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Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

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Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Old 01-24-2003, 03:51 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Guys,
In case you didn't know Century is expected to FINALLY release the Predator 60/90 in mid-February. Per Phil Noel, Century design team member:
****************************
The Predator 60 should be released during the first half of February. There will be a number of versions available. They are all the same except for a few cosmetic differences.
CN1300A - ($495.00) 60 size without mainblades, that comes with plastic fins and tail blades, slipper clutch, aluminum tail boom supports.
CN1300A - ($520.00) as the CN1300A but with a set of ARF Aerotech Plus 690mm mainblades.
CN1301 - ($690.00) as the CN1300A but with a constant tail drive, 700mm Rotor Tech Carbon Fiber main, C/F tail blades, C/F tail fins, C/F boom supports with bridge.
CN1302 - ($730.00) as CN1301 but with longer boom and gearing for 80/90 engines and 720mm RotorTech mainblades and longer C/F tail blades.
******************************

This is a big issue because after all these years Century has finally entered the larger heli class. They have been working on this project for almost 2 yrs and have been VERY cautious about releasing a product not ready for the market. Some of the designs on the Predator are unique and VERY promising. I don't have a pic but you can see some here.
Old 01-24-2003, 04:16 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

WOW! Look what I just found:

The Predator
Old 01-24-2003, 06:12 PM
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Default Predator

I had a chance to look at this last summer and talk with Peter Chow at some length about the design of it. I think this is a competent design. It's quite similar to the Xcell, particularly the head, but has larger bearings in the clutch and bigger t/r gears that should obviate some of the problems that the Xcell has had in those areas. It's reasonably light, but don't expect it to weigh in at 9#. I think 10 or 10 1/4 are more reasonable estimates. The main frames are all machined aluminum and I expect that most crashes will result in some bent metal and a major rebuild effort to set it right. I don't think you'll go wrong buying it, but I'd like to see how they hold up before I spend my money. Peter is sensitive to the problems that Century/ Heli-world has had with some of their previous helis and with customer service, and I think is honestly trying to improve things. I'll be interested to hear what folks think of it when it's finally released. Steve.
Old 01-24-2003, 06:38 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Look me up Steve. I'll be the guinea pig......
Old 01-24-2003, 06:49 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Payton;
I'd be more than happy to be the guinea pig, too, if they'd give me one to try. The one I saw, I believe was the only one in existence at that time and the only person who got a chance at the controls was Perry Kavros. Let me know how you like it, but Peter is a true capitalist and don't expect him to be giving many of them away. Steve.
Old 01-24-2003, 07:17 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Steve, do you have any experience with the basic Hawk 30 mechs? I'm still waffling over this decision about what to get for my grandson. Fortunately, he's all wrapped up in the r/c truck game right now, so I've got some breathing room...<G>

Payton, I appreciate all the info you've provided. I hope you're not offended by my continued questions of others.

Steve
Old 01-24-2003, 07:40 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Steve,
I've talked to Peter and Phil Noel about this machine and they have made some substantial modifications since last summer. My only wish is that the frames come annodized black. Phil told me that they would but the photos show them in natural. It might be because it is easier to photo the mechanics in that color.

Don't know. All I know is that they served up a frontal assualt on the Fury with this design. There's no doubt about it. I don't know if it will measure up but the pricing is sure tuff to beat! Just think, you can get the equivalent size machine as the Fury Extreme WITH CF blades for $730 bucks!!!! Man, that is pretty cold hearted.....
Old 01-24-2003, 08:04 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Man I saw that while back but go to busy to post it. It really caught my attention because the specs practically would make you take a hard look at the heli. After a few have flown it I would possibly be interested in purchasing one to Lift......It looks like a great ship..
Old 01-24-2003, 08:14 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Oh yeah, in addition to the 720mm Rotor Tech carbon fiber blades the CN1302 version comes with:

Carbon Fiber boom supports
Carbon Fiber tail fins(beautiful black weave solid fins)
Rear Servo mount w/CF pushrod
and.......CF Rotor Tech tailblades!

