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Jet Aircraft

Jets look complicated, and they are a little, but TBM is here to make it EASY! Well, it's not as easy as a 50cc Yak, but we make it as easy as it can be. Below are the easiest to build, easiest to fly and easiest to maintain jets in the world. If you can build and fly a 50cc Yak, you will be able to build and fly one of these. If you have some flying skills, jets are right up your alley. The flying part is as easy or as difficult as you want. While you can simply fly in circles you can get a jet which will hover, torque roll, elevator and even flat spin like a Frisbee! These are capable of flying at 60mph or up to 300mph. You choose the style that you prefer. TBM is currently only involved in ARF aircraft.
MANUFACTURER OVERVIEW

Fly Eagle: All Fly Eagle Jets have options you may select while ordering. Please see the individual jet pages for these options, or call for more information and to order.

MF MODELS: This Chinese company has been around for many years and produces basic wooden models. They produce primarily glow engine planes like trainers, warbirds, civilian and such. They have a reputation of good quality at very low prices.

Jet Basics

TURBINES - All of these planes require turbines. Turbines are now very reliable and easy to start and easy to maintain. While turbines were created for scale reasons, they have now found their way into sport planes because they are so much fun and so easy to use now.

GRASS FIELD - A grass field for a jet is defined as a very flat and smooth surface with very short grass which is hard. In other words it must be as close to asphalt as possible. The wheels are small and narrow to be able to fit into the thin wings when retracted, so the field must be very good.

WEIGHT OF PLANE VS THRUST - Depending on the airframe you need a turbine with thrust of at least 70% of the model's dry weight for minimal performance. For fast planes, a 1:1 ratio is excellent and some airframes are strong enough for speeds approaching 300mph which can handle turbines with thrusts up to 130% of the model's weight.

WEIGHT - Varies with engine. Not only does the weight of the engine vary but the fuel it must carry varies as well. Larger engines use a lot of fuel. 5 pounds of fuel is common. If you want to go fast the weight of the plane increases dramatically. Landing a heavy, high speed jet is not easy. The weights listed are without fuel.

TRAINER STYLE JETS - Anyone can take off and fly around but landings are definitely different with jets than with propeller planes. The high speeds, slick airframes, flaps, engine lag, high wing loading, high fuel consumption and more all add up to something quite different. Unless you have a 3,000 foot runway, you need a trainer jet with a low wing loading and more drag to practice your landings. These trainer style planes are more than for just practicing landings though. They are quite aerobatic and a lot of fun to fly.

WAITING LIST - Like giant scale aerobatic planes, even though they are very expensive, they are typically hard to get. There is a waiting list for most airframes from 1 to 14 months! Some are in stock, but don't be surprised if there is some wait. Most planes are built in Asia and come over on container ships. In some cases you must get on a waiting list if you ever want to own one.

PRICE - The prices above are approximate. The price includes the airframe, special fuel tanks and retracts. You will need at least a turbine, servos, servo arms, batteries, switches, and ground support equipment. You may also need other ancillary items, and field support equipment. You may opt for on board telemetry, pilots and other extras. The price can vary with color scheme as well.

TURBINE WAIVER - While you don't need a turbine waiver to buy a jet, you need one to fly at a sanctioned AMA flying field. Here you will find the actual waiver: http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/510-D.pdf Basically you need to demonstrate the knowledge and skill to fly a jet in front of 2 experienced turbine pilots, one of which is a CD. You can have someone fly the jet for you before the test. The following document on the AMA site is now out of date: http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/510-K.pdf There has been a change in that this is now not a complete list. Even more people can sign you off than listed on this document. Now any CD with a turbine waiver is qualified, not just those listed on this document. It used to be that a CD with a turbine waiver had to apply to the AMA and receive a certificate to be able to sign off new turbine pilots, this is no longer true. No application is necessary for the CD with Turbine waiver to be able to sign off new turbine pilots.

AMA SAFETY REQUIREMENTS - Go here to see the AMA documents. http://www.modelaircraft.org/PDF-files/510-A.pdf

BRAKES - it is a requirement to have brakes on a turbine powered aircraft.

AMA PUBLICATIONS - Go here to see a list of all the publications from AMA. The ones pertaining to turbines begin with a 510. Please read this information. http://www.modelaircraft.org/acrobat.asp

WHICH JET IS RIGHT FOR YOU? - Even Tom Cruise didn't start out flying F-14 jets. He started with hundreds of hours in the classroom and on the simulator. When he finally flew the F-14, he had a RIO (radar intercept operator), a highly computerized flight system, and flight instructors helping him. You on the other hand are going to be on your own more often than not. While you aren't going to cost the taxpayers $30,000,000 when you crash, you could lose a lot of money.

