same main shaft, and the CGY750 doesn't have self leveling.
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Old Dec 02, 2011, 01:48 AM
Victoria Super Mortem
UBILDIT's Avatar
BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA
Joined Jan 2006
1,459 Posts
Nice

Chris,
Do you think that since the Titan 50 and the raptor 550e being an electric of the same size, that as long as the shaft size is the same, this flybarless head should work for the 550e as well? Just best guess. LOL...
Thanks. I enjoyed your review.
Bo
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Old Dec 02, 2011, 05:11 AM
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Ireland
Joined Apr 2001
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so different spindle?

Quote:
Originally Posted by CSpaced View Post
It uses the same main shaft, and the CGY750 doesn't have self leveling.
so its not compatible with the plastic head spindles?
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Old Dec 02, 2011, 09:14 AM
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Oak Ridge, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UBILDIT View Post
Chris,
Do you think that since the Titan 50 and the raptor 550e being an electric of the same size, that as long as the shaft size is the same, this flybarless head should work for the 550e as well? Just best guess. LOL...
Thanks. I enjoyed your review.
Bo
I'd hate to steer you wrong, I don't have the Raptor 550e in front of me to check. That being said, if the main shaft is the same size you should be able to adapt the head to it. You just might need different sized pushrods if the head height it a little different.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmulder View Post
so its not compatible with the plastic head spindles?
Sorry, I misunderstood - you want to know if the feathering shaft from the plastic head will work in the FBL head? I believe that they are the same part: #PV1361

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...VSEARCH=pv1361
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Old Dec 02, 2011, 03:35 PM
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United States, MO, Springfield
Joined Jul 2010
3,503 Posts
love the blades be nice to see them compared to the Edge FBL blades
any idea if they will have a 425mm set for 500 size helis
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Old Dec 02, 2011, 03:59 PM
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Oak Ridge, NC
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I don't know what the plans are for more sizes, personally I'm hoping for some rail blades for my 550
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Old Dec 04, 2011, 09:55 AM
Victoria Super Mortem
UBILDIT's Avatar
BIRMINGHAM ALABAMA
Joined Jan 2006
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Understood!

Thanks Chris. The only reason I even thought about asking is that I did discover that the 550E is the same size as the 50 Titan. Has the same tail boom and main shaft as well. But, you are right. I would probably need new pushrods other than those that come with the flybarless head. I'm interested because my 550E is in the Augusta scale body from Thunder Tiger and would look even more scale without a flybar. thanks again for your cool review.

Bo
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Old Dec 26, 2011, 07:43 PM
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Joined Dec 2008
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Fuel...

Best deal I've seen on fuel has been to find Wildcat visiting a model show. I have purchased Wildcat CY30 at the Toledo Weak Signals Show the past few years for $19/gallon. They have an 18 wheeler backed up to the facility, selling by the case. $76/case is about as affordable as premium fuel gets.
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Old Apr 02, 2014, 01:33 PM
devIAtion..one TX to bind them
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Canada, ON, Georgina
Joined Aug 2011
1,103 Posts
Anyone know the length of the turnbuckles on the flybarless head kit? Thunder Tiger no longer includes them and only provides normal links.

cheers
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