The BP Hobbies Me 163B-1a Komet, reviewed in the October issue of Model Airplane News, is a unique aircraft with many interesting features. Here, reviewer Klaus Ronge explains some additional features of the aircraft and some of his modifications.
There is a removable hatch to access the stock tailwheel assembly which I did not use since the rocket engine ducting took up the space where the tail wheel linkage would have gone. I made the ducting out of some Estes rocket body tubes I had on hand. The ducting is required to exhaust the ejection charge gasses and it makes a 180 degree turn. It took a little head scratching, but I wanted it to exit out the rear for a more realistic effect.
In this photo you can see the ejection charge exit near the tailwheel pushrod at the bottom of the photo. I used a Dremel tool to cut the opening and then made a paste of 30-minute epoxy and microballoons to seal the body tube duct to the fuselage interior. There are plugged rocket motors available which do not have an ejection charge if you want to eliminate the ducting.
The Evolution 60 engine and APC 11×7 prop are a great combination for this plane. The extra power from the engine provides good speed and vertical performance. It weighs about the same as most 46 engines and is only slightly lager. It has proven to be reliable and smooth running.
The removable hatch provides easy access to the fuselage interior. I put the radio switch inside and also a rocket motor arming switch for the 3-cell LiPo used to remotely fire the motor. A 7-channel Spektrum receiver and JR 9303 transmitter provide the guidance. I used the gear switch to activate the rocket motor. Note for the electric enthusiast; the servo tray makes a great location for the flight batteries making it an easy conversion.
A balsa false bottom was fabricated to give Adolf (From Slimline Products) some more room. This adds depth to the cockpit and allowed use of the pilot figure without surgery. The Komet has many possibilities for the scale enthusiast, such as cockpit detail, panel lines, etc. Right now I am having a blast with it and the more I fly it the more I like it.