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Old 04-26-2008, 08:47 AM   #1
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Safety First !

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As we approach the beginning of the turbine flying season, I need to ask and remind everyone to keep Safety first and foremost in everything you do.
Please take a few moments to (re)read the MAAC Safety Code for Turbines.
It can be found here : under section 5.

Thirteen points - all common sense stuff. Also included in our code are Sections 1 through 8 of the GTBA Code of Safe Practice which can be found here:

If you have been flying a club field, continue to build and maintain good relationships with other members, and the executive. Perhaps there is a new executive this year. It wouldn't hurt to give them an in depth "tour" of your jet, particularly pointing out safety features, such as the shut off valves, fire extinguisher, fail safe, and the important role that the ECU plays in keeping the turbine within safe operating limits.
It is stuff that we may take for granted, but you can't assume that everyone knows that.

If you are the first one at your field to show up with a Jet, it is a good idea to involve the clubs executive (and any interested members) Show them what you are going to do, and more importantly - what you are going to do to keep it safe!

It is evident from the barrage of emails I have received in the past week, that we all need to be exceedingly careful in preventing hot starts, and reacting positively and quickly if one develops. Hot starts to us may be spectacular, but generally harmless.......but to Joe Modeller watching from the pits, they can (and have) been viewed as frightening and threatening.

Preventative safety measures include shutting off the manual valve prior to refueling; using a stove pipe if necessary, and keeping the fire extinguisher close at hand (and being prepared to use it if necessary) If you have a hot start, and spectators are watching, it would be a good idea to go over to them and explain what happened, what you did about it, and how it can be prevented in the future. Good communication can prevent unfounded fears from incubating and escallating.

Each of us is an ambassador for turbine flying. Each time we fly, we are being watched, sometimes with a critical eye. Keep it safe: keep open, positive communication with fellow modelers, and we can continue to enjoy flying jets and continue to welcome new people into the turbine arena!


Wayne Beasley
Jet Committee Chairman
There aren't enough days in the weekend. -- Steven Wright
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Old 04-26-2008, 11:11 AM   #2
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Re: Safety First !

ive seen a few turbines at fun flys just amazes me a fellow sitting directly beside the turbine and compressor, no hearing protection but oh he had a fire extingusher. these things turn basically full size rpm and faster. but no wheres near the metal specs for a general aviation turbine. your ecu shouldnt give ya hot or hung starts i was lead to believe, if you are starting with compressed air or propane and doing things manually recipe for disater in the making if ya slip up sitting right beside it. just a few things ive actually seen.
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Old 04-26-2008, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Safety First !

To Volksman,

"your ecu shouldnt give ya hot or hung starts i was lead to believe"

A hot start is usually caused by the pilot forgetting to turn the fuel valve closed after a flight. Kerosene pools in the combustion chamber and this is what ignites when the combustion chamber reaches temperature to burn the kerosene. The ECU recognizes an immediate overtemp when the kero ignites and the ECU will abort the start. But, the kero continues to burn until burnt or CO2 is applied to the inlet to snuff the flame. So, yes, the ECU recognizes the hot start and aborts.

A hung start is usually caused by a lack of propane, poor glow, or poor battery charge. The combustion chamber cannot reach start temp or the starter motor cannot spin the compressor fast enough to enable a full start. In these situations, the ECU controls the start and fuel flow and will prevent excessive amounts of fuel from being delivered to the engine preventing a faulty start. It is the pilots responsibility to recognize the start on the ECU and it is a simple matter of flipping a switch to stop the start.

"these things turn basically full size rpm and faster. but no wheres near the metal specs for a general aviation turbine"

Actually the turbine wheel is cast in an aerospace foundry using aerospace materials and radiographed to aerospace standards. As a matter of fact, my Wren engines come with a certificate of compliance to standard ASTM-STD-2175 Grade B and is serialized. The majority of the compressors are Garret and they are designed to spin well over 180000rpm. The ceramic bearings are designed for over 250000. These are the only moving parts.

The majority of us jet pilots are VERY safety conscience. Of all the jet rallies I have been to, a specialized start up area is used away from the pits. I apply this to my home field as well. I setup and start away from the general pit area. If you feel someone is not being safe, ask them about what they are doing. It is up to all of us to educate about safety.

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Old 04-26-2008, 02:24 PM   #4
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Re: Safety First !

good response jeremy. one of the certificates i hold is a gas turbine overhaul repair tech.

the turbine and compressor are coupled on the same shaft.ive never seen an actual model turbine wheel, are they a casting as well or blades in slots. the jet joes and things from china i would be very carefull around, the bearings from china are reason enough every one figures it rust or soft material etc more like the alloy falls apart from centrifical force. i can see many responces to that statement.

the frequncies of sound given off as a turbine accelerates go beyond our hearing range and will do damage to your hearing very quickly.

with out the proper rpm and and temperature to start a fire, around 470 f fuel shouldnt be sent by the ecu a hung start will occur , the turbine doesnt attain a self sustained speed. now its a hot start.

i dont know enough about the circuit in the fuel system on a model but seems sorta silly that ya have to shut the fuel off by hand vavle, hmmmm
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Old 04-26-2008, 02:51 PM   #5
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Re: Safety First !

