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Dec 28, 2012, 02:04 PM
Rangers Lead the Way

Looking to get started in turbine warbirds...which one?

I'm sure this comes up a lot, but I'd appreciate some pointers for my particular case. As the title says, I'm looking to get A turbine, just one. For this reason, I do not want to go the usual path of buying some boom trainer like Falcon or shokjet or similar, nor am I interested in the sport jets. My interest is strictly limited to military jets. So I am looking for a fairly light setup (actually, as light as possible) that will fly nicely and be pretty tame on landings. I am not interested in a lead-sled barnburner that goes 300MPH and has to be landed at 100MPH, 3D stuff or anything like that. I am also not a scale freak. Size would need to be in the range of no more than 80"ish long and 60' ish span for transport, as I have a sedan, not a truck. I was thinking along the lines of a single Kingtech 80 powered plane with lower wingloading and/or a delta jet. I happen to like the Mirage, JAS 39, and the F-15. Wondering whose brand flies well, builds light, and lands easy (including ground handling). Also love the F-104 (my fave plane) but I know that's not for me.

I consider myself to have strong ARF build / finishing skills with ability to form wood parts etc. So I am willing to do work and have the technical ability to do a very nice build and correct deficiencies (bash) the kit, but I am also not interested in getting into an aggravating build that turns into a remediation project.

I have moderate flying skills at this point and am focused on .60-.120 size warbirds. I am at the point where I can land these pretty consistently and can manage fairly high wingloadings, retracts, flaps, etc. Other flying interest includes small and fast EDFs and Helis. Eyesight is ok, not great. My fastest planes are in the 100MPH range. Based on what I see at events, I would rate my landing proficiency as above average and practice it continously. That said, I did make a disastrous mistake a few weeks ago that cost me the airplane, so I don't want to have 1000s invested.

My field has a hardpack "polymer" 500 ft runway with a slight downhill to it, but it is AMA certified, allows turbines, and is in a wide open area with no houses, schools etc around. I understand that I'd have to earn my turbine waiver first and would never consider flying these without that for liability reasons. Thanks for any help including pointers on what order I should obtain I start with the engine and plan around that, or vice-versa.
Last edited by TTRotary; Dec 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM.
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Dec 30, 2012, 04:26 PM
Rangers Lead the Way
Hmm. 52 views and no comments. Was my question that hard? Perhaps there are no turbine pilots in here...
Dec 30, 2012, 05:45 PM
Registered User
Out of the 3 you mentioned, I would avoid the Mirage and Gripen. The ones I have seen fly have been handfuls. I've been flying jets for over 10 years so I know it just not a lack of pilot skill that caused them to fly the way they did.

The Avonds F15 is a wonderful jet. Can be built very light. Forgo gear doors. They can be a PITA for a first jet. Use Tailerons only, no flaps or ailerons. With a K80 you would have unlimited performance. They can also be flown very slowly too. But you have to keep it light!!! Watch out for the chinese F15 kits. While they do fly alright, they build heavy, upwards of 30 lbs and to get performance you would need to upgrade to a 120 size turbine.

I would be concerned about the length of your field. Landing a jet is completely different than landing any other aircraft. It would take practise to get a jet in consistently with only 500 feet.

I would go over to the other sites jet forum. Loads of information there. Most jet guys hang out There rather than here.
Last edited by Jeremy300; Dec 30, 2012 at 05:47 PM. Reason: Spelling
Dec 30, 2012, 10:27 PM
Registered User
Based on your post, I suggest something with a straight wing or minor sweep at most. Stay away from delta's, they will be much more of a challenge to land in 500 feet.

I suggest looking at the Jet Legend CT-114 Tutor for a straight wing and the Jet Legend T-45 for something with minimal sweep. Both airplanes fly well, are reasonably priced and sized within your requirements.