Flying jets is extremely exciting, mainly because as soon as you take off, you know that a landing is not far away, and the landing will probably be tremendously stressful. Take offs and flying is generally quite easy for an accomplished pilot, it's the landings which take training. Some jets are easier to land than others. Scale jets are small versions of full scale aircraft which often go Mach 2 or more. The emphasis in those full scale jets is not on being easy to land. It is to go fast. Therefore, while it's a lot of fun to fly a scale model, they may not be the best for you right off the bat.

There are 5 types of jets. Entry Level, Sport, Aerobatic, Scale and Go Fast. Any particular model may be a combination of these. Let me elaborate on each.

ENTRY LEVEL - an upscale way of saying easy to fly. These are planes which take off and land easily, fly very stably, don't fly too fast, and can be (relatively) inexpensive. The key is the wing loading, being a little underpowered, and the thickness and shape of the wing. Entry level jets don't necessarily have to be boring and ugly and after a few flights you're ready to sell them. They can be a lot of fun for years if you choose the right one. Choose a plane with good looks and aerobatic capabilities and you will keep it for a long time. Entry Level jets by definition are not going to fly 300 mph. A jet that flies extremely fast can get away from a newbie. If you want a Go Fast jet, then you will need to buy another plane AFTER you hone your skills with an Entry level plane. I suggest that you get an aerobatic entry level plane because you will never tire of it. It will be the plane you fly the most, even after you get your Go Fast jet. Go Fast jets are definitely exhilarating, but usually too much so. Your nerves just can't take 8 flights a day, 7 days a week. Twice a week or twice a month or even twice a year is all that many of the Go Fast jets are flown. Also, they take a special flying field to fly them, ones with a long landing strip, and lots of room. I don't know of too many of these fields. They are typically only available at jet meets. On the other hand, a Scorpion, Flash, Eurosport, Rookie, Bobcat, Kingcat, Angel, Phoenix, etc., will be a plane that you can fly everyday, and you will want to fly it everyday!

TRANSITIONAL - The larger "Transitional" jets, especially the Kingcat and the Angel, can fly very, very fast, upwards of 275 mph with large turbines. After flying one of these high speed planes, which is easy to land, you can transition into a Go Fast jet more easily. The Eurosport is more draggy, so it won't go quite that fast, but it still moves along fast enough to be included in this category.

SPORT - another way of saying that there is no full scale version of it. These are typically the best flying planes. They can be specific purpose planes, either trainer (Oops, I meant Entry Level), aerobatic or Go Fast. Since they don't have the restriction of looking like a full scale plane, they are made the way a model needs to be made. With a paint remover/weenie roaster (Oops, I meant turbine) on the back, the twin boom/delta wing is prevalent. This keeps the 1,000 degree exhaust off of the flammable airframe. I personally think that these planes are kind of goofy looking, but they are cheap and easy to make since they don't have a tailpipe, and they fly great! Those which actually look like an airplane, like the Scorpion, Flash, Bandit, Eurosport, etc., look great and fly great as well. One of these will wind up being your favorite jet. Most of these planes fly great with a turbine output of 30% less than the weight of the model. When you get good, you can put in a larger turbine for better performance. However, I don't recommend this from the start. The larger turbine is heavier and needs a larger fuel tank which adds to the wing loading. You don't want this extra weight in your Entry Level jet. If you are moving up, then the larger turbine is a matter of preference, a trade off between ease of landing and vertical speed. Unless you are a crazy maniac (who, me?), you will never be at full throttle other than take offs and vertical uplines, so the larger turbine doesn't come in to play often. So think hard about that really overpowered model which has about the same (or a little more) thrust turbine as the model's weight.

AEROBATIC - another way of saying that they have slow flight stability and can do a snap. Canards are excellent at improving low speed maneuverability. The Rookie and the Eurosport can do aerobatics like some propeller driven planes. The Rookie can have a vectored thrust tube so that the aerobatics are further enhanced. The Rookie can flat spin like a Frisbee, it can hover, and it can do some amazing flips and other stall maneuvers.

SCALE - meaning there is a full scale version of it somewhere. The model version may be (and usually is) altered somewhat to enhance the flight characteristics. The outline should be very close to scale, which means that it will have many of the characteristics of the full scale aircraft. If the full scale plane goes mach 3, then the model is going to fly fast as well. Many of the scale planes have higher wing loadings due to the addition of parts which make it look realistic. These parts add weight which increases the wing loading. Fast, high wing loading jets are typically a handful to fly, though they are wonderful to watch.

"Go Fast" model. It's more the ability to fly close to 300mph with a lack of low speed landings which we categorize as Go Fast here.

