Fi­nal Ap­proach A Time for Build­ing

Tim Ri­naldi’s Pratt & Whit­ney JT8D Tur­bo­fan

Model Airplane News - - CONTENTS - By Andy Figlar

MANY MODEL­ERS HAVE TRIED scratch build­ing with vary­ing de­grees of suc­cess. Build­ing with only the ma­te­ri­als you can gather your­self, not pro­vided by a com­pany or hobby store, can be daunt­ing at best. How about try­ing to build a Pratt & Whit­ney JT8D en­gine us­ing only re­cy­cled card­board and hot glue?

Tim Ri­naldi, now 16, be­gan his mod­el­ing ca­reer mak­ing Lego mod­els from scratch.

As his skills pro­gressed and he re­fined his tal­ents, Tim be­came in­ter­ested in re­mote con­trol. Bor­row­ing 10 ser­vos, some re­ceivers, a ra­dio, and bat­ter­ies from me, Tim (at age

14!) de­signed and built a biped ro­bot that could walk for­ward and back­ward and move its arms. He en­tered it into Con­necti­cut’s

2016 Durham Fair and was awarded a first­place rib­bon and a spe­cial best-in-cat­e­gory award for his age group.

An­other cat­e­gory for youth ex­hibitors at the Durham Fair is “Cre­ative Use of Re­cy­cled Ma­te­ri­als,” which re­quires youth to build items us­ing only re­cy­clable ma­te­ri­als. In­trigued, Tim set out to build a jet en­gine made out of the sheet metal of tin soup cans. He ref­er­enced the In­ter­net when re­search­ing the com­po­si­tion and func­tion of jet en­gines, com­pleted the project, en­tered his work in the Durham Fair and, once again, won for his age cat­e­gory at the 2016 fair.

This all led to the build­ing of his sig­na­ture ac­com­plish­ment to date: a Pratt & Whit­ney JT8D Tur­bo­fan jet en­gine. While vis­it­ing Pratt & Whit­ney, an aerospace man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany in Con­necti­cut, Tim caught a glimpse of a fullscale en­gine cut­away on dis­play in the lobby. He was so im­pressed by what he saw that he de­cided to repli­cate it. With pic­tures that he took of the Tur­bo­fan, he be­gan to de­sign and cre­ate his own model.

Rem­i­nis­cent of his use of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als for the Durham Fair, his model was made out of brown card­board and hot glue. His re­volv­ing Tur­bo­fan blade is 7 inches in di­am­e­ter, and the length of the en­gine, from nose to end cone, is 33 inches. The fan re­volves around a sim­ple 1/3-inch wooden rod, and the cir­cum­fer­ence of the en­gine is a whop­ping 21.98 inches. It’s a model of sub­stan­tial size, weigh­ing in at 2 pounds. Tim spray-painted his en­gine with two dif­fer­ent shades of sil­ver to match the orig­i­nal en­gine at Pratt & Whit­ney.

He be­gan con­struct­ing the model on June 26, and fin­ished it on Au­gust 8, 2017, in time to win again at the Durham Fair. In fact, he was awarded a spe­cial best in show award for the unique­ness of his cre­ation.

The model caught the at­ten­tion of an en­gi­neer from Pratt & Whit­ney, who saw it at the fair. Fas­ci­nated, he in­vited Tim to bring his model en­gine to Pratt & Whit­ney in East Hart­ford. Tim joy­ously ac­cepted. In the spring of 2018, he brought his en­gine to Pratt & Whit­ney, where he was greeted by Pratt ex­ec­u­tives and given a tour of the man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity and the com­pany’s mu­seum. He pre­sented his en­gine to a body of en­gi­neers, staff, and ex­ec­u­tives, where he was ac­knowl­edged and con­grat­u­lated for his amaz­ing model.

Ea­ger to con­tinue his cre­ativ­ity, Tim is plan­ning his next project: a card­board V-8 en­gine with work­ing pis­tons. The amount of thought, de­sign, and engineering skills that have gone into the com­ple­tion of his projects should en­cour­age us all, at any age, to forge ahead with our own ideas, to re­al­ize that we can make some­thing unique that is our own, not out of a man­u­fac­turer’s box. Who has the time? The in­ge­nu­ity? The pas­sion? Tim did. So can we.

Tim Ri­naldi, age 16, with his home­made model of the Pratt & Whit­ney JT8D Tur­bo­fan en­gine.

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