Beginner or 3D - This heli's got the lot!


T-Rex 500 Electric Helicopter

By 'Disc'

Align T-Rex 500

This new electric helicopter is making quite an impact on the helicopter scene….

Align T-Rex 500So how is it?
The T-Rex 500 is very near to a the size of a .30 i/c helicopter. The blades are each 480mm where as a .30 sized machine generally has 550mm blades. Also this heli isn’t powered by that yucky stuff called fuel! This is a battery powered helicopter!

Now I ordered the Carbon Fibre version of the helicopter from Leeds Model Shop and the basic reason was the price. The RRP of the Carbon version including blades, motor and ESC is £309, Leeds Model Shop do the same kit for £259. Basically you’re saving £50. Too good a deal to pass up!

What’s in the box?
Okay the box does not look big enough to hold all the parts. Really it doesn’t! But some how they got it all in there. Now the quality of the parts is stunning the all metal head black and silver parts look so nice. If of course looking good is important to you, then the 500 wins before you even get started. The build is nice and easy and the manual is good and covers the construction very well. Just double read everything before you start. 

However, there are a couple of points to watch out for. A lot of people like myself are running Full Size servo’s on the Tail. To do this you need the T-Rex 600n tail mount kit. Then just use the plate from that to fit the full size servo into it. Costs about £4-5.

My advice regarding servos is to get three of the same that run on 6 volts for the CCPM. Something like the HS-5245MG or JR 3500G are good servos, both digital and ideally suited to the task at hand. Also worth noting if you’re running 6 volts is that you will need a 4.8v drop down for the tail servo and gyro.

Align T-Rex 500Next the Power Train….
Batteries... Li-Po’s to be exact. Now you can choose two ways or more to power your T-Rex 500. Now my choice was two 6s Batteries and oneI FP 2170 and a Max Amps 3000mAh. Now, if you go 6s like me you will need to fit the 13T pinion in the kit. With the 6s I get 5 mins, as I do with the Flight Power pack, doing sports flying. I get over 6 mins with the Max Amps battery. I also have a Max Poly battery which is due to arrive shortly. Now let's say you have a T-Rex 450 or Mini Pred or another electric helicopter you can put 2x 3s batteries in seriesl and these will nicely power a T-Rex 500 on 6s set up . Picture (left) showing the Max Amps pack in plane and yes it just fits under the canopy!

Now the 2nd choice is to run a 5s pack which is another option for T-Rex 500 flyers. You will want a 15T pinion and then batteries. Max Poly do a 4000mAh battery about £76 now flight times you’re looking at 7mins sports flying which to me is a good flight time. A 3000mAh 5s pack would also give you around 6 mins of general flying and there are other batteries you can use that will give roughly the same flight times.

I went 6s but there’s plenty of choice out there and a new charger from FMA that can charge two 5s packs together will make the T-Rex 500 and 5s an even more popular option.

So once it’s all put together and built now what?
Ah, double check everything and please before you programme the ESC do not have it connected to the motor!  Trust me, electrics are not like nitros in that you can hold until the clutch burns out. With electric it will turn and you will not be able to hold it. So be careful.  Read the manual and just follow the instructions and note that generally Futaba Channel 3 (Throttle) will need reversing! JR and Spektrum sets will be fine.

Align T-Rex 500Now double check your bench set up, make sure it all works. I did this with a 4.8v Rx battery from a plane and left the LiPo disconnected and the ESC unplugged. So my servos and gyro only had power and all seemed to be working fine.

Flying the T-Rex 500
Now that I'm flying a 6s pack the heli is slightly heavy than a 5s pack set up, but more punch. My T-Rex is set up with +11 and –11 and mid stick is 0 degrees. I know some people think this is a 3D set-up and yes because I learnt hovering twice and like it when I switch from normal to idle up one on my transmitter the helicopter doesn’t jump up as the pitch changes.

My flying is sports flying, loops, rolls, stall turns, flips etc… Now the first flight is always a nervous one but all went well. The gyro behaved and the machine needed a slight adjustment to fly straight and track perfectly. 

I have had a few flights now with the T-Rex 500 and must say it handles 12mph winds and flies like a dream rock solid stable and gives me no cause for concern etc. I wouldn’t recommend flying this indoors though, as it is just a bit too big really.

I've been getting five or six flights depending on the batteries I used and have really enjoyed flying it. I look forward to flying it for a long time to come.

Please note that a lot of people have reported static glitches causing all kinds of issues from tail kicks to lock outs and even causing Align T-Rex 5002.4ghz problems. Now, I suggest that you can either earth the boom or spray anti static spray on to the belt etc but so far I have had no issues on 35mhz PCM.

I found the T-Rex to handle loops well, although it does screw out slightly but that might be down to me not being straight as I enter the loop itself. It does do nice large loops good I might add. Stall turns are stunning and it performs them very very well. But ideally running a full size servo on the tail does help with the extra weight back there and getting the C/G a bit better. Rolls are nice and smooth.

It performs flips very very well too although again it goes off to one side slightly. Either this is a phasing issue on the swash or me just not who's not had a lot of time to really examine it yet.

Align T-Rex 500In low level ground passes the T-Rex doesn't lean in any direction and tracks as straight as a dart so I'm leaning towards a slight phase issue but I'm not 100% sure. I know the T-Rex 600n does suffer a phasing issue but the 500 I am still not so sure about.

I also like the flight times I am getting with the 13T pinion and 6s batteries at five to seven minutes depending on a battery is fine. Although when summer arrives I can see me wishing to have longer flight times per battery.

I have also being using the T-Rex 500 to practice the BMFA 'B' Schedule which at long last I can say I can do the Top Hat. Now the BMFA 'B' for helicopters does not seem to be too demanding if you actually read what you have to do. But the Top Hat is one move that has stopped me twice from achieving the 'B'...  I now feel confident enough with this machine that I could go out and do it. I just need the weather to be nice and get myself booked in.

Where does it fit in?
Now where does this fit into the world of helicopter?. Actually it fits spot on as it would make an ideal first helicopter or second or even third. If you have, say a 400 size machine, you’re bound to have LiPo batteries and these you can use as doubled up packs.

For a beginner T-Rex 500 is a good machine, being not to big or scary, and ideal for outdoors as well and being very stable. If you want a 3D machine, then again it’s ideal although you will want to look into the batteries and pinion you require plan to fly with it.

Align T-Rex 500

Technical Details - T-Rex 500 Electric Helicopter
Manufacturer RC Align
UK Distributor

Skyline Models & Robbe Schluter Ltd

Aircraft Type: Electric powered 3D helicopter
RRP RRP £259
Length: 850mm
Main Blade Length: 425mm
Height: 310mm
Main Rotor Diameter: 970mm
Tail Rotor Diameter: 200mm
Motor Drive Gear: 12T/13T
Main Drive Gear: 162T
Drive Gear Ratio: 1:13.5:4.68 / 1:12.46:4.68
Autorotation Tail Drive Gear: 145T
Drive Gear: 31T
Weight (w/o power system): 935g
Flying Weight: Approx 1700g
Click here for more details
Likes Dislikes
  • For the Price a lot of kit and the quality is good
  • Stable in 10-12mph winds ideal outdoor machine.
  • Good manual and easy build
  • Parts reasonably priced
  • Strong and robust
  • Possible static issues
  • Needs 600n boom mount for full size tail servo
    (which is actually a must really)

Please mention Flying Sites when contacting
Skyline Models




Info Panel
T-Rex 500
Electric Helicopter
I have really enjoyed flying it and look forward to flying it for a long time to come.
Approx. £259
Technical Details Below