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Bob Violet Models Bobcat
A surprise chance to video a jet
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 6-2-2015
This is not a typical FlyingRC.net review but rather my lucking out and being at our flying field when a friend, Wyatt, pulled out his jet that he had flown only at other fields. Now with more experience he brought his Bob Violet Models Bobcat to our grass runway to give it a try and I happened to have my small backup video camera.
The plane is a Bob Violet Models Bobcat with a 66" wingspan. Power comes from an impressive Jetcat P80-SE that develops 22lbs of thrust at 125,000RPM. That is not a mistake. This is a turbine in every sense of the word, including sound but with an unexpected twist.
I was very impressed with the extent of Wyatt’s safety procedures to protect the environment and land owner should the plane crash. The Bob Violet Models Bobcat uses real jet fuel (or kerosene - virtually identical) and carries approximately 1 gallon in a full tank. Fire in a hard crash is an obvious concern.
Before he did any preparation to the plane Wyatt unhooked his truck from his trailer. He carries around several fire extinguishers of various types and keeps some on hand on the field and others in his truck. He unhooks the trailer so that if the plane crashes any distance from the field he can get the extinguishers in his truck to the crash site quickly.
He also took the Bob Violet Models Bobcat out onto the runway to start it in part because our pit area grass has not been cut recently and now in its field mode is much taller than the jet exhaust. He also said that there is a chance of scorching a small area so moved to the runway itself where that was going to be much harder to do. I looked afterwards and there was no visible evidence that the jet had been at that spot on the runway.
The flight itself lasts about 6 minutes and was as impressive as I anticipated. This was the first up close look I have had of a model jet in flight and it did not disappoint. You will notice in the video that on takeoff my lousy camera skills were further faked out by the Bob Violet Models Bobcat lifting off and accelerating way faster than I anticipated.
In flight the Bob Violet Models Bobcat and its turbine jet engine is surprising quiet. It is certainly quieter than most glow and gas engines without a canister type muffler. It has the distinct jet sound but without the thunderous rumble of the full scale versions. It makes more noise on takeoff but not by much. Sound levels are not a reason for these planes to be banned from any legitimate flying field.
The performance in the air was impressive in terms of speed and maneuverability. The Bob Violet Models Bobcat is very quick and very smooth but nimble none the less. That is a good thing because Wyatt was doing precious little straight flying and lots of turning or the Bob Violet Models Bobcat would quickly go out of sight despite its reasonably large size.
Wyatt made a slow pass down the runway in preparation for landing to get a feel for how the Bob Violet Models Bobcat felt at those speeds over our slightly up hill runway. He had the flaps down but I was very surprised at how stable the Bob Violet Models Bobcat seemed at what looked to be a very slow speed. Wyatt got on the gas, went around and landed easily on the next pass.
Something else that surprised me was how quickly he could stop the Bob Violet Models Bobcat once on the ground. Having a jet run off into the tall grass is not a great idea but Wyatt had no trouble stopping it on the runway and then taxiing back to the pits.
While I am thoroughly impressed with Wyatt’s Bob Violet Models Bobcat and his skill and care flying it, a jet is not in my future. I simply cannot afford such an endeavor or the support equipment flying one of these models requires to be done safely.
The Bob Violet Models Bobcat is very impressive in its looks and performance, especially when you consider that it is sort of regarded as a trainer for jets. I think any true jet requires the skills of an accomplished pilot to be flown safely. I don’t know how difficult they are to actually fly but lots of experience and transmitter skills have to be high on the must-have list – right up there with lots of cash.
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