A nitro engine (or glow engine) is an reciprocating internal combustion engine that burns nitro fuel.
Nitro engines used in helicopters are typically two-stroke carburetted designs with ignition provided by a glow plug. Nitro engines are measured by their piston displacement measured in cubic inches; most helicopter engines are in the range .30 to .90 cubic inches, and can develop between 1.4hp (1000 Watts) to 3.3hp (3500 Watts).
Nitro engines need to be tuned by the adjustment of one or more needle valves, which control how much fuel is mixed with the incoming air. The needle values can change the mixture from rich (too much fuel to burn) to lean (too little, leaving none for lubrication) very easily. Helicopter engines must be run rich; they are easily destroyed by overheating from running them too lean. Helicopter nitro engines typically have a large vaned cylinder head to aid cooling.
Nitro engines have a number of advantages over gasoline engines including better power to weight ratio and automatic ignition timing. Disadvantages include oily exhaust residue, relatively expensive fuel, and the need to carry starting gear including a starter motor and a glow starter.
Helicopter nitro engine manufacturers include:
- OS (also rebadged as Align);
- Thunder Tiger (TT);
- Super Custom (SC);
- ASP Engines;
- West (believed to be modified Webra engines);
Non-helicopter engine manufacturers:
- RCV Engines 4 stroke rotary valve engines;
- Laser Engines;
- Just Engines JEN;
- Fox Manufacturing;
- Evolution Engines;
- Saito four-stroke engines;
- Super Tigre;
- West four-stroke;
- AP Engines;
- KME Engines.
Share your opinion