The Avonds F-15 is fantastic and lands relatively slowly for the amount of sweep, but, judging by your post, it's too large for you.
Dec 30, 2012, 11:22 PM
Rangers Lead the Way
Thanks guys. Sounds like the runway is going to be a major issue. I assume you guys are assuming I am using brakes, right?Also can you guys explain to me what the issue is with gear doors on jets? They take fiddling to set up on a warbird and I use a sequencer, but it seems to be a huge deal and pain on jets...why?
Dec 31, 2012, 05:12 AM
Registered User
I agree with the previous posts on aircraft choice, I fancy the Avonds F15 it does land slowly although at quite a high alpha angle the CT-114 Tutor would be my second choice of the list,as for doors they are generally a pain on all models, with jets the legs can be more complex and often shorter with small wheels requiring more sequencing to close after wheels down, also the wings are thinner making installation & driving the doors more tricky with a high risk of knocking them off if you use grass or run off the hard stuff. I am into the early British jets like the Vampire or Venom and my latest project the Provost/Strikemaster all of which have large wheels to help on grass strips which I mainly fly off. My Vampire looks & flys like a boomerang yet it is scale but needs a bit more runway to land.
Dec 31, 2012, 06:01 AM
310mph Kolibri T25 Swist
henke's Avatar
Originally Posted by TTRotary View Post
Hmm. 52 views and no comments. Was my question that hard? Perhaps there are no turbine pilots in here...
There are some, but it seems you need to browse the diffrent webshops to get a hint of the price range.

You don't want to spend 1000's is a real newbie statement. The cheapest turbine available today is the Kingtech K80 for $1725.

The K80 is suited for the Jet legend JAS Gripen (which corretcly setup flies very well)

The more obvious choise K100 for $2000 (same size, more power and "the same price"

Ok, now you have airframe and engine for $3000(incl shipping) you now need servos, atleast 5 for the Gripen, $250

Retracts, $520 from Jetlegend... chooseing eflite electrics just won't cut it...

Now you need a bunch of hardware such as fueltank, Rx, batteries, BEC etc... another $400

Thats close to $4500 just for the basics useing the cheapest components available still with some sort of dignity in them.

I hope you see my point :-) Flying jets will be alot of money, but it's not any magic to it. If you can fly you will find the turbine plane a much nicer experience as soon as the nervousity has gone away. Shakeing knees have made even experienced pilots crash.
Dec 31, 2012, 06:03 AM
310mph Kolibri T25 Swist
henke's Avatar
Originally Posted by TTRotary View Post
Thanks guys. Sounds like the runway is going to be a major issue. I assume you guys are assuming I am using brakes, right?Also can you guys explain to me what the issue is with gear doors on jets? They take fiddling to set up on a warbird and I use a sequencer, but it seems to be a huge deal and pain on jets...why?

They are often complex with a number of doors for each wheel, they are also fragile to the touch. Retracts are evil machanisms failing for no reson... landing with doors open when a leg fails is oviously not good.
Dec 31, 2012, 09:55 AM
vettster's Avatar
I think Henke has explained it as honestly as he could.

When your ready to drop around $4000+ then you can join the turbine world.

Your stubbornness to fly ONLY a scale jet as a first, is a BIG mistake even if you can afford it.

If you change your mind and decide to fly a trainer such as a Boomerang or Tornado.. then your options will open up as there a many for sale in the RCU classified and you can get one that will possibly be under $4000 even $3000

There are several trainers here for the price range I have mentioned
Dec 31, 2012, 11:42 AM
Rangers Lead the Way
Thanks guys and I appreciate the comments and advice. Pricewise, I can afford this, easily, but I'm not sure I am there in terms of whether it is a smart way to spend (waste?) my money, so I want to keep things on the cheaper side. I am under no illusion that I will get into this for less than $4,000/plane.

Vettster - I under stand your comment regarding scale jets. It's just that what I am reading so far suggests that the F-15 in particular, if built light, will land as easily as some of the trainers. At least that is the claim made by Yellow Aircraft. Several of you have recommended the Avonds plane as easy-landing as well. So my thinking was - why purchase a trainer if I can fly a scale jet that lands just as easily.

Question again for all of you regarding the 500ft runway - I need to understand this: are you guys telling me that this is inadequate, even with flaps and brakes?
Dec 31, 2012, 01:39 PM
Registered User
Its not that its inadequate, it just takes practise to land in such a short distance. I have a friend who has been flying the avonds F15 for 20 years. He could put that thing in and out in 100 feet, but he's had a load of practise. We are just suggesting finding a longer strip for your first few landings until you understand how the plane fliesand lands. It sucks watching $5000 land where you don't want it to. Find other jet fliers and where they fly.