All this for $730. hmmmmmmmmmm
Old 01-24-2003, 08:26 PM
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Default Steve C

I've had a Falcon - one of the original ones- and had a lot of niggling problems with it: out of balance fans, slipping clutches, overheating motors, cracked side frames, sloppy swashplate, t/r drive windup, etc. The current Falcon/Hawk/Raven helis are considerably better than that first effort, but I recently bought a Raptor 50 instead. Buying a Hawk sort of marries you to Heli World, and while Peter is trying to change things, it still makes me nervous. I have had very good service from them, but personally know others whose experience has been less satisfactory. The Raptors have been almost bulletproof in my hands, and fly great, so why change? Right now I'm waiting to see how poeple do with the Predator before committing my money. I think it's going to be good, but it's taken a while to sort out their smaller helis and I don't care to be a tester for anyone, even if the heli flies good (which it should, judging by who they've copied from). Hope this helps. Steve.
Old 01-24-2003, 08:40 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Who's offering a Push/Pull 120 or 140 CCPM machine?

I haven't seen one..........
Old 01-24-2003, 10:34 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

All I know is that they served up a frontal assualt on the Fury with this design. There's no doubt about it.

Pardon me while I laugh.


Don't get me wrong, it looks like a nice machine (barring the slipper), I may even get one some day, but they (Century) has alot to prove to be before I buy a 60-90 from them. Too much money to get a lemmon.
Old 01-25-2003, 03:29 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

The CN1302 is a CONSTANT DRIVE equipped package similar to what you get in the Fury Extreme. Except for $730 they are giving you the 720mm CF Rotor Techs and alot of CF goodies. Your not getting that with the Extreme.

The CN1301 is a CONSTANT DRIVE equipped package similar to what you get in the Fury Expert. Except for $690 they are giving you the 700mm CF Rotor Techs and alot of CF goodies. Your not getting that with the Expert.

If you want to cut costs and get into the heli a little cheaper then get the CN1300. I don't know where else you can buy a CCPM 60 size heli with a CF torque tube for $495. Do you?

Again, I never implied that the Predator was better than the Fury line. That has to be proven to me as well. I will be able to tell because I OWN one. But, what I am implying is from a marketing and design point this heli is obvioiusly Century's offering to the 3D crowd that appreciates a CCPM layout with alot of fine quality parts. And.......that would be the Fury. In addition they have mentioned that this is the mechanics set to be used on their 60 size scale line.

My point is this.......for the MONEY you are getting a MUCH better deal with the Predator than you are with the Fury. If you stack them up feature-to-feature and price-to-prices the Predator is already coming out ahead. Now, if the thing actually flies worth a crap then it might be an even better deal.
Old 01-25-2003, 07:23 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

"Who's offering a Push/Pull 120 or 140 CCPM machine?"

"I haven't seen one.........."

Wouldn't the Vigor CS fit that bill? Or am I missing something?
Old 01-26-2003, 12:48 AM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Steve9534,

Yes, it helps a lot.

You would think that, with all the different firms making these things, there would be a clear-cut winner to choose for someone who has some experience and knows what he likes/is looking for. But I'm having more difficulty making this decision than my wife does deciding what pair of shoes to wear every morning...

To make it even more aggravating, I had about decided to add the R-30 V2 to the list of candidates, when all the problems with ACE/TT USA surfaced.

I'm about to the point of tossing a freaking quarter in the air...

Steve
Old 01-26-2003, 01:47 AM
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Default Payton

Whether or not it's a good deal depends more on how it flies and whether it holds together or not, two things that can't be defined on paper. Right now I can fly a 60 size heli that costs $520.00 with some decent glass blades and has held up pretty well for me. I've got another that cost an extra $100.00 for a long t/b, larger clutch, and different pinion to go with the YS80. I don't see anyone beating that deal, and I love how my Raptors fly. I'd buy a Predator if I thought I'd gain something somewhere, but for the present the Raptors are cheaper in whatever variation and fly great. Ace's problems are a concern, but so far I've not been unable to fly because I couldn't find parts for them. Steve.
Old 01-26-2003, 02:24 AM
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Default Preditor etc.