WING DESIGN - Speed, Efficiency, and Maneuverability - The most efficient wing is a long slender one that is used on gliders and the U-2 spy plane. Problem is that we can't make a wing look like that for high speed because we don't have a material which is strong, and light enough. The least efficient wing design is the delta wing like on the Eurosport, Rookie, Bobcat, Kingcat, Phoenix, Angel, SR-71 Blackbird, or the space shuttle. However, the advantage to this design is that it is easy to make very strong, and the frontal area is small. Any of these three planes can have huge engines on them to push them through the atmosphere quickly though inefficiently. The closer the design is to look like a rocket, with little frontal area, and very small wings (fins) the better. Rockets aren't easy to land though. There is one key formula: there is a trade off between speed and slow speed stability. The faster the plane can go, the harder it will be to land.

BIGGER IS BETTER - This is true with jets as well as other planes. The bigger planes are easier to fly. So the Phoenix is a great flying plane, but the Angel is better. The Scorpion is great, but the Scorpion XL is better. There is one problem with bigger is better though (other than cost and transportation issues). The bigger the plane the more landing strip length is required. You need to match the airplane to the flying field that you plan on using the most.

Plane Wing Type Entry Level Aerobatic GoFast
Phoenix
Delta
Y
Y
N
Angel
Delta
Y
Y
N
Rookie
Delta + Canards
Y
Y
N
Scorpian
STD
Y
Y
N
Scorpian XL
STD
Y
Y
N
Flash
STD
Y
Y
N
Eurosport
Delta + Canards
Y
Y
N
Rafale
Delta
N
Y
N
Lightening
STD
N
N
Y

GYROS - Gyros are often used in jets, typically on the rudder. They are definitely helpful, especially on take off if the main gear is relatively narrow. We offer some simple and inexpensive gyros. The gyros are turned off at all times other than for take off and landing.

FUEL TANKS - Most jets offer very expensive Kevlar fuel tanks. These tanks are less prone to rupture during a crash. Many of the hopper tanks are made from the standard, inexpensive polyethylene. Many people make their own tanks using 2 liter pop bottles. There is no regulation as to the type of material required for jets.


PROPANE is used for starting most turbines. The ECU activates an electric motor which spins the turbine and then injects some propane to get the turbine warmed up, and then the ECU injects kerosene and cuts off the propane.

DO YOU NEED A POWER DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM? Of course it is a neat gadget. Most jets use one. It filters stray signals. It provides more power to your servos. It does away with Y-harnesses. It allows higher voltages to servos. Though in jet planes of under 25 lbs of thrust, it definitely in not a necessity. I do recommend them in larger/faster jets, but I have found them to not really provide enough of a difference to say that they are a necessity. I use them as insurance against interference and the knowledge that my servos will be able to draw more power if necessary. I do run the servos at 6.5v to give them a little extra boost of speed, but again, I don't notice any difference in the air on average size jets.




ELECTRONICS INSTALLATIONS - These fuselage photos show different installations of the electronics in the nose of several planes. There is always more than one way to skin a cat. Note that there are 3 fuel tanks in the airplanes in the top line. The primary tank is the one in the top of the turtle deck. The secondary tank is below the primary tank, resting in/on the wing. Then there is a hopper tank/header tank/air trap which is a small tank with a special pick up or screen mesh in it to filter out any bubbles. A bubble will cause a flame out, and that's a very bad thing in a jet. Note that the planes in the lower line simply have a Dubro 50 oz tank with no header tank. The fuel is metered by the onboard computer (ECU) which operates a pump and a solenoid. So moving the throttle stick tells the computer that you want to go faster and it puts the correct amount of fuel into the turbine. Note the propane tank (similar to the air tank for the landing gear) for starting the turbine. This is filled with propane. You can also see batteries and the retractable nose gear.

LANDING A JET - There are 2 issues landing a jet. One is that they don't bleed off speed very quickly, so crabbing, slipping, flaps, speed brakes, and landing gear may be used to help slow the plane down. Also, maybe even more important is the ability to keep the throttle up during landing. With the turbine at idle, if you need to increase speed, the turbine lag is a major problem. With lots of drag, the turbine can be kept well above idle so that if more speed is required, it can be achieved more quickly. It is important to keep the plane in a nose up attitude and have the plane falling at about a 30 degree incline for wing loading planes and about 20 degrees for Go Fast jets. Watch some videos of planes landing properly over and over until you memorize the rate of decent and altitude to flair. It is best if you can have an experienced pilot land it for you a few times so you can see the proper technique for your aircraft.

