Thunder Tiger Raptor 60 Comes Under Review

Thunder Tiger Raptor 60 - The FIRST British Review!
By Jeff Barrington - Mid Devon Heli Club

Before I tell you what I think of the Raptor 60, I should tell you a little about myself. I have been building and flying model helis for about 15 years, I enjoy aerobatic flying rather than scale flying and I am leaning more towards 3D flying more recently. I am a club flyer and not sponsored by anyone so I speak as I find.

Thunder Tiger RAPTOR 30Thunder Tiger have produced the Raptor 60 after the great success of the 30 version which, is the best selling 30 size model in the UK, and having had one myself for the last four months, its popularity is not surprising, as it is reasonably priced, easy to build and set up, fully aerobatic and the spares are cheap. So having had other 60 size models in the past I was interested to see how the Raptor 60 would perform.

I have one of the first Raptor 60s to arrive in the UK, it is the ARTF version supplied complete with Thunder Tiger 70 motor. The basic design is similar to the 30 but much chunkier, the main frames are plastic sandwiched by metal plates, which are silver in colour, black frames would certainly have looked better but this is a minor detail I suppose. The other major change from the 30 is the shaft tail drive, which is driven by a split main gear allowing a driven tail in autorotations.

Thunder Tiger RAPTOR 60All there is to do on the ARTF version is to fit the tail boom and radio, although it's a good idea to check the security of all bolts and screws. It was easy to get the pitch set up of plus 10% minus 10% for 3D, so after a few hours it was ready to fly.

The Thunder Tiger engine started surprisingly easily and it was soon hovering with the supplied ready finished wooden blades. The first thing I noticed was a lot of foaming in the fuel tank and a vibration on the end of the tail boom. The vibration wasn't to bad so I hovered the tank full of fuel. On the next flight the tank foaming had reduced slightly so I am hoping that this will go as the motor runs in.

The following week I fitted SAB main and Tail blades as I don't normally use wooden blades and I thought this was bound to stop the tail vibration, but it was still there and just as bad. I decided to strip the head to investigate and I found that the feathering spindle was very tight in the rubbers; I thought this could be a problem so I refitted the spindle and rubbers with rubber grease.

Thunder Tiger RAPTOR 60Next time out the vibration had virtually disappeared so I flew a few circuits and tried a couple of loops and rolls, all was okay but the roll response was a bit slower than I like so I fitted X-Cell 3D paddles, it is much livelier now. Next came autorotations and as expected, no problem with the SAB blades.

So, the Raptor 60 has so far lived up to my expectations although there is still a slight vibration in the tail boom, which I will investigate further. In hindsight I think the kit version would have been the best option as there is nothing like building yourself and you would also have your choice of motor.

Any model can only be really tested over a period of time, so I will let you know how it goes at a later date.

Radio used: PCM 10X, JR8231 Servos & Futaba 502 Gyro.
SAB main and tail blades, X-Cell 3D paddles.

Approximate UK Prices:
Raptor 60 Kit: 450
Raptor 60 ARTF: 540
Raptor 70 ARTF: 630

Raptor 60 Update
One month on and the Raptor 60 tail vibration was still there and if anything worse than ever. Having tried everything I could not to cure the problem. I decided to take the model back to the shop and it was sent back to the importer for inspection. Meanwhile I had been learning from other owners around the world, that mine was not the only Raptor 60 with this problem. There is also an essential upgrade pack, which is being sent to all Raptor 60 owners. This includes stronger flybar control links because some of the original ones have failed resulting in the head coming apart in flight!

Rather than wait for the problems to be resolved I decided to have a refund. It's a shame that the Raptor 60 was not fully tested before it was released as I think the model has great potential, especially as the 30 version has such a great reputation.

So if you are thinking of buying a Raptor 60 I suggest you wait until all the snags have been ironed out. For more information on Raptors you can go to where there is also discussion forum.

This page has been contributed by Jeff Barrington
Web Site: Mid Devon Heli Club