2 weeks ago
Sunday, May 25, 2014
První brněnská strojírna Velká Bíteš, a.s.
Are jet engines finally becoming affordable? I guess that depends on who you are talking to. Comrade Misfit put up a video of the Subsonex jet. It's a kit plane powered by a real, live jet engine. The kit runs around $130,000. The engine is about half of that.
The engine is made in the Czech Republic (that's the name of the company in the title, PBS for short). They made their bones making turbochargers for MAN German diesel engines. Turbochargers and jet engines have a lot of technology in common. They both have to operate at high RPM's and withstand extreme heat, neither of which is particularly easy, but combining them into one machine that will operate reliably is a bit of a trick, which is why there are so few companies in the world that build jet engines.
This one produces around 250 pounds of thrust, which doesn't sound like much. When we are talking about commercial or military jets we are talking about thousands of pounds of force. But big jets weigh thousands of pounds so they need that much power. Small, single seat aircraft don't weigh that much, so 250 pounds of thrust is plenty.