Align Trex 550E

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Gary Townsend



Align Trex 550E

0 flights, 00:00:00 flying time

80 flights, 05:52:30 flying time

Flights by Month


Sun, 3 Apr 2016 08:00
Central Model Helicopter Club
3 flights
I decided to only take the Trex 550 today so I could further test and play with the SK720BE and GPS2.

In general the unit did its job as it did before during my 1st testing session with the setup. Also, the software update in the GPS2 definitely cured the height variation that the heli was displaying during position hold during my 1st testing session. It rescued from all orientations, but there were problems. I had my spotter with me, and we only tested the rescue system when there were no people or obstacles within or close to the flying area.

Problem 1) The height at which the hard deck was activating was varying. It was set to 9 metres, but the rescue sometimes kicked in a few metres lower than this, and on one occasion during rolling it even rescued way higher, perhaps more like 15 metres at a guess.

Problem 2) This next part is quite serious in my opinion. On three occasions the hard deck rescue activated, but height and position control didn't work, resulting in the heli flying without the pilots (me in this case) stick inputs controlling the heli. Now it is true that after a hard deck rescue is complete, the pilot then needs to flick the GPS switch to manual to take back control, and for the 1st two incidents this is what I did, but for the 3rd one I flicked the wrong switch. There are various built-in safety aspects which shut off the rescue system altogether so that it doesn't attempt a rescue in the first place when something about the heli or the system isn't right, such as very high vibration, or loss of GPS lock. The flight data shows 17 to 18 satellites so the GPS lock was very good, and the super bright LED was blue. As for vibration when it gets too high, the system is supposed to make the super bright LED flash red. I have no idea what caused the position and height control to fail after the initial/orientation part of the rescue.

I've read that other rescue systems which don't use GPS control, only lockout control from the pilot for about 2 seconds, or like the NEO whereby you regain control by moving the sticks (which I've read is a problem for some). The problem with the Skookum SK720BE and GPS2 hard deck rescue that I experienced, was that you have to manually flick a switch to take back control. This is actually a good thing when the rescue system works as designed, since the heli rescues, yaws to tail-in, and holds position (but gains altitude).

Anyway I crashed whilst locked out of control during a partial and failing rescue attempt, since the GPS was not holding the helis position or controlling the height. If it had been on a 2 second preset and given control back it wouldn't have happened, but the point is, it shouldn't need to give back control if it works correctly. I understand that it's designed to disable the rescue functionality when something is wrong, but making some kind of attempt and locking out the pilot indefinitely until a switch is flicked is dangerous, and not as designed either.

More details can be found here: (Someone else started the thread since they also had their SK720 and GPS setup go wrong. My post is #3)
Mon, 29 Feb 2016 13:35
Whitwick Flying Field
3 flights
My 1st flights with the SK-720 Black Edition and GPS2, and overall it went very well.

I had a very slow start because I'd forgotten the exact light sequence for doing the compass swing. I had already done it indoors as a test to make sure it worked, but it needed doing again a good distance away from metal objects as the instructions state. I phoned Clare, she Googled the Skookum GPS2 manual, I did the swing, and perfect, it worked 1st time.

I popped my canopy on for the SK720 maiden fight, and unbelievably the plastic canopy clip at the bottom snapped, so I continued to fly without a canopy. Besides the fact that I like how much better I can see the heli with the canopy on, the only thing that really bothered me was the very long floppy battery/esc lead that was flopping around during tic-tocs.

I tried all 4 of the GPS2 features I have set (using 2 three position switches on my DX9), and overall I was very impressed.

Hard Deck) I only tested this from an upright orientation for this first mini testing session, but I gradually increased the rate of descent, and it reacted very well by quickly gaining height and rotating to tail in. I started off with it set to 15 metres, I then lowered it to 7, and then went back up to 9 metres. 7 seemed significantly lower than I thought it would, so I now think the minimum setting of 5 is easily low enough.

Rescue Now) I pushed it a little further with this. After first doing the very basic tests like I did for the Hard Deck, I then gained height, flipped to inverted, and flicked the switch, and Wow, it aggressively rolled to upright, rotated to tail in, and held position. That was fun, I only wish I'd had the bottle to fly through the Hard Deck inverted, but that would have perhaps been a little premature, since it's a good idea to check the inflight vibration score before pushing it even further.

