Academy of Model Aeronautics






Top Gun Flies the REACTION 54 Jet






On Tuesday, June 2, 2009, the Sanderson Field RC Flyers'(SFRCF) Top Gun Charles Kentfield arrived to fly his REACTION 54 jet. How much room in his truck did the jet and support equipment take up? About all of it!

Arriving at Sanderson Field with the REACTION 54 Jet
Arriving at Sanderson Field with the REACTION 54 Jet

The first item to be unpacked from the truck was a home-made assembly consisting of a piece of stove pipe mounted on a wood support. This assembly,I was to learn later, is placed directly behind the jet turbine's exhaust to contain any flame caused by a "hot start." A "hot start" occurs when excessive fuel or liquid propane enters the engine prior to startup (the engine is flooded).

Hot-Start Flame-Containment Unit
Hot-Start Flame-Containment Unit

Other equipment followed, including the jet body itself.

Unloading the Jet and Support Equipment
Unloading the Jet and Support Equipment

Everyone present was fascinated as Charles explained the business end of the jet, the J600 turbine. The turbine is manufactured by PST JETS.

Explaining the J600 Turbine
Explaining the J600 Turbine

Next, the wing was attached to the aircraft body.

Attaching the Wing
Attaching the Wing

Prepping the jet for flight began with a battery check.

Battery Check
Battery Check

There are two battery packs in the aircraft. One pack powers the Turbine Engine Management System (TEMS) and another powers the radio equipment. The TEMS controls the running of the turbine.

Fueling the jet began by adding the propane from a pressurized external canister.

Filling the Onboard Propane Tank
Filling the Onboard Propane Tank

During the turbine startup, the propane burns when the glow plug lights -- and the turbine begins to spin up.When the turbine reaches the correct RPM and temperature, the TEMS starts the turbine fuel pump and the turbine begins burning the kerosene fuel. But first, the aircraft must be fueled with the kerosene.

During fueling, Charles took great care to insure that no air bubbles remained in the fuel system: an air bubble can stop the engine. Kerosene was pumped into the system until it ran bubble free into the overflow tank (shown on the ground below the aircraft).

Filling the Onboard Kerosene Tank
Filling the Onboard Keresene Tank

An important item during preflight checks was to verify the air-tank pressure for the retracts.

Checking the Air-Tank Pressure for Retracts
Checking the Air-Tank Pressure for Retracts

Before the startup, Charles connected the Ground Display Terminal (GDT). The GDT is used to program, operate, or monitor the TEMS.

Connecting the Ground Display Terminal (GDT)
Connecting the Ground Display Terminal (GDT)

The image below shows the GDT readout while the engine was cooling down.

Ground Display Terminal (GDT) Readout: Engine Cooling
Ground Display Terminal (GDT) Readout: Engine Cooling

After the preflight preparation was completed, Charles began the startup procedure.

Starting the Turbine
Starting the Turbine

The turbine was a bit flooded causing a spectacular "hot start," with flaming exhaust. I now appreciated the value of the stove pipe "flame-containment unit." Such events show the importance of having an assistant standing by with a fire extinguisher. In this case, the extinguisher was not needed and the aircraft suffered no damage.

Hot Start
Hot Start

A little more than an hour after arriving at the field, the turbine was started and Charles taxied the REACTION 54 onto the runway ...

Taxiing for Takeoff
Taxiing for Takeoff

... and moments later, the jet was in the air.

In the Air
In the Air

Charles landed the jet and taxied it off the runway after a very successful 7-minute flight.

Another Successful Flight
Another Successful Flight

Everyone present thoroughly enjoyed the first flight and was treated to a second flight. It is hard to express my thrill as the jet flew by: the sound of the turbine sounded, well, just like a real jet.

References

Model Aviation
August 2008
"Turbine Modeling Made Easy"
Page 51

PST Jets web site: http://www.pstjets.com/

"Reaction ARF Assembly Instructions"
by Bruce Tharpe
http://www.btemodels.com/rarf-instructions.html









 I hope you enjoyed this article,
Royce Tivel


Royce Tivel

 Royce Tivel
rtivel@selectdigitals.com







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