Introduction to the Predator
The Century Predator is one of the latest helicopters to hit the market, with
it's competitive pricing and outstanding performance, it's bound to give the
current market leaders (Fury, Raptor, Freya and Vigor) a run for their money!
Century representative, Mark Grant, was able to answer a few quick questions
for me on this exciting new machine. Hopefully in the near future we'll be able
to arrange a full kit review.
Predator Frame set
Predator Tail box
First pictures of the upcoming Predator
· Package presentation - nice packaging, clearly
The external packaging is really nice. On the box there are several great shots
of the Predator and a few shots of recommended hardware such as the gyro and
· Completeness - all components present and
in good condition?
The components that make up the Predator are of very high quality. The CNC machine
work is spot on and the plastics (very little) are some of the best I have seen.
· Clearly marked instructions?
If you are new to building the Predator instructions will offer a bit
of a challenge. Although the manual has great pictures and include enough detail
to finish the project it would be nice if more detail was included, especially
in sections that refer to the eCCPM setup.
· Comprehensive photographs?
The saving grace for the Predator manual is the pictures. They are of high quality
and provide great visual aid during the building process.
· Comprehensive exploded diagrams?
The Predator kit does not include any exploded diagrams
· Detailed step-by-step instructions in sections
that correspond to packages in the box?
The bags them selves are not numbered but the bags are for the most part packaged
per step, however, I have found some parts packaged with parts that are needed
in later steps.
· Comprehensive instructions - ie not left
wondering what is supposed to happen?
There are some parts of the manual that will require a bit more thinking for
· Parts count, simple low parts count or lots
of different bits and pieces?
The parts count for such a robust helicopter is very low.
· Logical assembly method? Ie pieces come together
The majority of the building process is well thought out and all the parts fit
very well. There have been reports of some kits having holes drilled incorrectly
but for the most part the Predator goes together well.
· Requirement of special tools to construct?
If you have built a couple of helicopters before you more than likely have everything
you need to build the Predator. It requires the same tools as any other 60-90
size eCCPM machine.
· Length of time to assemble.
The Predator builds really quick and easy. The builder can have the main mechanics
built within eight hours. However, I would stress that extra time is taken to
ensure a smooth and great flying machine.
· Any difficult sections?
The only conceivable difficulty would be in the eCCPM setup. If you are new
to ECCPM it may be a little confusing at first.
· Describe the construction features, ie CCPM,
single piece frames, split gear drive, shaft drive, o-ring dampeners, etc.
The Predator is a stack framed aluminium heli that offers eCCPM, constant driven
tail (SE & MAX), Torque tube, rear mounted engine for easy glow plug access,
full ball bearing, O-ring head dampeners.
· Canopy construction and mounting?
The canopy on the Predator is one of the best in the industry. It has a very
nice pre-cut fibreglass gel coated canopy.
· Carbon/plastic/metal fittings etc?
The Predator features carbon fibre, boom supports, carbon fiber torque tube,
and carbon fibre rudder pushrod.
· Head setup? Paddles, adjustable flybar ratio?,
leading blade grips, pitch range etc.
The Predator head is fully adjustable and comes with 20g or 30g paddles, and
is fully ball raced.
· Initial impressions.
i. When you first open the box you will be amazed at the quality of the parts.
You will find yourself wondering how can they provide such high quality parts
for so little money.
· Adjustments made after initial flights.
i. I did not have to make any adjustments after the first few initial flights.
· Hovering performance.
i. The hovering characteristics of the Predator are right on par with the big
named FAI machines.
· Initial fast forward flight/aerobatics.
i. The Predator track exceptionally well during FF flight with no pitchy tendencies.
· 3D performance.
i. 3D is where the Predator shines. I have flown many on the current 3D machines
that are out on the market and I cannot name one that 3Ds better than the Predator.
· Extent of damage (ie more or less damage
that 'usual' in a crash).
i. Since the Predator is of a metal stacked frames design. It may encounter
more frame damage that a two framed heli. However, that does not mean that the
Predator does not hold up well in a crash.
· Weak points (parts that just about always
i. I have well over 100 plus flight on my original Predator and she appears
to be wearing well. The only items I have replaced due to wear and tear were
a few canopy grommets
· Cost of 'usual suspects' - boom, spindle,
blade grips, mainshaft etc.
i. Compared to all other 60/90 size machines the Predator is very affordable
when considering crash cost. Here are a few parts prices.
ii. Boom 10.95
iii. Spindle 8.95
iv. Main blade grips 12.95
v. Main shaft 8.95
Ease of repair etc.
i. The Predator is very easy to repair. The design is very modular lending to
ease of frame components.
Lighthouse hobby in Lockport, NY has a standing offer to let anyone hover the store's helicopter for...
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