Position Hold) The Position Hold needed the gain lowering as it was bouncing like the tail does when the gain's too high, but it became nice and steady after lowering the value.

Return Home) I was surprised to find myself feeling nervous after switching to Return Home. It just seemed weird watching it fly by itself LOL, but it did so very well.

FBL Mounting) I've used the super soft anti-vibration kit (the foam is quite thick and very soft) which I was very sceptical about at first. The heli with all the settings and gains set to the defaults flew great, I even did a gentle piro-flip high up. It'll no doubt need fine tuning once I gain confidence and get into it. The vibration score in the software which is measured on a scale of 1 to 10, was just 0.1 on the bench, and the target is to aim for less than 5, so I might very well try a harder mounting which lots of people do anyway. I guess the super soft mounting kit is for helis with very high (extreme even) levels of vibration. Anyway I haven't looked at the inflight vibration score yet, so I'll have to see.

Edit: I've just checked it, and the last flight recorded 0.7 for the vibration score. The last flight included 2 to 3 inverted rescue now tests, and some tic-tocs. So how good is that :) time for a more solid mounting perhaps.

So, a new canopy clip, some nice weather, some tinkering with the settings perhaps, and all should be perfect!
Sat, 17 Oct 2015 08:15
Central Model Helicopter Club
6 flights
I let myself down today by being hung-over from way too much booze last night (I had bouncy vision and could hardly concentrate, although my driving on the way to the club seemed quite safe), so I called it a day for the flying after just 6 flights within the 5 hour session. So what was I doing for the rest of the time, having a good old natter as usual.

A new guy Bill visited the club today who'll be joining us as a new member which is great news, and he's a good flyer too. We watched him practicing some of his B Cert moves which I really enjoyed. It's just great seeing pilots determined to make progress.
Sat, 10 Oct 2015 07:25
Central Model Helicopter Club
4 flights
I left home at sunrise to go flying at CMHC, and on the way there as I was travelling down the M1 I kept driving through pockets of fog, then clear, then more fog. When I arrived at the field, upon driving through the entrance it was clear straight in front of me, but very foggy over to the left down at the bonfire point where we fly. I was half way through my first flight when Mark arrived, which is when the talking began!

I had nine flights in total and I was pleased with all of them, partly due to the fact that I was concentrating quite well. I had quite a few attempts at doing some pirouetting half loops and managed my best ones yet, so I'm really pleased with those. Me and Neale got to see Richard practicing his rolling flipping circuits which was interesting (coming along very nicely too), a manoeuvre he tells me could be good to include when competing ;)

There were nine cars at the club today and about as many pilots joining in with the flying, which was really nice to see, we were even queuing at times waiting for our turn.

Mark Devoto passed the practical part of his A Test today with Adrian as examiner, so a very well done to him, and I’m sure he’s very chuffed with his achievement, nice one :)

I still need to get my Skookum FBL and GPS2 units on my helis. I think I’ll try them on my Logo 550sx first, and then perhaps on the Goblin 700. My third set will perhaps end up on the Trex 550e, but then again I might have bought one too many combos as I’m not sure now if I want to convert all three of my large helis from VBar.

So overall a great day at the field, lots and lots of flying, plenty of people to talk to, nice weather once the fog cleared, and a nice ham and cheese mid-morning sandwich to keep me going.
Sat, 3 Oct 2015 08:00
Central Model Helicopter Club
6 flights
A very nice session indeed. I felt quite pleased with most of my flights which were all very enjoyable, and the company was great too. Ben that (who, whom, not quite sure) used to fly at LMAC visited us today and had a fly as a guest, which was nice to see. The weather was quite nice, not all that bright, but very low wind which I like a lot.

Clearly today I had the best workbench out of everybody there. Mine is a wallpaper table which spans 560mm x 1780mm, and can easily support two 550s at a slight angle without the tail dropping off the edge, unlike some of the other benches I saw today :)

See you all next time.
Sat, 22 Aug 2015 07:10
Central Model Helicopter Club
6 flights
A very nice session. My flying not really as good as last week, but was okay I suppose. Amazing weather again and low wind until about the last hour and a half during which it had picked up a bit, but still quite nice. I have the dominator setup to fly about as nice as the 450x so that'll now be spending more time in the air.

