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HelicopterCentury Radikal G20-30 N640 Hawk Predator › Surely the predator has a weakness.
09-04-2003 07:31 PM  14 years agoPost 1
choppertime

rrApprentice

Virginia Beach, VA

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Just looking for input on weaknesses that predator pilots have noticed especially in the 60 size. Anybody notice anything they don't like about them? I am still trying to decide on an alternate machine to fly but need some of the honest negitive view points too. Most of what I've read hear is 100% positive and I find that hard to believe.

_____________________
See ya at the flying field...

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09-04-2003 07:41 PM  14 years agoPost 2
choppengruven

rrKey Veteran

Flagler County, FL USA

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Firstly, I must qualify what I say by stating that I have owned a Predator, but never got to fly it. My cousin, however, has one in the air on a regular basis and the only problem he has really had was maintenance related and still, it never really presented a problem.

Most of the weakness in the Predator (so far) seems to stem from assembly, maintenance and setup issues.

The only major issue that I have seen/heard of is that there were some inconsistancies in the hole sizing on the frames.

Having built one and getting to look over everything this machine is made of and how things go together, I can honestly say that I am very impressed. Impressed enough to buy another one....hopefully this time I won't have to sell it.

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09-04-2003 07:53 PM  14 years agoPost 3
TroyE

rrApprentice

Orlando, FL.

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The predator will be my next bird (and first sixty size) due to all the good I have been reading about it. Like you I have not found any negative remarks except the instructions being vague. I have spent a lot of time researching and still have not found any nay sayers.

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09-04-2003 07:56 PM  14 years agoPost 4
Indrid

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Hamburg, NY

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probably the manual... everyone who has seen it agrees it needs to be redone.

aside from that, it is just minor things.... like solid CF fins (why on a 3d bird? sure they look nice.. but they slow piros)

cant really think of anything at the moment..

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09-04-2003 08:02 PM  14 years agoPost 5
choppengruven

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Flagler County, FL USA

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Hadn't really thought of the manual, but it probably should be redone for those who have little or no building experience.

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09-04-2003 08:31 PM  14 years agoPost 6
MG

rrKey Veteran

California

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Here are the things that I consider weak points.

1. Manual could be more detailed.
2. 3D fins would be much better than the solid.
3. This is personal but I do not like that high skids on the P-Max.
4. Stiffer O-Rings for the head should be included.
5. Tail fin should be mounted on the opposite side of the tail blades.
6. Instructions should be given on how to get rid of the silly grin after each flight

As for durability, the Predator line seems to be holding up well. I can tell you for a fact that Kam W., John B., Payton I., and myself have logged a lot of hours and gallons with no real problems. In fact, John B. has about 30 gallons alone thru his first Predator and is very impressed with the performance and durability. Having the privilege of seeing and hearing first hand the things to come, I can tell you that the Predator is still in its infancy and will only get better

I think you are doing the right thing by researching before you buy. There are other great machines to choose from like the Fury, Vigor, and X-Spec you just have to decide which machine is best for you

Time wasted = Life not lived to the fullest.

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09-04-2003 09:10 PM  14 years agoPost 7
choppertime

rrApprentice

Virginia Beach, VA

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Thanks for the input. I am comming from an Xcell background and it has been a set up nightmare for me at least. I would like to stumble on something that has a straight forward setup if that is possible.

Mike,

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See ya at the flying field...

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09-04-2003 09:16 PM  14 years agoPost 8
choppengruven

rrKey Veteran

Flagler County, FL USA

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If there is one thing that can be said about the Predator, it is that it is quite easy to setup and keep in the air. Only problems that I have really seen are issues with people who don't have much experience with helis, or those who don't have much, or any, experience with eCCPM.

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09-04-2003 09:19 PM  14 years agoPost 9
MG

rrKey Veteran

California

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choppengruven,

I totally agree with you.


choppertime,

If you have setup questions or problems make sure you check some of the older post or ask around in this forum. Good luck with what ever heli you choose

Time wasted = Life not lived to the fullest.

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09-04-2003 10:07 PM  14 years agoPost 10
ppljr

rrApprentice

Dallas, TX (Grapevine)

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Predator SE

Chopper Time,

The good:

I got my Predator SE in the mail on Tuesday and am ready to test fly today (happened to get a lot of time off unexpectadly). Anyway, compared to the X-cells, this thing is a piece of cake. I have built and old X-cell ST and a Fury expert. The heli is incredible. I would say that plastic makes up about 15% of the total parts count. It is all metal and CF. I think there is one bushing in the whole thing (washout assembly..I don't think I have seen any helis with a bearing here)...everything has bearings. My overall impression is that the thing was bulit like a tank, but doesn't have the weight of one. I am anxiously looking forward to the test flights.