CRABBING/SLIPPING - This is commonly performed to scrub off speed. Using the rudder to yaw the plane increases the frontal area of the plane to the wind which increases drag and reduces speed. Unlike flaps which increase the lift of the plane, slipping does not. If your landing approach is too fast and you need to lose some speed, use of the rudder will bleed off speed. As you use the rudder, the plane will probably pitch down so you will need to apply some up elevator, and the plane may roll causing you to use some aileron correction, so don't just slam the rudder over fully! Ease onto the rudder and when you've slowed down enough, then ease off of the rudder.

FLAPS - Use of flaps or flaperons or a speed brake is necessary on all jets. Jets are made to go fast, so they are pretty slick. The landing gear being deployed does help slow them down, but not enough. The advantage of flaps is that they also increase lift as well as drag so that you can land at a slower speed. It is preferable to have a larger chord on the flaps versus more deflection, as this is more stable. Use the recommended deflection from the manufacturer. If the plane gets too slow and starts to rock back and forth, a little less deflection with result in a little higher speed and thus less rocking. CG and wing loading make a difference in the landing speed required. Some experimentation may be necessary if your landings are not going well.

SPEEDBRAKES - These are usually parts of the fuselage which pop out into the wing which add drag, but not lift. The Eurosport has a speedbrake in back of the canopy. Most all speedbrakes, wherever their location, pitch the plane towards the ground, so be prepared.

CROW - This is another way of creating drag to slow the airplane so that more power can be applied to keep the engine at a higher level when landing. This is when the flaps are down and the ailerons are up. The ailerons are still functional as ailerons.


Conclusion

Buying a jet is like buying a car, golf clubs or a tennis racquet. There are subtle differences in them, and the right one for you is determined by your unique abilities and preferences. You are best off talking to an experienced rep from TBM because we can ask the right questions and put you into the model which is outfitted with the components which best fits your needs. We point out an endless amount of variations in the planes, servos, engines, and electrical systems on the website, but we can't put in perspective which advantages outweigh which for you without a one on one consultation. So please read up as much as possible so you have a good knowledge as to what to look for, and then call or e-mail us for our recommendation for you.


 

 
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WARNING - Gasoline and Turbine powered R/C model aircraft are not manufactured to withstand unlimited G's. Any R/C model aircraft can fail, be it a wing folding up or a fuselage breaking in half under too high of a load. Just as any full size aircraft, model R/C aircraft have a maximum G rating. Because you are not in the plane flying it and experiencing the G's and reading the G-meter, it is more difficult to judge the G's on the aircraft, and it is very easy to exceed the limits of the aircraft. Understand that if you perform a snap roll, parachute, wall, blender, knife edge loop, or pull hard on the elevator at almost any speed, you can be putting in excess of 15 G's, even in excess of 30 G's, and most aircraft can only designed to take 10-12 G's. If you perform any violent maneuver, you can break your plane. When I perform hard maneuvers, especially for the first time on an airframe, I am prepared for a failure and am prepared for it as best I can be. This mainly includes performing the maneuver far enough away from spectators that in event of a failure that I am not endangering others. In addition, be prepared for the manufacturer to not pay for a new airframe which is broken during flight. It is common practice for any manufacturer to not replace an airframe which breaks in the air or upon landing. I have only seen manufacturers replace airframes when they have received many of the same failures and the manufacturer determines that there was a design or manufacturing error. If you break an airframe, and you are the only one to do so, then it is probably not the fault of the manufacturer. Please fly safely, and avoid full throttle operation other than at low airspeeds.

R/C model jets, warbirds, aerobatic planes, DJI S1000 Octocopter, and UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to name a few are not a toy! If misused, it can cause serious bodily harm and property damage. Fly only in open areas, and AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) approved flying sites. Follow all manufacturer instructions included with your plane, radio, servo's, batteries and engine. Aircraft manufacturers guarantees each kit to be free from defects in both material and workmanship at the date of purchase. This warranty does not cover any component assembled by the customer. All parts of high stress must be inspected and reinforced if necessary by a competent builder. Some parts should be glued again. High stress areas such as firewalls, motor boxes, wing mounts, landing gear mounts, etc., are areas of high concern. Seek help if necessary. In not case shall TBM be liable for the cost of any product it offers which is not manufactured by TBM. The liability to the manufacturer cannot exceed the original cost of the purchased item. Further, TBM reserves the right to change or modify this warranty without notice. In that TBM has no control over the final assembly or materials used for final assembly, no liability shall be assumed nor accepted for any damage resulting from the use by the user of the final user-assembled product. By the act of using the user assembled product, the user accepts all resulting liability. The kit manufacturers have provided you with a top quality, thoroughly tested kit and instructions, but ultimately the quality and fly ability of your finished model depends on how you build it; therefore, we cannot in any way guarantee the performance of your completed model, and no representations are expressed or implied as to the performance or safety of your completed model. It is the user's responsibility to inspect each component for worthiness.