Whenever I build a new jet and test fly it, I go to the airport. I can land my F16 in 500 ft without problems now but the first 20 landings or so I was happy I had 4000 ft to work with and I needed it.

By the way, you will not need flaps on a light avonds F15. Pull the nose up and it slows right down by itself. Trim your elevator in your landing circuit for a nose high approach Use throttle to control rate of descent.
Dec 31, 2012, 05:25 PM
Rangers Lead the Way
Wow, Ok thanks. That puts it in perspective. Now that I think about it, I use a lot of runway with my warbirds and they are not even that big. I agree it would suck watching 5grand wind up in the wrong place or spending the entire flight worrying about the landing.

The problem here in SoCal is finding a place to fly turbines. They are not allowed in most places for obvious reasons. So my field seemd like a good candidate. The only place I know is 1hr across town - not worth the hassle.

As some of you have probably already figured out, I'm not quite ready for this yet. I appreciate the input from all of you.
Last edited by TTRotary; Dec 31, 2012 at 05:42 PM.
Dec 31, 2012, 07:04 PM
Registered User
Only 1 hour! I drove 4 hours for my very first turbine flights. Where in SoCal are you. There's some pretty big jet rallies that take place there like Best in the West. Big jet crowd out there. Peruse the turbine waiver holder list on the AMA website and find someone close.
Jan 01, 2013, 06:57 AM
310mph Kolibri T25 Swist
henke's Avatar
Another approach and the route I went is to go for the nano turibnes. The engine still costs the same as a big one but the airframe will be dramaticly cheaper and your 500ft runway will be very good.

The Venom setup with a 4.2lb thrust Lambert Kolibri T15 would cost you about $2700, it will provide flying opportunities at any airfield any time, so alot of true usable fun for the money. This kind of airplane will also provide a relaxed feeling when flying as the airframe is so inexpensive and a single big EPO bumper to protect the turbine if you crash.

At first glance buying a small turbine sounds wrong, but thinking about it it makes more and more sense

Ready2fly Venom Lambert Kolibri T25 (8 min 35 sec)
Last edited by henke; Jan 01, 2013 at 07:04 AM.
Jan 01, 2013, 07:00 AM
Registered User
Dr Honda's Avatar
Originally Posted by TTRotary View Post
Hmm. 52 views and no comments. Was my question that hard? Perhaps there are no turbine pilots in here...
I never responded (originally) because you have the wrong attitude. Since you fly RC already... you should understand the importance of a trainer.

As others have said... you need to start with a "Trainer". If you are a good pilot... jet's aren't any harder than any other model to fly... but you need to learn how to handle them.

Go buy a used trainer... fly it... get your waiver... then sell it for the same $$$ you paid for it.

As an FYI... most warbirds will land fast and heavy, despite what others say.

If you don't like my answer... then what you need to do is go to a jet rally that is local to you, and talk to they guys, and watch how different models land. Everyone has a different opinion here... but the only "Military jet" that I think a good pilot could start with is an F-16, or any "Military" trainer. (Like an L-59/39) I know guys say that an F-15 will land easy, but I've seen more of them damaged on landings than any other military type jet.

Finally... the 500' runway all depends on what the overfly areas look like. If it's wide open on either end... and you can use the entire runway... it's not a problem. If there are tall trees, or other things to crash into... then it's small.

Here's the deal... as you are aware... a turbine at idle is still producing high velocity thrust. A "slippery" model will pick up speed fast, if you need to put the nose down to clear trees, and then hit a runway. With a jet... flaps, and nose high attitude helps keep the speed in check... but that leaves you using the engine to control decent. BUT... since the throttle lag at idle is so long... a newb will wind up crushing the landing. A trainer will allow you to learn throttle management, and how to bleed off speed properly.

When you are flying your prop warbirds... the prop, at idle, is actually acting like a brake. The air velocity is low, and the "Disk" of the prop is high drag. So... if you are using a lot of runway now... you will overshoot with a jet. (and that's why a trainer is good)

I'm not trying to be harsh... but I see it all the time... guys try to not use trainers, and they wind up spending a lot of $$$ just to crash.
Last edited by Dr Honda; Jan 01, 2013 at 07:20 AM.

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