Custom-Built Afterburner Rings
EDR-117 SunVis Lamps
In early 2005, Jet Scale Modeler Bryce Watson needed
something "super-special" for his Jet Masters' F-14 Tomcat...
(in addition to being a model pilot and a super
nice guy, he also flies commercial airliners for a living)
We'll let Bryce tell the story... (adapted from
numerous inquiries and requests for info on the lights/ afterburners.
So here's the story.
A little over a year and a half ago, I had a layover in Portland, Oregon (PDX).
In addition to being a commercial airport, the Air National Guard has a base
there as well, with F-15's. Those of you who are fortunate to live next to
commercial airports like Portland, Springfield, St. Louis........etc, get to
see (and hear) these 15's and 16's all of the time so you know what I'm
Well, we arrived in the early afternoon and while on final we were told that
a pair of F-15's would be departing off of our runway, (which was unusual
because they normally use the other runway but for some reason they used the
left side today. So even from several miles out you could clearly see four
afterburner s light up as both jets
blasted outta there.
To make a long story shorter, I started thinking about how to do afterburner
s on the models...........now I had seen a few attempts at putting clusters
of lights in the tailcones etc, but I figured there has got to be some other
way, I even thought about somehow trying to shine a bright light down the
tailpipe! Well, while we were waiting for the crew van out by the control
tower, I heard this ripping sound coming from the
distance...........sometimes the 15's at PDX give a little bit of a show by
getting airborne and sucking up the gear and roaring down the runway at like
30 feet for all the passengers in the terminal.........so I knew what was
coming............or so I thought...........well...........just about the
time I saw the two tails coming over the tops of the
buildings/terminal....................he pulls vertical just about in line
with the tower and goes straight up! Then pulls hard and disappears
What I saw finally gave me the idea, so when I arrived at my hotel room I
grabbed a cup and a ruler from my flight bag and started drawing on the back
of my flight schedule.
The pictures below are what I saw, and what I drew on the back of my
schedule. (I showed this to a few of you guys out there at Superman)
So the next thing I started doing is calling around to several
people to see if this could be done. One guy even told me "I think it's just
going to end up being a very expensive experiment, that your only really going
to be able to see at night..........guess you could taxi around with it, but
that's about it."
Determined to get this to work............I finally made a phone call to one
guy who told me to fax him what I had drawn up and he would take a look at
it............so I ran downstairs to the hotel business center and sent off
that drawing. I then called him and said.........."Can you do that?"
That man's name is Andy Low from ElectroDynamics Now, I have these same
afterburner rings on the F-14's but only a few people ever got to see them,
because most of the trial flights, I wasn't using them, (keeping the batteries
out for less weight....etc.) And there were only a couple of shots that Uncle
Joe had taken where they were actually on. But as most now
know................they really do show up.
I also use Andy's light systems on
all of my jets, they are not plain LED's, they are much brighter on lower voltage.
have been working with Andy since that fax, to try and perfect a true
simulated afterburner at various throttle settings and intensities, including
"soft on/off and flicker effects." While almost there.............Andy is
finalizing what should give the desired effect.
So a final big Thank You goes out from me to Mr. Andy Low for once again
coming up with the "unavailable."
Thanks again everyone.........had a great time. Nice to make a bunch of new
friends and catch up with some old ones. Till next time............try to keep
it looking real up there!
Superman 2006 Event Coverage - 10/14/2006
"The Real Thing"
So... D'ya think we succeeded?
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