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  #1  
Old 09-11-2020, 12:14 PM
MacCool's Avatar
MacCool MacCool is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: central Minnesota
Posts: 340
Default Smoke system - pros and cons

I have an opportunity for a pretty good deal on acquiring a 4.25 gallon "hidden" smoke system (tank mounts behind passenger seat) as part of the deal on an RV-9A that I'm buying and picking up this weekend .

I find the concept intriguing but know little about them. What are the pros and cons of having a 13.5 lb smoke system on my airplane?
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  #2  
Old 09-11-2020, 12:35 PM
74-07 74-07 is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: Greenville, SC
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Check the price of smoke oil.
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  #3  
Old 09-11-2020, 12:41 PM
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SMRacer SMRacer is offline
 
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Location: Leesburg, VA
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Default Be careful

Smoking is addictive, so be very cautious. I'm about to buy my 4th 55 gallon drum of smoke oil.

Regarding price: This is the current best priced 55 gal drum that I can find.
https://petroleumservicecompany.com/...5-gallon-drum/
In the past I have used concrete from release oil and it was much cheaper, but I no longer can find a cheap source.
PSC offers flat rate shipping, so you can purchase up to 4 55 gal drums and get it shipped for $95. Find some friends
for a group buy and get it shipped cheap.
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Leesburg, VA (KJYO)
RV4 N444JT (sold)
RV8 N37PK

Last edited by SMRacer : 09-11-2020 at 02:16 PM.
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  #4  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:00 PM
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MacCool MacCool is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SMRacer View Post
Smoking is addictive, so be very cautious. I'm about to buy my 4th 55 gallon drum of smoke oil.
LOL. That's a lot of oil. It's expensive stuff...I'll have exercise restraint and be judicious.

Does it make a mess on the hull?
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  #5  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:04 PM
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Mike S Mike S is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MacCool View Post
What are the pros and cons of having a 13.5 lb smoke system on my airplane?
Best one I can think of is collision avoidance.
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  #6  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:10 PM
David Paule David Paule is offline
 
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Location: Boulder, CO
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Since visibility of one of the main reasons we go flying, why on Earth would anyone want to intentionally degrade it?

Dave
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  #7  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:19 PM
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scrollF4 scrollF4 is offline
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Pros
- It's friggin' fun, especially in formation and when flying extended trail. Looking over my shoulder and seeing my own smoke-traced loop in the sky is really a cool feeling.
- A couple of quick sequential puffs of smoke help other pilots find you visually when they're "searching" for traffic. That falls in the 'safety' category. Quite a few pilots have commented positively on that to me.
- Did I mention fun?

Cons
- Oil cost. There are two parts to this. First, you'll spend anywhere from $8 to $13 per gallon depending on the source, product, and quantity (55 gal drums cost less per gallon than 5 gallon cans). You can defray some of that by splitting a drum with a buddy. Secondly, you burn approx 1/2 gallon of oil per minute, so it's easy to 'burn' money with this.
- Installation. You've got to get this right. Oil leaks are a bear to clean.
- Weight and space. I believe you're talking about the SmokeSystemHelper.com tank which, like mine, mounts behind a seat. That's a GREAT system to use, but it still denies you a little space you could have used for bags.
- Your aircraft's belly. It's going to need cleaning (but isn't that always true for RVs?).

It's your mind to make up. Me? I love my system. I wish I had been a little swifter and bought Marvin's company.
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  #8  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:25 PM
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Foghorn Foghorn is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
Best one I can think of is collision avoidance.
This is the #1 reason I'm adding smoke. I have a 3 gallon tank and when tower or traffic say "not in sight" I'll just give them a few seconds of smoke, problem solved. It will be nice for aerobatics/formations too.
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  #9  
Old 09-11-2020, 01:58 PM
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RONSIM RONSIM is offline
 
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Default "911-Plane on Fire"

Talked my buddy out of smoke system --- just could not see it over Clearwater Beach without reports to 911.

Ron
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  #10  
Old 09-11-2020, 03:09 PM
Rich Pulman Rich Pulman is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: CYQA Canada
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I pondered doing it for my build, but quickly realized that the only time I'd want to use it is when I wouldn't want the feds to know what I'm doing. I.E. the guy doing stupid (fun) stuff can be found at the tip of the smoke trail.
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