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 07:00
Central Model Helicopter Club
8 flights
An excellent session. I had quite a few good flights which I was very pleased with, and even just managed to start trying the piro half-loop. My control on piro flipping has improved, and my rolling circuits are turning out reasonable sometimes. I found flying the 450x in this low wind about as controllable as the 550, and so I'm really liking these two models at the moment. My best rolling circuits today were actually on the 450x which has proved itself many times to be a fantastic little heli.

I've been having an overheating issue with my Jive 100LV after flights with high head speeds (such as 2530rpm) which include lots of tic-tocs or other aggressive collective moves. It turns out that when flying at 2350rpm it's much better. Also during my last flight (just a hover really) the governor seemed to stop working and just gave me 100 percent throttle regardless of the throttle input from the transmitter (once above the minimum required to start spinning). I unplugged the battery and reinitialised the system but it was the same. After arriving back home I removed the blades and tested again but it was still the same. Next I did a mode 1 reset and that seems to have resolved the issue.
Sat, 8 Aug 2015 07:05
Central Model Helicopter Club
5 flights
The weather was perfect, sunny, warm, but not too warm, and no wind. The flight line was busy pretty much nonstop which was nice to see as always. My Jive 100LV on my Trex 550E keeps overheating and I can't understand why. It has the heat-sink on it but it's still getting very hot. I tried the esc in KSA mode (mode 10) to see if that would make a difference, but it didn't. My next step was going to be to try a little fan as Richard was explaining about the airflow and how a fan would be a good idea, but first I think I'll rob Clare's Jive 100LV from her Goblin 570 and try that, just to make sure mine isn't slightly faulty. Anyway overall a very pleasant day, and I probably enjoyed flying the 450X today as much as flying the 550, which I guess is due to the low wind we had making it handle beautifully :)
Sat, 11 Jul 2015 07:30
Central Model Helicopter Club
10 flights
Another great session with loads there doing lots of flying and chatting away.

I'm loving my Trex at the moment, and started the very beginnings of pushing my field flying (of that model) to be more like my sim, but I have a long way to go and it's great fun trying :)

Now then, and this is ridiculous. For about a year I've always felt there's something fundamentally different between my Trex 550E and Logo 550sx, that being my Trex has always felt far less agile. Last night I decided to check my transmitter settings, and discovered I've been flying that model for about a year (not many flights during this period though) with 38% expo for the cyclic. I had a friend do some test flying about a year ago at which time he added expo, but I either didn't realise he'd set it, or I'd forgotten. So then I've changed it to now have zero expo like I do on all my models, and it's like a different heli, in fact I had to turn my agility slider down on the VBar from 120 to 100, as it was a little too sensitive, but I might increase it to 105 or 110 next time as it's so much nicer to fly now.

Sat, 4 Jul 2015 08:00
Central Model Helicopter Club
7 flights
I did lots and lots of talking today.

A very nice session indeed. My last flight was probably my best of today, so what a nice way to finish. I need lots more time at the field, and a little less on the sim I think.

I'd been struggling a bit with the collective being too sensitive on this heli, although I still felt I needed a high rpm, especially when it was windy. I checked this morning before going flying, and found that the pitch was set to 15 degrees, so I changed it to 13. I don't know how I missed that, but it's better now.
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 07:35
Whitwick Flying Field
4 flights
What a lovely morning. Didn't try anything new, but it was a session I badly needed. I'm very pleased I went, and I had a nice time, so very happy.

There is one thing though. After my 3rd flight which was flown at about 2520rpm with quite a bit of tic-toc'ing, the esc was hot to the point that after 6 to 7 seconds I couldn't keep my finger on the heat-sink. There was 11 percent left in the pack after a 4 1/2 minute flight. No problem though as it seems fine, I was just surprised that's all about how hot it gets considering it has the optional heat-sink on it.

