Adding a Smoke System to Baby Ace

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TFF

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I like that with the real real gas can better. If you got a buddy in the concrete business, you might try concrete release as a fluid. Their bulk price is pretty cheap. I don’t think you need a 55 gallon drum of any, like the airshow guys.
 

gtae07

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My dad (and many of the other RV guys at FFC) installed one of the Smoke System Helper setups. Generally works well, though I think parts of the standard installation could be cleaned up, especially on a new build. I'm mostly rolling my own using that system as a guide--bought their behind-the-seat tank and sourced the rest of the hardware from other vendors (mostly McMaster). Rolling my own (other than the tank) saved me a couple hundred--with the caveat, it's not fully installed yet and I haven't flown with it.

Of course, between the guys that fly their formation demo team, and the rest out there, they have a "smoke oil club" and buy it by the drum.

We found that if you leave the smoke on long enough the cockpit just about goes IMC, with leakage back from the tailcone and through the flap pushrod gaps. I don't know if he'll ever get all the oil off/out ever again. But I'd bet it's decent corrosion protection ;)
 

dwalker

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Super glad to see this thread! A friend and former Long-Ez drover was telling me to make sure I put a smoke system in the canards because they are a little faster in the pattern and small so the smoke is a little extra insurance I might be seen.

Vhhjr I really like that article! I plan on mounting the smoke behind the seat in the Dragonfly and in the strakes on the EZ, and it really looks like your compact system can be made to fit perfectly!
 

cluttonfred

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Super glad to see this thread! A friend and former Long-Ez drover was telling me to make sure I put a smoke system in the canards because they are a little faster in the pattern and small so the smoke is a little extra insurance I might be seen.
I sure hope that's a joke because that time the emergency services roll to the runway thinking you're on fire only to find that it's deliberate smoke, I don't think they or you will be laughing.
 

dwalker

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I sure hope that's a joke because that time the emergency services roll to the runway thinking you're on fire only to find that it's deliberate smoke, I don't think they or you will be laughing.
Do you have the FAR that regulates how and when a smoke trail can be used? Because I cannot find one, and am looking.

And I am not joking. At all. I fly in a fair number of non-towered fields with a LOT of private fields in the area so I will take every advantage I can get to be seen sooner. Your emergency response scenario only works out if I am not in radio contact, which why would I not be.
 

TFF

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If you become a menace, the trail is too long. Smoke will not help with emergency response. It will be well dissipated before anyone looks up from their morning coffee. Busy airport, a second of smoke might help id where you are for other airplanes, but don’t crash the student behind you. Crop dusters do it to check for wind sometimes.

This is emergency response at a small airport. Plane flips over, pilot jumps out flips it back over. Someone rides over in a golf cart to check on him. 911 called. Fire truck gets there 4 minutes later, looking for an airliner. I own that plane. A friend in your neck of the woods had a similar experience in a friend’s 701. Engine quit; they land in the field. Plane disintegrated. They get out of the plane, like a Monty Python sketch with toilet seats around their necks, call 911. For five minutes the fire trucks circled the field trying to figure a way in. Once they got there they asked where the airliner was.

I have watched three planes skid on their belly, missed another two by minutes. Two planes leave the runway and spin out on the ramp. Two helicopters botch landings. There is more. The only thing crashing at the airport has an advantage is an address. If you are not at a towered airport, there is no help unless someone is on a golf cart.
 

cluttonfred

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No, I don't have an FAR to cite, just common sense. And everything TFF says rings true, but I still believe that using smoke in the pattern will sooner or later fool someone into thinking you're having an emergency when your not. I wouldn't do it, and I would have no sympathy for the consequences if someone did it and got that reaction. If you want better visibility get bright anti-collision lights and searing landing light.
 

dwalker

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If you become a menace, the trail is too long. Smoke will not help with emergency response. It will be well dissipated before anyone looks up from their morning coffee. Busy airport, a second of smoke might help id where you are for other airplanes, but don’t crash the student behind you. Crop dusters do it to check for wind sometimes.

