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Smoke Systems Explained–How to be an RC Skywriter!

If we have ever been to an RC airshow, afterwards you’ve seen aerobatic airplanes regulating fume during their moody routines. When used properly, fume systems can supplement a good understanding to your moody presentation. The aberration it gives to specific segments of your moody slight will boost their interest and pizzazz to both a spectators and your associate pilots alike.

MAN contributor, consultant aerobatic commander and national champion John Glezellis give us an up-close demeanour during installing a fume complement scrupulously for unchanging performance.

Decisions, Decisions

Today, many commercially-available fume systems use a apart battery source to control a fume siphon unit. we suggest these forms as they don’t pull stream from your receiver battery, and a volume of fume that is constructed can be simply tranquil around your mechanism radio. While we have not used all of a fume systems that are commercially available, we have tested and have successfully used several of them over a years.


My personal favorites embody a SmartSmoker from Tajera Microsystems Engineering, Inc. (TMJ), and a Skywriter from Sullivan shown above. Other renouned manufacturers embody 3W and Slimline, and while we have not privately used these pumps, we know they work equally as well.

Pumpless Smoke


Another renouned fume complement is an comparison product yet it still works good and doesn’t have a electrically driven pump. It is a BB Specialties Smoke Pumper. This high volume fume complement contains a Pump, BB Control Valve, hose and all equipment for easy installation. The Super Smoke Pumper does not embody a fume generating scarf or fume fuel tank. The heart of a BB Smoke System is, of course, a pumper that operates on engine crankcase pulsing pressure. No need to worry about a ruptured fume fuel tank stuffing a inside of a fuselage with fluid. The fume fuel tank is not pressurized. It is a surefire approach of relocating liquid from a fume tank to your fume generating muffler. Simple and effective.


If we are regulating a fume siphon such as a SmartSmoker or a Skywriter, we will need to accumulate a following materials:

  • Smoke Pump Unit
  • Check Valve
  • Battery container (4.8 – 6V)
  • Fuel Tank for Smoke Fluid
  • Fuel filler Dot
  • Zip Ties
  • Gasoline-proof fuel line
  • Neoprene tubing
  • T-Fitting

Some pilots will be regulating a same aerobatic aeroplane for IMAC (sequence competition) as they use for their freestyle competition. Since fume isn’t indispensable for IMAC routines, creation a removable tray to support a fume tank, pump, and siphon battery, is a elementary and discerning approach to save a bruise or some-more in weight. If your indication is a tad on a complicated side, give this suspicion some thought.


Start by installing a fume tank. If there’s room, we always cite to mountain my fuel tank and fume tank together in an area unequivocally tighten to a airplane’s Center of Gravity. This approach as fuel and fume liquid is depleted a model’s CG will sojourn unvaried around a flight. If your fuel tank and fume tank are located in a front of a model, you’ll find that your indication is nose complicated during a start of a moody and as a moody progresses, you’ll have to change conveyor trim as a indication becomes some-more and some-more tail heavy.

I run 3 lines out of a fume tank. One line simply vents to a outward of a aircraft on a bottom of a model, a second attaches to a fume siphon (the inner line is trustworthy to a clunk), and a third line that is used for stuffing a tank and is trustworthy to a fuel dot. we also cite to mountain my siphon tighten to a fume tank, and tighten to a tank’s tallness within a airframe. we also make a fume battery removable. we use a 2000mAh NiMH battery, yet with such a tiny stream draw, a 500mAh battery could be used and will yield about 30-minutes of smoke-on time.


With a fume siphon like that from TME and Sullivan, we will notice that dual servo leads come out of a pump. One is connected to a battery and a second lead plugs into a gangling channel pier in a receiver.

Twin Cylinder Setup

Mufflers 1

While regulating a twin-cylinder engine with dual mufflers, Like this Zenoah GT 80 and Slimline Smoke Mufflers shown above, a fume complement needs a T-fitting to supply liquid to both mufflers. we insert Neoprene line from a “T” Fitting to any empty header (via a threaded vigour tap,) that we serve secure to a header regulating JB Weld. we use gasoline tubing from a siphon to a “T” wise and Neoprene line after a T-fitting. Neoprene withstands feverishness many improved than customary gasoline line. A check valve helps forestall scarf vigour pulling liquid retrograde by a fume siphon during durations where a fume complement is off. The check valve is located between a tank and a T-fitting.