If you are going to get one I would get the CNC servo arms, or some large diameter servo wheels like in the Fury.

The bad:

1 - Yes, the instruction are adequate and a bit vague in some parts. If you do get one, don't forget to read the supplement, or you'll end up wondering where the extra thrust bearing goes (in the SE kit).

2 - The elevator servo could/should be push pull as well. Why go trough all the trouble to put push pull on two of the three axes and forget the 3rd? Someone made their own mod to make this push pull and it looks great.

3 - Solid CF tail fins. I agree, why have solid CF tail fins on a 3D machine?

Hope this helps.

Pedro

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09-04-2003 10:10 PM  14 years agoPost 11
SteveH

rrProfessor

Texas

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Mike,

I have a Predator SE, and I also own an X-Cell gasser. The Predator was my first venture into eCCPM, and I will admit, the combination of the instruction manual of the Predator and the fact that my JR 8103 book did not even mention the fact that it would do eCCPM made my set up difficult.

However, having said that, I have learned the eCCPM setup and it is no big deal. I guarantee you the Predator even with the current instruction manual is MUCH easier to build and setup than the X-Cell gasser, and it does not require umpteen jillion upgrades to make it fly perfect.

Now, If you're into extreem 3D, you will want to stiffen the damping, put 3D fins on it, and longer tail blades. That's IT!

The government cannot give you anything without first taking it from someone else.

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09-05-2003 01:51 AM  14 years agoPost 12
Lift

rrElite Veteran

Houston, TX

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choppertime,
Weaknesses? ME!!! That is the only thing holding my Predator back.

Is there an area of the kit that is prone to premature failure?
NO

Is there an area of the kit that you have to constantly fool with or it will bite ya if you don't?
NO

Is there areas that could/should be modified?
YES
1) Push/Pull on elevator
2) Verticle fin moved to other side of boom
3) CF fins included in the kit
4) Extra bearing on the torque tube.
5) Improved rear servo mount geometry
All of these things are minor tweaks or feature changes. It's awesome as it is. If the above were done it would be even better!

Is the heli difficult to build?
NO! This thing bolts right up and you don't have to sit down and spend 3hrs shimming this, filing that, and getting anal about it to get it to fly great. Will it benefit from that? You bet! But, I have to admit that the Predator goes together quite well and wears in VERY nicely.

Is the heli high maintenance?
ABSOLUTELY NOT! I have more time on the Predator than anybody out there except for maybe Perry Kavros(Factory Test Pilot). I have built 4 of them(one from each of the batches that has been released so far) and I can tell you from experience that this is the lowest maintenance machine I have ever had. Because the frames are very rigid it stays tight and things just don't shift around. So, your gear meshes stay put, your alignments stay true, and all the components and hardware are over engineered.

It's not perfect as I mentioned above. But, I have to say that this heli really is great ship. Then, when you look at the pricing it just gets better. Look around at all the options like your doing and get what YOU want. There are no dog helis out now days and it really comes down to value shopping and support. If you get a Pred be sure to come back and drop us a line.

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09-05-2003 02:06 AM  14 years agoPost 13
radientdesigns

rrNovice

Honolulu, Hawaii

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I think the tail design could have been better. Maybe if the tail case was metal or if the tail gearing was improved, the tail would be more solid than what it is now. A Fury 91 versus a Predator 91 tail in flight is no comparison from what I have seen. Then again, you are paying more for the Fury so you sort of expect that.

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09-05-2003 03:07 AM  14 years agoPost 14
Indrid

rrKey Veteran

Hamburg, NY

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radientdesigns, from what i heard they have a new metal tail gearbox coming out, and possibly newer tail gears.