Steve C

"Clear cut winner"? I think the clear cut winner in ANY catagory would be: Any heli that is the lowest price that proves to be relatively easy to assemble (no need for dial indicating, aligning accurately, balancing to the nth degree, shimming for critical gear mesh etc.), is relatively maintainance free, is easy and inexpensive to repair, has a history of consistant parts supply, can be easily set up to be stable and aerobatic, remains slop free for a long time even when pushed hard every day.

Many satisfy a number of these, but few do so with all. But since getting into the more recent offerings from Century (my first was a Hawk III and a Falcon SEV1), I really think they are the ones that finally have done it. All of the above are very well addressed and proven over the past 2 or 3 years.

And their commitment to constantly improve for minimal price increases has impressed me to no end. Having been flying these things since the early 80's and burning a lot of fuel in many different models yearly for many years. I have learned that there are certain "systems" in any heli that work well and issue free. Most are found on the Centuries, including the Predator.

Understanding the dynamics of the major systems used in a heli can really help one figure the strengths or weaknesses of most any system without ever flying it. That alone can help one initially decide what heli is worth considering and what heli isn't.

The clutch system on the Hawk and Falcon is a good case in point. This is an area that causes many newbies and even more experienced flyers a lot of problems in many designs. The system on the Hawk and Falcon is the most dependable by far that I have ever used.

Having the clutch, clutch bell and fan all attached to the engines crankshaft means that alignment and nth degree balancing is not required. Because they are all attached so close to the front engine bearing means any slight imbalance is not magnified by a long enough moment arm (the farther from the engines front bearing any mass rotates amplifies any alignment or balance problem) to render it of much consequence. The clutch to bell clearance does not need any "tweaking" as in other designs to insure long clutch wing life. Because the clutch and bell are automatically aligned in all dimensions there will not ever be any clutch wing compression and decompression at every cycle of the engine to fatique the attachment points.

The large bearings supporting the clutch in the clutch bell are only required to turn during engine start up. Unlike most other designs that have the bell supported in the top frame and the clutch attached to the engine in the lower frame, the bearings supporting the clutch bell in the Hawk & Falcon STOP turning after the engine starts so they last forever (The units in my old Hawk III is pushing 700 flights and are still as good as new). While in the other designs I have, the bearings suporting the bell in the upper frames are a lot smaller and constantly turn at 15k to 19K while in action!!!! Needless to say, they wear rather quickly

I can go on about many of the other such great proven designs used in these two heli's but I think you get the picture. Good basic design, executed with quality components have made the Hawk Sport and the other Century helis not only the lowest price in their class, but among the best, if not the best in satisfying all of the important criteria that I initially outlined.

Having taken a very close and intimate look at the Predator they had on display at the Pasedena show, it looked to me like they had properly addressed all the design issues of a 60 size. And now that I have seen the pricing, they also seem to have really come through here.

Bert
Old 01-26-2003, 03:28 AM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Rotordoc;
"I have learned that there are certain 'systems' in any heli that work well and are issue free. Most are found in the Centuries, including the Predator".

I think I'll wait at least until it's released before making any proclamations about whether it works well and is issue free. I had problems with the clutch on my Falcon slipping. The clutch design also necessitates a secondary shaft and a 2 stage gear reduction to get the proper gearing. One of the bearings on mine failed resulting in the gears stripping out while I was inverted and causing a crash. Schluter also used a similar system in their Magic 60 size heli and abandoned the idea after many problems with the gears stripping out in flight. If I remember correctly, the Predator uses a drive train and clutch similar to the Xcell design. Steve.
Old 01-26-2003, 04:02 AM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Steve,
Good point. Although, I would venture to say that occurence is not the norm. I have 4 cases on my Falcon SE V2(now a Raven 50 CCPM) and during my annual inspection found the counter shaft bearings to be in prestine shape.

