A View from Broadway

The new TARFU, ready to fly. Ken Burdick photo.

Kenny and the Jets

Apologies to Elton John

By Ken Burdick
November 2020

Yes Folks, it’s true.

Its October. It snowed a few days ago and I’m pretty bored. Why is it always October when these things come into my head like buzzards to Hinkley? Two years ago, it was the 1/2A Monoboom of which I built many, last year it was a pile of ultra-light Voodoos and a full on F2A Speed project, and it always starts in October. Might have something to do with my birthday being in October, I really don’t know.

So, what is it this year?

I’m getting to that, but first a little tale of my first Jet Speed project.

Once upon a time, I sent away to Mike Hazel, aka Louie, for his jet pack. It has almost everything you need to understand pulse jets. I studied it off and on for a month or so and made notes. The real ingredient to a good jet seems to me to be a good fuel tank and feed; the rest is pretty basic. A few years went by and I happened to see an Australian model called TARFU. It had all the answers to the questions I had about fuel tanks in a pulse jet. I scrounged around and begged notes from people and actually built one. This was just headache #1.

Ken Burdick (left) and the late Dick Salter, with Ken's TARFU at Jim Walker Memorial Field in Portland, Ore. Mike Hazel photo.

This was an exciting prospect for me, something louder than Fast Combat! Oh-boy!

It was spring then, and I had arranged with the late Dick Salter, to help me fly it. "No sweat," he said. Mike Hazel was also there and between the two, they had 20 years of jet flying. How could anything go wrong?

Mike Hazel (right) is added to the TARFU pit crew. No luck getting a flight up that weekend.

We didn’t get it to run, as you can see from the picture. A year or so later, I was at Salem flying Speed when Jimmy Booker insisted that I bring the yet un-flown TARFU out and we would fly it. I didn’t want to but caved in to pressure.

We fiddled with it and Jim said “It’s the flow-jecto.r” He promptly installed one of his best ones. Jim was spot on and it fired right up. Out came the dolly (with a sticky wheel) lines and all the rest — my palms were getting sweaty. Jim and Louie, aka Mike Hazel, told me, “Go hold the handle. We got this.” So I went.

The Dyna Jet roared to life and they let it go. The noise had awakened the sticky wheel which had been napping for two years at that point. When they hey let it go, the plane turned 180 degrees, allowing the lines to be caught in the loop on the outboard wing-skid and away we went, the wrong way!

I watched with horror from the handle, and thought to myself, “NOW WHAT!!!!"  Fortunately, it stopped a short distance away.

I was really ready to throw in the towel, but no — out comes Booker's perfect dolly. “We’ll try it again,” he said.

The jet once again fired up right away and off we went, this time in the right direction. I got to a half lap in the dolly and cranked full up. The plane sort of bounced out of the dolly and flew maybe a foot off the deck. “Pretty cool” I thought. What I didn’t know was that the pit box was left in the flight path. The TARFU was on a high-speed skid when it hit the box. Parts of it were found as far away as Portland. And I sold the engine a week later.

Now it’s October and hope springs eternal, so, Geezers, this October-Fest is going to be not one, but two jet projects: Thing One and Thing Two.

Thing 1 is a fast Jet project that will be a kit called Blue Thunder, from Dick Hart.

Blue Thunder, available in kit form. Dick Hart photo.

Dick is an absolute Speed guru and holds the current FAI world Jet record. He says do, and I do. With my jet results so far, I think this is a good idea.

Thing 2 is a sport jet fashioned after my original TARFU. I have made some changes to the basswood construction here and there and will be using balsa where strength is not needed. What keeps these things together is a strong bracket bolted to the fuselage, and the controls are secured to it.

The Driving Force

“But Kenny, you don’t have an engine!”

Yeah, but I do have a computer. I sent good buddy Louie, sometimes known as Mike Hazel, a note asking to sell or trade a Dyna Jet that I could use on Thing 2.

Thing 2 will be the Sport Jet and a good old friendly Dyna Jet is what I’m willing to do for this project.

Thing 1 however, will get the full treatment. Dick Hart is building a fast jet engine for it. The amount of jet knowhow I have, you could hold in your hand, so I’ll do whatever he says, including the engine.

So, lil' Geezers, this will be my winter project as seen in October. The old dolly was tossed so I’ll have to build a new one, sans the sticky wheel. I’ll keep you informed as Things 1 and 2 develop.  As of today, the Thing 2 tank has been built to spec, the fuselage made and flying surfaces are all cut out. With any luck, we can all meet at a contest next year and I can fly them.

The parts for Thing 1. Ken Burdick photo.

-- Kennyb

Back to Bod Busters main page

Back to Speed main page

Flying Lines home page

This page was upated Nov. 25, 2020