Mon, 4 May 2015 07:30
Central Model Helicopter Club
1 flights
A good session with Richard but very windy, and the control he has in the wind is definitely very impressive, and a good target to be aiming for. I practiced a bit of heli to the right skids in tic-tocs, heli in front skids in tic-tocs, a little bit of piro flipping, and 4 and 8 point tic-tocs. To be honest I felt restricted due to the wind, which put me a little too far outside my comfort zone to be able to fly how I'd have liked, but it was a nice session considering. One of the canopy support posts nearly worked its way out on the Trex so I only had one flight with it, which was a little disappointing as I prefer it to the Logo when the wind is up, probably due to it being a heavier model and having a higher head speed, making it feel slightly more solid in the air.
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 16:55
Central Model Helicopter Club
2 flights
An excellent session. Spent two flights setting the throttle curves on my Trex 550, and then shortly afterwards Richard turned up, which is when the session really began. Moves I practiced were piro flips, backwards waves, rolling circuits, 4 and 8 point tick-tocks, and some general random transitioning between various orientations, which is the single biggest aspect I want to practice more. Richard was flying magnificently this evening, demoing lots of different moves. I don't know the names of many, but to be able to fly the complexity of continuously changing orientations is something I'm aiming for.
Fri, 10 Apr 2015 12:00
Whitwick Flying Field
1 flights
A touch less windy and it would have been a 3 star. I spent a lot of the time practicing 4 and 8 point tick-tocks, did a little bit of very slow piro-flipping, and had a very brief play at rolling circuits. An okay session, but really I found it too windy for what I was trying to learn. The wind was directly from behind, and I was at full collective at times trying to keep it near enough during tick-tocks. My last pack was spent doing all tick-tocks, and after 4:30 minutes I landed with 7 percent left, and got an over temperature warning beep from the talon 90. I didn't know what the beep meant, and didn't think to touch the esc until a few minutes after landing, but even then it was proper hot. I took off again though with a nearly flat pack to do a 10 second test and it was okay. This has got me wondering if the Talon 90 can cope with the 730MX motor tick-tocking into wind for a whole flight, which should have only lasted 4:00 minutes if I'd landed soon enough. I know I could mount the esc on the side, but I'm not sure if that'll make any difference,
Sun, 5 Apr 2015 10:15
Leicester Model Aero Club
4 flights
Only my second visit to the club this year. After having 4 nice flights on the Logo at CMHC, I decided to have a fly of the Trex for the first time since I accidentally stepped on it. It was absolutely great to fly, loads of power, feeling very solid and smooth, although the tail authority was slightly week for a second or so at one point. Right now it's difficult for me to choose between the Logo and the Trex, but I like them both very much today. I noticed the master's clockwise rolling circuits looking extremely well formed, and it's good to have someone leading the way, even if he is light-years ahead :)
Sun, 22 Feb 2015 07:55
Whitwick Flying Field
6 flights
Extremely cold with zero degrees and quite a bit of wind. My hands were so cold at the end I had to warm them up for 30 seconds before I could open the gate. Not a bad little 50 minute session. Yesterday and today have increased my confidence a lot with this model since last Tuesday when it dropped out the sky. Seriously though it was just too cold today in-between flights when changing the packs.
Sat, 21 Feb 2015 16:00
Whitwick Flying Field
2 flights
As far as flying goes for the session, it doesn't deserve more than a 2 star, but it's got a 3 because of how pleased I am with the rebuild. It flies great just like last time. All I need to do now is get a little more used to it. It now has a new green canopy, quick release mounts, and an Ultra-Guard in case I have another power failure.

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 15:45
Whitwick Flying Field
2 flights
Was going beautifully, heading for a 4 star. A gentleman called Phil was there, and watched my heli fall straight down from about 65 to 75 feet high. Absolutely gutted. I'd just put the VBar back in it after robbing it for the 450L for testing purposes, and it was flying extremely nice indeed. I was taking no risks, just doing my usual stuff quite gentle and at a height which was very safe for me. So what was it you're wondering, well only if you've not looked at the video already. For the first time I had a soldered joint fail, which was the red wire in the esc plug. This actually would have been the first EC5 soldered joint I ever made just over a year ago only a few months after I started flying helis. At that time I was using a 25 watt soldering iron. What a twat I am for not realizing it wasn't enough power. These days I use a 100 watt iron for tinning the wires (if they're not already tinned) and a mini/pencil blow lamp for the main soldering. Anyway the damage is probably about £150 to £200. One main blade cracked, swash tabs might be bent, ski's snapped, canopy crushed (but was already damaged anyway, I actually had a new one in the boot which arrived from Fast-Lad today), one tail blade cracked, boom bent, torque tube gears stripped, servo to swash links bent, haven’t checked tail mechanism, but probably some damage there as well, and at least one servo seems completely seized up. I’m having a few beers for the first time in over 6 weeks, so feeling quite dizzy about now. Good night fellow dudes :) So next time I'll be using an Ultra Guard, but I was in such disbelief this time, I probably would have just watched it fall anyway. Honestly I was waiting for it to rev back up.

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