Ok, Im going to get on my soap box and get something off my chest. LOL

As you know, I fly a lot! I fly with many people from all over. I fly with people of all skill levels. Lately I have noticed, well it’s been going on forever, but I’m tired of seeing it; people operating their jets very lackadaisical. Im not going to say unsafe or anything like that. Im saying people are getting lazy and careless.

While we all do this, it has been getting under my skin. I can’t stand when people simply push the throttle stick up, and forget it. I see guys starting engines without a fire extinguisher in sight. I see guys operating a turbine with out a manual fuel shut off installed. I see guys laughing and telling jokes while their engine is starting, all without any clue of what is happening inside their plane.  These are all so basic and preventable mistakes.

Then when something goes wrong…. “Why didn’t anyone tell me that could happen!?!?"

So what am I getting at? All I’m asking is that we pay a little more attention to what we are doing. If something does not seem right, stop! Ask someone for help. Take a little more time to perform maintenance and systems checks. If something is not working 100% on the bench, it’s not going to fix it’s self in flight. When we go for a flight, you and your helpers should be 100% focused on the successful and safe operation of the equipment. Maybe it’s a good idea to review the AMA SAFETY REGULATIONS FOR MODEL AIRCRAFT POWERED BY GAS TURBINES every couple of months. The link is below:


Another note, make sure you read and follow the instructions and operation manuals for all your equipment. There is good info in those documents, or at least the authors think there is. LOL

I know there are events coming up across the U.S. and great weekend weather; so even if you are a seasoned expert or are working on earning your waiver, I’m sure there is always something that can be done better. There is more to our sport than simply burning holes in the sky.

Feel free to comment, I want to know what you are thinking!


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I don;t have a manual fuel shutoff but a handy plug for the turbine battery no power no fuel no sparks

So you must rely soley on the engine's solenoid valve while fueling? Those can leak, end result is a flooded engine...

The only way they can leak is that there is crap in it. If I would start to get a wet start I would shut it down and not fly.

Ill go along with that, but now you have 6 oz of fuel in the bottom of your engine. How do you plan to stop that fuel from burning once you realize you are having a wet start?

The entire situation is avoidable.

If you wait untill you have 6oz of fuel in your engine your off in lala land. I would pull the engine make sure its cleaned out clean repair or replace the faulty valve. Your set-up masks a faulty fuel system and I do not want my jet in the air with a leaking fuel valve. My jet never leaves the ground but yours can with a valve that can possibly cause an in flight fire or engine loading up with raw fuel. Being too careful could poduce an unsafe condition. Awareness of whats happening inside your jet is the best safety you can have.

How do you know the next time you go for a engine start you have not accidently puddled fuel in your engine while fueling the plane?

In the case of a faulty valve, both of us will figure it out on the next start. It will show up as a wet start. the only difference is that yours will be much bigger.

Dustin brings up a great point. We are spoiled these days with ArF's, kero start, autostart, better battery chemistries, etc. With these technology improvements we are seeing more and more reliability. A great benefit for us as jet enthusiasts. However, with this automation has bread a sense of complacency. I'm willing to bet a good majority of guys don't understand the phases of the start that the GSU is reporting and what that data means. Sure, some of the safety measures are born of early technology, but to ignore them now is purely irresponsible. I find the manual ball valve an essential item in my jets. Not only for its obvious safety control, but for me its an action in part of my start and shutdown routine that keeps my focus inside the jet.
Dustin, thanks for reminding us of our responsibility to maintain and operate our jets in a safe manner.
On an unrelated topic, my soap box item is regarding spotters. We should always fly with one, and they should be looking at all the other activity in the air and ground....but more often than not they just end up watching the pilot they are spotting for....but we can save that for another day and thread. :-)
Mr. Burg,

I have seen plenty of solenoids fail...in both the open and closed position. Generally speaking they are cheap electric contact switches that will fail, given enough time. That being said, I have also seen them fail when new.

More so...the AMA safety code demands that you must have a manual safety valve installed. I believe you put your waiver in jeopardy by admitting that you do not follow the safety codes in a serious fashion nor are you in compliance when flying at an AMA field. That is just my take...YMMV.

Be safe, try to do it right each and every time and have fun...that's what it is all about.


I agree.  there is still a lot going on in our models , I have found out the hard way to pay attention especially during start up and shut down.   A check list installed in the model would not be a bad idea. I used one every time when I was flying full scale, even after 100's of flights in the same airplane. Saved my butt once when I found a broken aileron linkage during preflight check. That was scary  lol


Good advice Dustin..  

Our branch of the hobby comes with a lot of the “cool” factor, but it also comes with some very real hazards that other models just do not have.   When things go bad with a turbine, they get very bad, very quickly.    

As Sean says, modern equipment and the reliability it brings makes it look like the process of starting a turbine is a risk free activity.. This is not the case of course. A big wet orange fire, inside your model, is only a leaky valve away.  Anyone who has operated or even witnessed a JPX being operated will know.

 Personally, I have a CO2 extinguisher right beside me, or in my hand during every start.  (But then I paint my models myself ;-) 

 BTW, the manual fuel shutoff valve is also a requirement of the Australian MAAA code..  Actually, it is just common sense, and good practise (in any system not just model jets) to have a manual valve in series with an automated valve.  


I know this discussion is a few weeks old but things have been crazy. I couldn't agree with Dustin more. He is a 100% correct. People just stand around and talk and are not even looking at the plane. Yes we are spoiled to a point with the ease of our great turbines. Rarely do I see a fire extinguisher in arms reach. Its bad enough we have the government intruding on certain aspects of our hobby lets not make it worse by being stupid. And when I mean stupid im talking about people taking off with their Ailerons backwards. Really??? If you do this you are a moron!!! And should not be flying jets or anything else. Theirs no excuse for something like this. I know Im a little extreme in my hobby but in 38 years I have only lost six planes and I get with planes and helicopters close to 600 flights a year at least. I fly constantly. Is this luck? No its knowing limitations, your plane and eliminating as many factors as you can that are not on your side. People snicker for mostly fun, when they see me with a giant checklist as I use with full scale airplanes. I have complete procedures and checks of everything for preflight, startup, shutdown etc. When you become complacent you will forget something and loose an airplane or worse hurt someone. I posted a giant checklist for someone on this site as they were new to jets and needed some help. If you see someone using a checklist they should be viewed as hopefully someone that will be safe for our hobby. Just running out there and like Dustin said talking and not paying attention makes you look irresponsible. We have to keep our hobby as safe as we can for fear of outside government involvement that we don't need. THANKS Dustin for bringing this to the sites attention. Please everyone fly safe and have fun.

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