I did it. Thunder Tiger E550FBL!


Time to call the wife. Or maybe I should grab some flowers on the way home and tell her in person, LOL!

I had been eyeing the new Thunder Tiger E550 FBL Raptor since I heard about it a few weeks ago. I have been letting my heli spidy sense lag a bit while my focus has been placed on multi-rotors and fixed wing aircraft, but I’ve had the bug to get some heli action going again. I really want a 550 sized heli because its still using the 6S power system, isn’t crazy expensive, seems much bigger than my 500, and still small enough for my front yard…at least as long as I am not doing big air stuff!

I’m still pretty cheap…as I am sure you are aware, so the thought of spending $800-$1000 on a heli makes my head hurt a bit.  However, this thing came out with an ARF price of $650!  Okay…you have my attention. All I need is batteries and a receiver?  It’s a Thunder Tiger, which seems to have a cult following and makes quality helis? Now you really have my attention!

Now I’ve talked to some guys, and I have read lots of forum posts…and I realize there is a concern that the electronics packages is, well, meh.  Okay, it’s not the top of the line stuff….but it’s likely to be better than the stuff I would put into a kit anyway. Remember, I told you I was cheap! : )  Here’s the component breakdown:

  • Airframe: Two-piece plastic with large battery compartment

  • Rotor Head: 140° eCCPM for precise and responsive 3D performance

  • Motor: Ace RC Ripper OBL44/11-30H 1150kV brushless

  • Tail Rotor: belt driven

  • Electronic Speed Control: Castle Creations Talon 90, pre-programmed

  • Gyro: Ace GT5.2 3 axis flybarless, pre-programmed

  • Servos: Three high-torque, metal-gear cyclic servos, one DS0606n digital tail servo

  • Main Blades: 21.7″ (550mm) carbon fiber

  • Landing Gear: Constructed of nylon with low-profile aluminum skids

  • Tail Boom: Aluminum

  • Stress-Tech Guarantee: One year plastic parts replacement guarantee, if a covered Stress-Tech part breaks during the first year of ownership it will be replaced free of charge. (US and CA only)

Till now, the only type of heli I have flown (other than micros) is Tarot (Align) 120° direct to swash. So, I am curious what a 140° Bell Crank setup might be like. There are other features I liked as well, such as the ability to change batteries without removing the canopy and the inexpensive replacement parts.  The one year plastic parts guarantee is pretty awesome too!

I was looking at other helis too, but the dollars kept adding up. I figured I had some time to shop around because the Raptor E550 was out of stock anyway. I signed up for a notification when stock arrived, but never got anything. Then today, I happened to pop onto the Tower Hobbies website and saw that they were in stock. WHAT?!  Great… now I have a decision to make.

Nick Maxwell does a great job introducing this new heli, although skeptics believe he’s not flying it with stock electronics. : )

There are two Tower Hobbies promos running right now which came into play.  If you are a member of their savings club ($9.99 annual membership fee) you can get:

  1. Free shipping on orders over $99 (valid until March 31)

  2. $100 off on orders over $665 (valid until February 28)  USE CODE 011H8

I put that last one in red, because you only have a week left for that one! That’s the one that made me press the “Buy Now” button!

So let’s work this out.

Raptor E550FBL is $650

Membership fee is $10

I need $5 more. Oh…I need some CA kicker. $9.00?  I’ll take it.

So, just buying the membership, the heli, and a can of CA kicker, I can now save $100 and get free shipping.


Thunder Tiger E550FBLExpected arrival?  As soon as this weekend or next week at the latest.  I can’t wait. Now I need to get some batteries.

So, of course you can expect and unboxing and assembly video. — assuming my wife lets me live that long! : )