Align is one of the most popular RC heli manufactures in the world and their 450 sized electrics and their 600 sized electrics and nitro’s can be found at almost any fun fly.
But that wasn’t enough – they’ve done it again with their newest release, an in between sized model dubbed the T-Rex 500 which will be the topic of this review.
The T-Rex 500 comes in 2 styles – a G10 version and a carbon fiber version.
The MSRP for the carbon kit is $559.99 US and the G10 version goes for $519.99 – the street prices are typically $20 or so less than the MSRP.
- Electric power system.
- Simple and light weight design provides awesome flight performance and extreme 3D capability.
- Rigid fiberglass frame design.
- Beautiful factory painted fiberglass canopy.
- Rotor head/tail with thrust bearings.
- Direct-to-swash CCPM linkage.
- Center of gravity of Battery tray designed close to the rotor head.
- Tail rotor drive belt system.
- Fully driven tail auto rotation system.
- Tail servo boom mount.
- Length: 850mm
- Height: 310mm
- Main Blade Length: 425mm
- Main Rotor Diameter: 970mm
- Tail Rotor Diameter: 200mm
- Motor Drive Gear: 12T/13T
- Main Drive Gear: 162T
- Autorotation Tail Drive Gear: 145T
- Tail Drive Gear: 31T
- Drive Gear Ratio: 1:13.5:4.68 / 1:12.46:4.68
- Weight(w/o power system): 955g
- Flying Weight: Approx 1700g
(please click on thumbnails to view full sized images)
Included in the kits are a pair of 425mm carbon fiber blades (fiberglass for the G10), a 60 amp brushless ESC and a 500L 1,600kv motor with pinion 12T / 13T gear.
The kit is good quality (like most of Align’s stuff) and inexpensive when compared to what similar models would cost. The frame on both the carbon and G10 version is very strong and rigid and it comes with a good looking pre-painted fberglass canopy.
The kit was easy to build thanks to the comprehensive 42 page instructional manual with tons of pictures and exploded diagrams and all the parts came in numbered bags which are grouped accordingly ot the build steps.
I’m not going to get into details on the build as there is lots of detailed information on it avialable at:
The kit comes with a belt driven tail, though Align is promising a toruqe tube upgrade in the near future which could likely help with autorotations.
It also has a good flexibilty in terms of the batteriy configuration you use. It will accept anything from two 3S LiPo’s to a larger capacity 6S pack. There’s not a ton of extra space for larger LiPo’s – though it’s not really necessary.
The recommended battery setup configurations are:
1. 4S, 3,200 mAh
2. 5S, 3,200 mAh
3. 6S, 2,200 mAh
4. 6S, 2,500 mAh
5. 3S x 2, 2,200 mAh
6. 3S x 2, 2,500 mAh
With a 6S 2,500mAh LiPo batteryyou can expect a flying time between 8 – 9 minutes. Or with two 3S 2,200mAh batteries (from your T-Rex 450) you can expect a flying time between 7 – 8 minutes depending on your flying style.
While the T-Rex 500 uses the mini rudder servos, many people are using the rudder servo mount from the T-Rex 600 to fit a standard sized servo with a little more umph.
The ESC has a built in BEC which is switchable between 5V and 6V depending on the gyro / servo setup you want to use which gives choices, choice, and choices.
The Spartan DS 760 and JR’s 770 gyros seem to be the most commonly used and are are taking a backseat to the Futaba GY401 especially among 3D flyers.
In terms of flight, the T-Rex is very snappy, agile and responsive as you’d expect from a setup of this size. The 500L brushless motor aslo has enough powere to satisfy almost any pilot.
It’s a lot more stable than the T-Rex 450 in a hover and actually flies similarily to the T-Rex 600.
Even though it’s bigger than the 450 T-Rex with a flying weight that’s more than twice as much, it’s still only half that of the T-Rex 600, making it quite susceptible to winds over 10mph. My recommendation, unless you’re a experienced RC helicopter pilot confident in your abilities, I’d keep it inside on windy days.
Overall, the T-Rex 500 would make an excellent RC helicopter for someone who’s just starting out.
It’s big enough to be fairly stable, even in light winds, but it’s small enough that you can hover it in your backyard or at the local soccer field without worrying too much about flying into something.
And another great thing about the T-Rex 500 is that crashes are relatively inexpensive and parts are readily available.
If you’re looking to buy your first RC helicopter – this would make a great one – but practice on a simulator first.
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