For auto-start model turbines (which is most of them) the manual valve is a safety feature. The ECU controls two solenoid valves during operation, one for kerosene and one for propane (unless it is a turbine that can start on kerosene without the need for propane, in which case the second solenoid valve controls the feed to the pre-heat and ignition burner.)

The ECU will detect any conditions that are abnormal and abort the start up, shutting off the solenoid valves as well as the fuel pump. As Jeremy mentioned, what we consider a "hot start" is pooled kerosene igniting which results in flames out the tail pipe. This should normally not happen, if the manual valve is closed during refueling. If it is not closed, it is possible the pressure of refueling can force some fuel past the solenoid valve and into the turbine. This has not happened to me, and I have forgotten to shut the manual valve a couple of times. It depends on how good the solenoid valves are.

As for JetJoe, they are well known to be inferior products with regards to quality control. I would not trust them. Any reputable turbine, when operated within manufacturers specifications, are very safe.

Your point regarding hearing damage is very valid.

The turbine wheels used in model turbines are cast from inconel and x-rayed for defects, just like the big ones. They are one piece due to their size (54 mm, 66mm)

The bearings used are ceramic, due to the high heat and high RPM's.

Turbine wheel failures are very rare. Most failures are due to the blades rubbing the case. When this happens, a blade or two may be shed. Usually this results in the blade being expelled out the tail pipe, the turbine seizing, and, if you are flying at the time, a dead stick landing.

Very rarely, the turbine wheel will come apart at the hub. If this happens, parts will be expelled out the side at high velocity. For this reason, one of our safety rules is that when starting, no one should be beside the aircraft in a line perpendicular to the turbine. As I said though, this failure is very rare.

In either case, the ECU will detect the failure close the valves and shut off the fuel pump.

One of the most important safety rules we can follow is to shut our turbine off should our aircraft go out of control. It has been proven many times that if the turbine is shut off as little as one second prior to impact, the chance of a post crash fire is almost zero. To accomplish this, two things are needed. A failsafe setting that shuts the turbine off on loss of radio signal, and a switch on the transmitter that can remotely shut the turbine down.

Ok, I'm getting off my soap box now.

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Old 04-26-2008, 03:09 PM   #6
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Re: Safety First !

no soap box jim just now some people may know more than they did before. i often thought of trying to sell and service turbines but a small market in canada . a bounced landing with the turbine not under load will this ruin the ceramic bearings. steel most definately it will.

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Old 04-26-2008, 03:41 PM   #7
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Re: Safety First !

Thank you Wayne for the safety reminder. We tend to forget that extinguishers need to have their pressures inspected and if needed professionnally re-filled.

I would also add, if I may, to check all those batteries, and if in doubt, dump it. It is not worth wasting a $4,000 model for a $50 battery.
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Old 04-27-2008, 02:09 PM   #8
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Re: Safety First !

Good points to be aware of guys, and good on you Wayne for making this your first public statement as chair... I see 2 safety issues that are commonly discounted in their importance.

(1) Noise.
Its been mentioned before in this thread, but I'm mentioning it again since the number of people using hearing protection at the rallies I attend is easily less than 50%...

These engines produce enormous amounts of noise. None of us has an accurate appreciation for how loud they are, since we can not hear a lot of it due to many frequencies being outside the human audible spectrum. Once on RCU I read a post by someone who preferred the smaller engines since they were so 'quiet', not knowing that the higher operating RPM likely just pushed the sound further out of the spectrum... The feedback loop here may be long enough such that it'll be too late to react once we realize how much damage we're doing. So, please take the time to get yourself a good set of ear muffs from the local hardware store. Following that, I always have a few sets of foam plugs for spectators or people working in the vicinity.

(2) Toxic materials and exhaust.
We should all be aware that turbine oil is NASTY stuff. On top of that, if you're running Jet-A, find and read the MSDS sheet for the additives. (Start with PRIST as an example: a nephrotoxin and central nervous system depressant) See here:

I know the guys jab me for wearing my blue gloves when I'm fueling up, but I'm OK with being labeled as paranoid! Its likely to be another one of those long feedback loop situations where a one of us may experience a health problem in the future as a result of the oil or additives, which could be prevented with a little foresight. At the very least, keep some wet wipes handy for quick clean up situations, and wash your hands when you have the chance.

Also, once the oil is in the fuel, its burnt in the exhaust. It scares me every time I hear someone say how much they like to smell the exhaust of an engine running upwind of them. I read somewhere that a common side effect of inhaling burnt turbine oil is getting a headache, and I believe I've experienced this a few times. As pilots, we should always try to find a way to direct the exhaust away from people (in the near vicinity of coarse, but also down wind if possible). We pilots probably get the most exposure due to repetition though. Again, I may be paranoid, but when I get bombarded with exhaust in the pit area, I stop what I'm doing, hold my breath, and move to clear air until the coast is clear...

Kelly Williams - 59082L
MAAC Jet Committee Chairman
JPO Member , 2L club member

Last edited by Kelly W; 04-28-2008 at 02:02 AM.
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:17 PM   #9
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Re: Safety First !

Wow, learnt a few things here. Good posts people.

Hey Buddy, thats a Kadet not an Extra!!!
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Old 04-27-2008, 11:36 PM   #10
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Smile Re: Safety First !

You guys make me proud!

See ya at the events in '08!

Its no longer a hobby after 40 years....gulp!
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