Giving an Electric RC Plane an Afterburner

RC Afterburner

The folks at Flitetest decided to add some extra power to an electric DH.100 Vampire RC plane by adding a butane afterburner. After some testing, and a bit of fire, they were able to make it fly.

Their afterburner uses a small butane canister for fuel. A servo motor actuates the valve on the canister, forcing fuel into a tube. This tube is set up to regulate the flow of butane and ensure it vaporizes before reaching the afterburner.

At the afterburner, a circular piece of tubing with holes is used to dispense fuel, much like a barbecue. This tube is connected to one side of a stun gun’s flyback generator, and the metal surrounding it is connected to the other. The stun gun creates sparks across the gap and ignites the fuel.

With the extra components added, the landing gear was removed to save weight and the plane was given a nice coat of paint. They started it up for a test run, and the plane’s body caught fire. After some rework, they managed to take off, start the afterburner, fly around, and belly land the plane. It achieved some additional thrust, but also sounds and looks awesome.

After the break, check out a video walkthrough and demo. We promise you fire.

Comments

  1. Nacho says:

    But… That’s just aesthetics? Is the “afterburner” giving extra throttle power?

    If it’s for aesthetics, then it’s ok (the model itself is not a big deal, and the blue flame in the twilight is a very nice effect!)

    But if the purpose were to add some functional afterburner system, I don’t think this gonna worth it.

  2. DainBramage1991 says:

    Nice hack, but EPS and open flames just don’t mix well…

  3. MrX says:

    All hail the new forest firestarters!

    Seriously, what can possibly go wrong if the airplane crashes into a dry vegetation area, while the afterburner was left on?

    • colecoman1982 says:

      The same thing that can go wrong when a gas powered RC plane with a hot engine or a running model rocket that goes off-course does?

      • lwatcdr says:

        Actually no. A hot engine is probably not going to be hot enough to start a fire. They do not glow red hot folks and most do not use any kind of spark. Model rockets tend to burn out very quickly so be the time they hit ground they are not producing thrust. Also model rockets are made of wood and paper to start with….
        Yea I would recommend anyone flying this plane to not fly it in fire conditions and to use their brain.

  4. Robot says:

    Functionless WIN!

  5. Hirudinea says:

    That is cooler than Lando Calrissian drinking a Colt 45 on Hoth!!!! As for having no landing gear maybe this will give them a little inspiration.

  6. Mike says:

    What a bunch of whiners you guys in the comments have become.

  7. Haku says:

    Love it!

    Got a nice giggle from me when the plane caught fire during testing :)

  8. Wolfy says:

    Nice job guys! The vid rocks!

  9. vonskippy says:

    Sounds neat -but more thrust – bwahahahahaha – dream on.

    The electric fan doesn’t accelerate or compress the butane enough to make a difference – butane doesn’t have enough chemical energy to make 15% difference – and the thrust chamber is way to open in order to see any significant increase in thrust.

    But it does sound & look cool – way better then the normal electric motor whine.

    • zev says:

      indeed. I would trust you more then their thrust measuring scale.

      NOT

    • max says:

      Why not? The butane flame causes the exhaust gases to heat up, thus expanding, thereby increasing their speed, which leads to higher thrust. The same principle as the real afterburner, except it has an impeller instead of an engine

      • Drew says:

        Did you know that during testing the P51 mustang gained measurable speed under certain conditions strictly from the design and location of the vent port for the engine? The heat generated by the engine caused the air inducted for cooling to expand and accelerate as it left the engine compartment generating some additional thrust. It was totally unexpected apparently.

  10. ALX says:

    Could be reducing drag….???

  11. TehMeh says:

    Yeah, that’s probably a 12% boost from removing the landing gear and a 3% boost from the afterburner, but it’s still cool as heck!

  12. Daniel says:

    Greetings from Sweden!
    One of the best videos I’ve seen here. Låter ju asfränt också!

  13. x3n0x says:

    For those of you who dont already know David, he is an accomplished RC pilot and a skilled scratchbuilder. He is one of several pioneers in FPV, and has created a lot of cool content, both video and DIY related. You should check out his site sometime if you would like to learn more!

  14. soopergooman says:

    This was awesome, Great Build, Great flight, Great videography. Well Done!!!!

  15. bunedoggle says:

    Extra boost or not, adding the ability to shoot flames makes anything better.

  16. voxnulla says:

    Did you expect that incredible noise to be like that? Or was that a bonus feature? It screams! Nicely done.

  17. shingouz says:

    Neat system to be used on something like a R/C SR-71. Not to belittle this thing, but the Vampire never had an afterburner to the best of my knowledge, also the scream of the Ghost, Goblin or Nene engines resemble the whine of a ducted fan.

    On the other hand… this is loud, fast, potentially lethal and there is fire involved. Perfect.

  18. Pops says:

  19. wretch says:

    You cannot possibly make something like this and not put a machine gun on it, and film it strafe a few barnyard animals. Come on!

    Just kidding. It sounds and looks fantastic. Well done.

  20. Barrymartin says:

    . A hot engine is probably not going to be hot enough to start a fire.its not possible somethings like this ……Read more

  21. Mike says:

    Awesome. So creative and functional. This is one of my favorite Hackaday hacks. Great job.

  22. adam402 says:

    awesome . like it. I am new to this hobby and I don’t think this will be best for me. as a beginner I would have to choose a simple rc flyg.

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