Why do you collect jet engines?
Lot’s of reasons really; the challenge of getting a lump of potential scrap up and running again, the thrill of running gas turbines such as the potential danger that the thing could explode, the noise and the sheer power. Many of the engines are precision engineered with amazing attention to detail and each has a unique history attached. Some have been used in combat, training and others to take passengers far and wide all over the globe.
What do you do with them?
My main objective when I get a new engine is to overhaul it to ground running condition. I have used engines to power vehicles such as my jet-powered landrover, others I keep and run every now and again.
What do the neighbours say?
Fortunately I live in a rural area with only a few neighbours. Most are tolerant and as I rarely run the engines on a regular basis few have directly complained. Obviously you do have to be considerate as the noise can be an issue.By in large those that do or have the potential to complain have little understanding or appreciation of any form of science or technology.
How much does a jet engine cost?
Anything from several hundred to over a million pounds. Most “hobby” engines are near the end of their lives and would have been scrapped by their original owners. Most go for somewhere between £1000-2000 pounds. The challenge is to find a really good unit at a very cheap price.
Where do you buy them from?
Various sources including Ebay, aeronautical engineering firms, aircraft scrap agents, exMOD disposal companies and fellow turbine collectors.
Can you buy a new or nearly new commercial jet engine?
Yes you can if you could afford $20-25 million, the asking price for a RR Trent 1000. Having said that most engine manufacturers would be reluctant to sell you just one, you’d probably have to buy a minimum order of 10!
How dangerous are they?
All turbine engines are dangerous however the risks are minimal providing a few simple rules are obeyed. The engine must be properly monitored with appropriate instrumentation, fire fighting equipment should be on hand, avoid standing in the radial plane of the rotating assembly when the engine is running, avoid sudden throttle changes and ensure the risk of FOD (foreign object damage) is minimised.
What fuel do they use?
All of my engines are designed to use aviation jet kerosene known as JetA1. However, I use standard heating kerosene that is almost identical to JetA1 apart from the various additives to prevent it freezing at altitude. Heating kerosene is slightly cheaper and I can have it delivered in bulk.