Choosing a turbine for your jet depends on your flying desires. Most planes are not made for high speed, most are made for aerobatics. Aerobatic planes don't need the largest turbine possible to have fun. If you like to make high speed runs 5' off the deck, then you need a monster turbine.
Of course putting the largest turbine which will fit into the model will make it go the fastest, though the downside is that larger turbines are heavier and they use more fuel. Higher fuel use means short flights or larger tanks. In a jet, space is at a premium, so larger tanks may be difficult to install. Also larger tanks means more weight at take off. Larger turbines are more expensive as well. Even with a smaller turbine, you will not be at full throttle other than at take off and on vertical uplines.
In my opinion, use a small to medium size turbine for the airframe. This keeps the weight down and the cost down. It also puts less load on the airframe and control surfaces which will make the plane more dependable and it will last longer.
Jet Central: Excellent product made in Mexico City by the parent company, JET CENTRAL Micro Turbines. USA sales and service is provided by Jet Artes Gulf Coast, permanently headquartered in Florida. Service turnaround is 7 - 10 days. This is the only turbine manufacturer with a Lifetime Warranty. They are also ISO 9000 certified partly due to their manufacturing facility providing automotive components to the major US automakers.
Jet Cat USA: Excellent product made in Germany. Service is available in the US by the importer, Jet Cat USA, who is located in California. They are the largest supplier of turbines in the US. There are more Jet Cat turbines in the US than any other turbine.
WREN: Wren Turbines was formed in 1999 by Mike Murphy, John Wright, Roger Parish and Terry Lee. They had a shared interest in miniature turbines and had met through the Gas Turbine Builders Association.
Wren is a company dedicated to the design and manufacture of miniature jet engines - they don't do anything else. They employ 8 people at Manvers, Rotherham, UK. All the design and tooling for the turbine castings is done in-house and the turbine wheels are cast in specialist foundries to full aerospace certification. Warranty repairs are performed in the UK.
AMT: Made in the USA. Many of their turbines are used by the US government for Drones. Service is performed in Cincinnati, Ohio.
There are several other turbine manufacturers. Due to the complexity of the units, they must be sent in for any repairs. If you purchase a turbine, I think that it is very important to be able to get repairs done quickly, so having a repair center in the US is very helpful.
Buying a plane or a turbine 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.
FUEL - Kerosene is most commonly used. Jet A is more refined and thus a little better. While kerosene is available from many gas stations, you must go to an airport to get Jet A. Jet A is $5.00/gal vs Kerosene at $3.50/gal.
OIL - You must mix oil into the fuel. Most common is BP turbine oil though many synthetics will work also. Turbine oil is also available at airports, and is mixed at about 2.5%. We offer turbine oil.
FUEL FILTER - Use of a special high quality fuel filter is necessary.
BUBBLESS FUEL TANKS - There can be no air bubbles in the fuel line to the turbine. Once an air bubble hits the turbine it will cause a flame out. Flame outs are not good. Special fuel systems are required to eliminate air bubbles.
FUEL TANKS - Are typically made from Kevlar and are very expensive. This is not to meet any particular safety guidelines. Due to the very high temperature of the turbine in operation, if the fuel cell breaks during a crash and the fuel gets onto the turbine, a fire starts immediately. Many people use the usual polyethylene tanks or 2 liter pop bottles.
FIRE EXTINGUISHER - One is required due to the likely possibility of a fire during startup or a crash.
STARTING SYSTEM - In the initial start sequence, the motor to initiate ignition uses propane. This system uses an onboard gas tank and a solenoid valve to deliver the gas to the combustion chamber, the glow plug is powered momentary to cause ignition, when certain parameters are met, the fuel solenoid valve is opened by the electronic control unit and then fuel is used to bring the engine to proper idle rpm during the remaining ramps.
SERVICING - Turbines typically need a 25 hour check up. This usually costs a few hundred dollars, and takes 2 weeks. The turbine is disassembled and inspected for wear and parts are replaced as necessary.