KingTech - TURBINE K45 G3
Model Airplane News|May 2020
The ideal engine for 10- to 12-pound jets
ANDREW GRIFFITH

Today, modern technology impacts our everyday lives like never before. A single smartphone has hundreds of times more computing power than that room full of computers that got us to the moon and back. In the last few years, we RC’ers have seen the widespread adoption of 2.4 frequencies that freed us from the pin and impound days, multi-axis gyros the size of a quarter, and more.

One of the areas of our hobby that has been significantly impacted by smaller, inexpensive electronic components is jet turbines. Turbine flight has long been out of the financial reach and expertise of many modelers. In addition, turbines were complicated to set up and operate, came with a steep learning curve, and often needed butane or other external means to start them. Today, nearly every turbine is kerosene start. The electronic control unit (ECU) takes care of the entire start sequence from the time you initiate a start, and it turns over throttle control to the transmitter only when the engine reports that it has started properly and achieved stable idle rpm. If it senses any issues, the ECU will immediately shut down the engine and provide an error message to the user via radio telemetry or the ground support unit (GSU).

This brings me to the subject of this article: small turbines. Modelers with smaller electric ducted fan (EDF) jets are finding the joys of converting them to turbines. Why convert? New technology makes turbines a lot easier to install and safely operate. You also find yourself with double or better the flight time than an equivalent EDF motor. The new generation of small turbines is extremely lightweight, so a model will often weigh the same or slightly more than its EDF counterparts at takeoff, but due to fuel burn, it will land lighter. Turbines also have the same power output from takeoff to landing because there’s no drop in performance as a flight battery discharges. Oh, and they sound cool— REALLY, REALLY COOL!

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