Smoke Pump Programming

If we feel that simply assigning your fume siphon to work on a switch during one customary speed is acceptable, consider again! When fume is injected into a model’s scarf or empty system, it is vicious to change a volume of liquid being pumped. If too many oil is injected into a scarf while a stifle is during a low setting, it can kill a engine. Not good for a scheme like a spin with fume on.


Above, Now, it is critical to implement a Curve Mix to safeguard that a fume siphon is off when a stifle hang is during idle, and a siphon gradually increases in speed as a stifle is advanced. In further to regulating a Mix, we can also diminution a fume siphon rate by regulating your ATV screen. Here, we have decreased a speed, when activated, to 50%. Find a correct change by regulating both a Mix, and a ATV screen, to find a optimal rate.

For my airplanes, we block a fume siphon into a gangling channel and allot it to a switch. For example, let’s contend that we have Aux 4 as a giveaway pier on my receiver. In this case, I’ll allot Aux 4 to a Mix Switch on my transmitter. Then, we will implement one of a programmable mixes to brew Throttle (the master channel) to Aux 4 (the worker channel). we afterwards allot this brew to a switch (Gear Switch), and module opposite points on my brew graph (using a brew curve,) for opposite siphon speeds to work during in propinquity to a stifle setting. For example, during idle, we wish a siphon to hardly work so that small to no fume liquid is pumped into a exhaust. As we boost a throttle, a fume siphon increases a flow. Using both a Adjustable Travel Volume shade and a Mix duty can change a rate during that a siphon operates during a fullest potential. Remember, though, a bend brew is critical!

When programming a fume volume, we can make many adjustments on a ground. For limit power, though, let your engine idle for a notation or dual on a ground. Then, activate your fume siphon during or tighten to full power. If we see a vast detonate of fume primarily followed by a smaller volume of smoke, diminution your fume rate as too many oil is being used. Making excellent adjustments like this will safeguard that we have a arguable and considerable volume of fume during your flights. Fine tuning a siphon will also maximize your “Smoke On” time.


Enhancing Your Flight

If we simply use your fume during a whole flight, it isn’t scarcely as considerable as if we use it usually to prominence specific maneuvers. For example, if we wish to perform a knife-edge pass, spin a fume on before we hurl a indication to knife-edge, and afterwards close it off after we finish a scheme and we hurl behind to honest turn flight. This is many some-more entertaining, adds a singular visible dimension, and optimizes your fume liquid usage.


Final Thoughts

Installing and scrupulously regulating a fume complement with your aerobatic craft is both discerning and easy to accomplish.  Laying down a long, thick, prolonged durability fume route is unequivocally gratifying and can be used for both an aerobatic routine, or with WW1 and WW2 warbirds. It’s all about carrying fun and impressing your drifting buddies. Until Next Time, Smoke on and fly hard!

 Smoke Fluid
Over a years, we have had good success by regulating Super Dri Aviation Smoke Oil by MDW Aviation. This liquid is designed for both full scale and indication airplanes alike, and it browns unequivocally well. Also it is protected for a sourroundings and is bio-degradable.


Smoke liquid is also accessible from Robart Mfg., and their “Liquid Sky” fume liquid is white in color, prolonged unresolved and a unique and appreciative  Root Beer scent. Pilots everywhere are braggadocio about great success with Robart’s Liquid Sky and it is popular since it does not conflict foam. It’s also accessible in incomparable containers for a unequivocally active uncover pilot.

SB Inset

Take a revisit to your internal hobby emporium to order, or check them both out online at:



Above, Mitch Epstein’s 2010 Top Gun entrance was a site to behold. Not usually was a aeroplane beautifully built, yet it smoked exquisitely around a competition.





Desert Aircraft

Horizon Hobby JR Radios


MDW Aviation



TME, Tajera Microsystems Engineering, Inc.

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