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09-05-2003 06:15 AM  14 years agoPost 15
Copter Doctor

rrProfessor

Enterprise/ft.rucker ,al- home of army aviation

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predator invasion

i have seen kam wring out his predator and he seems to be having a ball. the smile on his face is telling me that he is having fury fun at better than raptor prices. your flying is esily improved when cost of a crash is the least of your worry. kam's noon time demo at this year's ircha was quite awsome and he seem to have no worries being up first. seeing as how this machine is rough, tough and cost efficient, HOW ABOUT A VERSION FOR US SCALE GUYS!!! sure as it is, it looks to be really fuselage friendly but a stsndard mix option to the ccpm would make it easier to relocate servos to make room for a scale cockpit. other than that, i like its modular, low profile construction and its price. kam and john have proven to me that if it stays put doing all out wild 3d, then it will outlive me just doing easy relaxed stress free right side up all the time scale flight.

drive a rotary, fly a rotorcraft

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09-05-2003 12:33 PM  14 years agoPost 16
Kinger

rrElite Veteran

Granville, OH

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All I've got to say is I probably would have bought one if it wasn't for the fact that there were so many folks saying the instructions were not the greatest. As someone who has only built two Raptors, I was concerned that without a good instruction manual to read from that I'd have trouble both with the general build up of the heli along with the eCCPM setup. Risking a 60 size ship crash to poor building on my part just didn't make a lot of sense. Plus I don't have a lot of other fliers in my area who own one that would be willing to show me the ropes in getting one setup. Now if I lived in TX that would be a different story

Ended up with a Raptor 60 for my first large ship and it should be ready to go by next spring. (Moving into a new home this winter.) Maybe if Century has a change to the instruction manual prior to my Raptor build I'll consider selling it off in favor of a Pred.

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09-05-2003 02:15 PM  14 years agoPost 17
choppertime

rrApprentice

Virginia Beach, VA

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I think the folks at Century have done their home work on this one. And I definetely plan on buying the P-Max when I sell off some of my older but great running gear. I have some planes to sell also. The proceeds should more than cover the costs of a new P-Max. I think the greatest advantage of this machine is the ability to put ones mind at ease about crashing so you can quickly advance your skill level. I would absoutely hate to crash a Fury Extreme.

_____________________
See ya at the flying field...

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09-05-2003 03:43 PM  14 years agoPost 18
Lift

rrElite Veteran

Houston, TX

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Schuie Driver,
The Pred manual may be lacking but if you have heli building experience then it's not an insurmountable task. All kits released in the next batch(later this month) will have the clutch bell/lower bearing block pre-assembled. That was a troublesome area from the last batch. So, that's taken care of. The rest of the build is VERY easy. Then, when you get to the eCCPM setup even if you don't have any experience you can read my "Predator CCPM Setup Tips" post here on RR and ask questions when you get stuck. All in all it's a very basic machine to build and Century has done alot of it for you(head, auto unit, tail transmission, washout assembly, etc....). Basically it's a frame/boom/tail assembly job.

choppertime,
I think you will be overly impressed if you get a Max. They fly great! Now, a reality check.......don't think that the Predator is like crashing a Raptor. It IS a low cost leader but it's still a 90! And, because it's a top quality machine(glass canopy, cf blades, metal frames, CF shaft drive, etc) you typically replace more items than you would on a 30/50. So, it still adds up when you crash! But, when compared to the 90 sized ships it's dirt cheap. Just find the thread that was discussed about 3-4 weeks ago that MG posted about the "Predator crash kits" for some research.

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09-05-2003 04:23 PM  14 years agoPost 19
Kinger

rrElite Veteran

Granville, OH

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Thanks for the comments Lift. I guess I was just saying that I really have not had a BUNCH of heli building experience considering I have really only built one Raptor 30 and one Raptor 50. With a decent set of instructions, I'm sure I would have been just fine, but something about looking at the ones provided kinda threw me off. Especially with the eCCPM setup. My JR8103 doesn't have a very clear section on this either so I would have really been at a loss. Considering you are in contact with Century so much, please keep putting a bug in their ear to update the manual. Nothing has to be as elaborate as the MinAir manuals I've seen, but something along the lines of Hirobo's exploded diagrams and text where needed would be nice.

That's great news about the clutch bell/lower bearing block considering that was a problem that seemed to keep popping up in the construction threads. Seems like Century really is trying to do the best they can in helping folks get into this kit.

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09-05-2003 04:32 PM  14 years agoPost 20
DreamHobbies

rrApprentice

Long Beach, CA

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The issues I had with my Predator Max are:

The Carbon Fiber tail fins should have been the 3d type instead of the solid type. I remedied this by putting the plastic 3d fins on.

The O-rings in the head were so soft that even with an extra washer the head still teetered alot. MG is going to hook me up with some stiffer O-rings.

I consider these minor issues. Other than these issues, like Mark said, gotta figure out a way to wipe that silly grin off your face after flying it

Regards - Steve

Steve Campbell

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HelicopterCentury Radikal G20-30 N640 Hawk Predator › Surely the predator has a weakness.
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