This is emergency response at a small airport. Plane flips over, pilot jumps out flips it back over. Someone rides over in a golf cart to check on him. 911 called. Fire truck gets there 4 minutes later, looking for an airliner. I own that plane. A friend in your neck of the woods had a similar experience in a friend’s 701. Engine quit; they land in the field. Plane disintegrated. They get out of the plane, like a Monty Python sketch with toilet seats around their necks, call 911. For five minutes the fire trucks circled the field trying to figure a way in. Once they got there they asked where the airliner was.

I have watched three planes skid on their belly, missed another two by minutes. Two planes leave the runway and spin out on the ramp. Two helicopters botch landings. There is more. The only thing crashing at the airport has an advantage is an address. If you are not at a towered airport, there is no help unless someone is on a golf cart.

Yeah, sounds about right!
 

dwalker

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No, I don't have an FAR to cite, just common sense. And everything TFF says rings true, but I still believe that using smoke in the pattern will sooner or later fool someone into thinking you're having an emergency when your not. I wouldn't do it, and I would have no sympathy for the consequences if someone did it and got that reaction. If you want better visibility get bright anti-collision lights and searing landing light.
My three local fields where I am likely to end up getting a hangar at are non-towered. All of them have a very high volume of traffic especially student traffic. There is also a fair amount of non-adsb traffic. If a bit of a smoke trail helps me be seen, I could care less about talking to an emergency responder that jumps the gun where no emergency is apparent. And honestly arguing that some emergency vehicle is going to roll because they see a plane trail smoke on pattern entry, then fly a normal pattern, without smoke with proper radio calls and normal landing, is... odd. First they probably can use the practice. Second, if they are so inept as to not use a radio they definitely needed the practice.

I know I seem a bit obstinate about this but we are talking about safety. Being seen on non-tower airports in traffic patterns matter, at least in my neck of the woods. Maybe it doesn't where you are from and all the pilots are sharp eyed laser focused high timers, but round here I have student pilots, some of them that barely speak English and more than a few I-own-the-sky types. Lights help, sure, but so will a smoke trail.
 

TFF

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Over the years I have learned no one is looking. If you don’t want to be hit, see everywhere. Don’t trust ADSB either. People start encroaching because they think they can fly tighter on their own “radar”. Flying is like riding a motorcycle, no one is watching. Without a radio call, trucks at BNA won’t roll without some drama. I have had people try and fly into my belly, side, and roof. The only people watching are Statler and Waldorf, and they are only going to crack a joke about your flying.
I spent 90% of my life in Tennessee. I know lots of people on your side of the world. They are exactly like the ones on the west side of the state, and pretty much everywhere. The competency ratio is the same. Pretty low.
 

vhhjr

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Form oil is cheap, but a lot messier than buying commercial smoke oil. The flow rate on my system is low so I don't use that muc h, not like the guys doing whole airshow routines.

I didn't have any trouble with smoke infiltration into the cockpit, but I did find that one doesn't want too turn on the system on the ground. Doing so can make a smoke bank large enough to obscure a battleship.

Vince Homer
 

gtae07

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I wouldn't trail smoke every pattern entry - that stuff's expensive! We use it with formation breaks a lot just because it looks cool. Though once or twice I had someone looking for me but couldn't see me; I popped a couple seconds of smoke and announced it on CTAF and they were able to find me easily after that.

So I'd say it's certainly useful as a visual traffic aid if you already have it, but I wouldn't install it just for that purpose.
 

dwalker

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I wouldn't trail smoke every pattern entry - that stuff's expensive! We use it with formation breaks a lot just because it looks cool. Though once or twice I had someone looking for me but couldn't see me; I popped a couple seconds of smoke and announced it on CTAF and they were able to find me easily after that.

So I'd say it's certainly useful as a visual traffic aid if you already have it, but I wouldn't install it just for that purpose.
I agree, and the intention is exactly along the lines of what you have said. A little smoke on pattern entry when necessary, or even in the pattern, to be seen. Not an airshow fog bank.
 

speedracer

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A couple years ago I was leaving the Airshow of the Cascades in Madras OR in my Long EZ. as soon as I broke ground I turned on the smoke (Lots of smoke, 1.6 GPM). A guy got on the radio and said (Yellow airplane, YOU'RE TRAILING SMOKE"! I couldn't help myself and said "No ****!"
 
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