Baked on, gloss-black finish with shiny gold valve covers
Swings a 20 X 8 prop with ease
Packs a full two inches of combustion into a case barely bigger than most 1.80-size engines
Legendary Saito 4-stroke superiority
Needed To Complete
Propeller: 19 x 8
Saito takes power-to-weight superiority to new heights with the FA-220—its biggest single-cylinder ever. Packing a whopping 2.2 cubic inches into slightly larger than a 1.80-size case, the FA-220 will give medium to large-scale aerobats like Hangar 9's 27% Extra 260 out-of-sight unlimited performance. And besides the usual Saito benefits like canted valves for better mixture flow and that oh, so satisfying 4-stroke sound, the FA-220 has an optional fuel pump as well as a sleek new head design that improves airflow around the cooling fins. Not to mention, everyone loves the Black and Gold styling of the Golden Knight version.
Recently we have been testing the newly introduced Saito 220 in various different airplanes. The models are from Horizon Hobby’s 27% scale category, which are commonly powered by the 50cc gas engines that are currently popular.
A Saito FA-220 has a displacement of 2.2 cubic inches, is a “four stroke” engine, single cylinder and might be referred to as a “thumper” (large single) in motorcycle terminology! The construction and quality are perhaps the best of all Saito engines to date. It is pretty obvious that the factory is very proud of this engine and I might interject that it deserves this credibility.
The Saito does benefit from a bit of break in time before first flights. The needle valve settings are easier to establish and the idle improves. During bench testing/running I noticed that the engine can be made to idle at very low speeds from 1400 to 1600 rpm. The idle has a bit of “lope” to it giving you a hint of the power it makes. This was pretty surprising as 1800 rpm is slow enough for most 15-pound models to land easily. As is normal first flights should be done with the high end needle setting about ¼ to ½ turn off of the peak setting. You will note that this engine tends to “unload” in the air with full throttle settings. This is not normally characteristic of other 4 strokes.
With 20x8 sized propellers the engine rpm will be around 7400 to 7600. This is using 15% nitro in your fuel. After the engine is broken in you may want to try 30% nitro fuel but with the power available from 15% I have not found any need for the more expensive fuel. I have also used the 20x6 Zinger Pro propeller with good results however engine rpm may be high enough to cause a characteristic propeller “rip” in the air at full throttle. The correct propeller will probably be different for your model. This Saito is “happy” using a wide variety of propeller diameters and pitches so you may want to experiment with some different sizes of props for your specific model. My recent testing indicates that props giving ground rpm of 7600 to 8000 rpm produce the highest performance in the air.
Testing has been accomplished in cold, near freezing, weather and now with warmer temps in the high 70s to low 80s. It was immediately obvious that the engine was much easier to operate in warm weather. I have not noticed any tendency to run hot inside the cowls of the models we have used. The power and idle continue to improve as the engine gets additional run time. In every condition the engine runs normally with no bad characteristics or surprises. It just runs easier in warm weather. One note of importance that came from the cold weather testing is the need to use a quality "red" thread locking compound on the exhaust manifold and muffler installation, we recommend Pacer Products Z-71, Horizon Hobby pn PAAPT71.
One note that I have adhered to, especially in cold weather, is that you should always use a helper to hold the model. Before starting the engine carefully check the position of the transmitter throttle stick and make sure the radio switches are in the “on” position. It is a) unreasonable to think that you can safely reach around the 20+ inch propellers this engine uses and b) flip starting is not recommended as the compression of this engine can produce a considerable “snap back” when flipped in the “normal” direction. Flipping backwards will produce a clean start but even so I would instead recommend a heavy-duty starter to spin the prop. Additionally, when the engine runs at full throttle it develops a lot of thrust, probably more than most people want to hold onto with one hand! Use that helper to keep the model where it belongs.
When I am flying this engine the speed of the aircraft is generally fast using full throttle in level flight. Subsequently, throttle management becomes important, which is common with models of this size and power. Full throttle operation results in fuel consumption of 2 oz per minute (during break in fuel consumption was 2.25 to 2.5 oz per minute). Actual flight testing results in a slightly lower rate at about 1.75 to 1.8 oz per minute depending of course on your throttle management doing those wild maneuvers common to these great aerobatic models. Vertical performance with a 15 lb model is very impressive. Hovers and Harriers have plenty of reserve power. Let’s not be fooled, this is not your grandmas 4 stroke! This thing is a big single and it makes a lot of power.
All of my outdoor flight-testing to this point has been pretty subjective but the operation of the Saito is normal and doesn’t give you any surprises. The model must be constructed well to handle the power available. A familiar four- stroke “song” is always a nice feature of all Saito engines and this one gives you the same satisfaction, just with a major baritone voice!
I think you will have a lot of fun with the Saito FA-220 and of course there will be a lot of prying eyes wanting to get a look at it but there wont be much chance at the flying field to have time to take that cowl off your model because you are going to be spending your time flying it!
What this Warranty Covers: Horizon Hobby, Inc., (Horizon) warrants to the original purchaser that the product purchased (the "Product") will be free from defects in materials and workmanship for a period of 3 years from the date of purchase.
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