The PJ-II Dreamer - Ducted Fan Fighter Replica Kitplane
By Willie Bodenstein
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Ben Kolotilin, a Russian pilot living in the USA in the 90s while attending air shows, quickly realised that there was a substantial market for ex-military jets, but because of the prohibitive cost, few people could afford to own one.
In his free time, Ben began to work on the design of a kit airplane that had the looks of a military jet fighter. The result of his work was a unique composite tandem two-seater with dual controls and tricycle retractable landing gear light aircraft which boasted the properties of a jet fighter, but without the expenses of jet propulsion.
In 2004, while visiting his hometown of Volgograd, Russia, he met people some likeminded people that wanted to build the Dreamer and after 11 years of work, the prototype first flew on 17 March 2015. A year later, the Dreamer aircraft received its airworthiness certification from Russian aviation authorities and it was one of the stars of Sun 'n Fun in the USA. In September 2019, Dreamer was shown at MAKS 2019 International Air Show in Moscow, where it was in the top 10 'most interesting' aircraft on display.
The uniqueness of Ben's design lies in the use of the ducted fan system which allows jet-like aircraft performance without the cost related to jet turbine power. Dreamer is powered by a General Motors LS6 V8 5,7 litre reciprocating internal combustion liquid cooled engine, driving two ducted fans through a gearbox and driven through a dampened flywheel. A shaft with universal joints on each end drives two five bladed fans that are rigidly supported in the duct.
The LS series of engines have the ability to run at high rpm for extended periods of time. The LS6, LS7 and LS3 engines have the same external dimensions and mounting points so that any of these engines can be used in this aircraft. LS engines are the only ones that don't need to be stripped down completely and rebuilt to accommodate aircraft use.
The cost of acquisition and maintenance of the PJ-II "Dreamer" is comparable to the cost of light piston engine propeller aircraft.
A PJ-II "Dreamer" includes the pre-moulded composite airframe components, canopy frame and glass, retractable landing gear, aileron, elevator, control stick system, rudder control system, flap control system, elevator electric trim system, interior closeout panels and seats, the fan drive, engine/gearbox mount, gearbox, fan drive shafts and fan assemblies.
Excluded are the engine (ls6/ls7), hydraulic, fuel, electrical systems and avionics, wheels, brakes and tires, radio/ nav and antennas, interior and exterior lighting and upholstery and finishing materials.
The company is currently in the process of setting up a serial production kit and estimates that the first kits will be available for sale in the first quarter of 2021.
Top speed (Vne) 350 km/h 219 mph
Cruise speed (Vno) 300 km/h 187 mph
Stall speed (Vs) 120 km/h 75 mph
Stall speed (Vso) 100 km/h 62 mph
Gear and Flaps speed (Vfe) 180 km/h 112 mph
Rate of climb 14 m/s 2,500 fpm
Fuel consumption (cruise) 40-60 lit/h 10-15 gal/h
Range 1,200 km 750 st.miles
Service ceiling 4,000 m 13,000 ft.
Take off distance 500 m 1,500 ft.
Landing distance 500 m 1,500 ft.