Although, the gear alignment of this counter shaft is not adjustable so if you get wear it's best to replace the gears.
Old 01-26-2003, 04:18 AM
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Default Power system

Steve9534

Note a few words in my post.

1 - "recent" when refering to the Century product. This means my experience in the past 3 years or so. What vintage was your experience from? If memory serves me the Falcon III goes back a fair number of years.

2 - "execution" of a design

The current Falcon SEV2 compared to the old Falcon III would be like comparing my old original X-Cell 60 to one of their later X-Cell SE Custom Graphites or the Pro. Entirely different helis even though they look the same from the outside.

Fortunately for MinAir, when I started to fly them, they were so popular that we did not dare talk about their shortcomings. Yet we (and I am as guilty as the next) would gladly knock the "upstart" Century product. Now that they have been out on the market and have newer designs, I find their designs very refreshing. In fact I will take my Falcon SEII for reliability and flyability with its' many other features over my X-Cell SE Custom. And I loved my XLSE...it was just a heli that required a lot more maintenance and was a lot harder to repair etc. My Falcon SE2 just keeps takin' a lickin' and just keeps on tickin'. About the only thing I replace on it after many flights (other then parts due to crashes) is ball links, and it is as slop free today as it was over 300 flights ago.

I am glad you brought up the dual stage power system. In fact it is another of its strong points. A great design feature that when "properly executed" (as in their current units), is a big plus for the beginner and expert alike. Due to the sharing of the power loads between two system's gears , the mesh is not critical. In fact a loose mesh is OK. It took me awhile to realize that I could leave it as aligned "out of box" and the gears would last a long time. Any mild molding warps etc. that would and did cause problems on a single stage unit, become a basic non-issue with these.

Failure of a bearing causing a gear to strip on any heli. It is not exclusive to Century. I have had a number of bearing failures on my various X-Cells over the years also. (And you will find are still happening if you browse their forums) I guess because they are expensive helicopters we must still like them even if they have big warts.

As for the Predator's clutch system. It is a system that has the bell seperate from the clutch. But that is the only similarity to that of the X-Cell's. How it is executed is totally different. Much more like the system Curtis designed into the Vigor CS. Please browse the MinAir forums and see the clutch bell support bearing issues discussed there for the Fury since its launch. Yet go over to the JR forum and see if there has been any with the Vigor. The same design by definition, but executed a lot differently.

So if you were designing a 60 heli, would you not want one with a clutch system that even improved on the Vigor CS system, rather then the one used on the Fury?

Food for thought. These examples are just to show how similar systems can be good or better, depending on how differently they are executed. e.g. How the bearing support blocks are tied together, the location of the bearings in the system, how flexible the frame is in each application, the size of the bearings used to handle the loads and the type and size of the gears that must bear these loads.

It is generally these items that cannot be seen in a picture of any heli or by a quick look at a heli. But detailed examination, and knowing what to look for can be very revealing.
Old 01-26-2003, 04:47 AM
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Default Rotordoc

Thanks for your reply. I'm not so sure we aren't saying similar things. My point was that the original Falcon that I owned had a number of problems and I'm not willing to spend my money to see whether the Predator is problem free in it's first iteration. I think Century is persistent enough to make it so, but time and experience will tell if it is initially. As for the Vigor clutch, mine wore out the bell where it fits in it's bearing, a problem that has been described by others on RunRyder. I've got more work than I can possibly do and don't get out to a large # of heli gatherings, but what I've seen at the local FF's here in northern Cal. tells me that I'm flying harder than most. Maybe it's just that I'm unlucky, but it seems if anyone will have problems with a design, I will. Steve
Old 01-26-2003, 02:43 PM
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Default Century Predator 60/90 Price & Availability

Interesting posts, Bert. I'm still trying to figure out whether you were just trying to point me in the right direction, or are saying I really don't know what I'm looking at...<G>

No biggee either way. You were doing pretty good until you said that alignment isn't an issue and slight imbalance doesn't matter. I have just a slight bit of difficulty buying into those concepts.

Thanks anyway for your concern.

Steve

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