ZooNamedGames

Ram Air Turbine (RATs)

29 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

In real life (especially on Boeing aircraft) aircraft require power to operate flaps and elevators on aircraft. Now on larger aircraft like Boeing aircraft this is managed by hydraulic fluids. However in the event power is lost and cannot be maintained, a special device is automatically deployed to keep the power up and it's this device known as the Ram Air Turbine (RAT) that I feel is perfect for KSP.

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The devices benefit is twofold. It is a great source of power for those during descent and landing since those in early career won't have a means to power their landing once their power dies off (because I'd say 90%+ players do not disable reaction torque on their command pod of aircraft as I do). It's unrealistic to have solar panels strewn about an aircraft just for landing power as well, however the RAT is reasonable.

It also is seen in multiple locations on various locations tuck away in small bays just like a retracted landing gear in KSP.

So, let me know of your thoughts.

Edited by ZooNamedGames
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I've often thought about having a RAT on a KSP plane, but I don't see a real need for it.  You have to be out of power, either through lack of fuel or the engines fell off (sometimes an equally likely scenario given KSP physics).   But when You are out of power, unless your plane is designed to be a glider, you rarely fall like a rock fly longer than your batteries will last.  And if your plane is a glider, you sure as hell don't want a drag inducing windmill hanging off your belly slowing you down.   The rare case where you would design in between these two scenarios would be something like a shuttle landing.  Some players have mastered the art of dead sticking a space plane, but I'd assume most haven't.  I sure as heck can't.  My spaceplanes usually have a bit of fuel leftover to help make a powered approach and landing.  Usually not more than what is enough to bring a plane down from about 12k over the mountains to the west, but I usually have plenty of electric. 

Now that said, while I don't see a need for it,  I would love to play around with one, and think there are inventive players out there who could find  good use for it.  I think this would make an excellent mod. 

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4 minutes ago, Gargamel said:

I've often thought about having a RAT on a KSP plane, but I don't see a real need for it.  You have to be out of power, either through lack of fuel or the engines fell off (sometimes an equally likely scenario given KSP physics).   But when You are out of power, unless your plane is designed to be a glider, you rarely fall like a rock fly longer than your batteries will last.  And if your plane is a glider, you sure as hell don't want a drag inducing windmill hanging off your belly slowing you down.   The rare case where you would design in between these two scenarios would be something like a shuttle landing.  Some players have mastered the art of dead sticking a space plane, but I'd assume most haven't.  I sure as heck can't.  My spaceplanes usually have a bit of fuel leftover to help make a powered approach and landing.  Usually not more than what is enough to bring a plane down from about 12k over the mountains to the west, but I usually have plenty of electric. 

Now that said, while I don't see a need for it,  I would love to play around with one, and think there are inventive players out there who could find  good use for it.  I think this would make an excellent mod. 

Well the idea is that players may fly in and cut engine power so they aren't are accelerating as they hit the runway (increasing ground effect and potential to take back off again). For players that do cut the power, this would help. Maybe because they have lots of SAS modules, a science lab, refinery or transmission in use; whatever it is, they have power without the engine.

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7 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Well the idea is that players may fly in and cut engine power so they aren't are accelerating as they hit the runway (increasing ground effect and potential to take back off again). For players that do cut the power, this would help. Maybe because they have lots of SAS modules, a science lab, refinery or transmission in use; whatever it is, they have power without the engine.

Ground effect isn't modeled in KSP. 

If you cut your engines to bleed speed for landing, then you really don't have a need for a converter to be running at that time, as you should have enough fuel to fire them back up.  The point is, if a safe landing is your priority, then shutting down non-essential systems (Science, ISRU, etc) during the landing is probably a good idea.  Those science points don't do you any good if you're dead. 

Also, the RAT would only work in atmospheres, so most of your flight controls should be through control surfaces, which don't require much electricity (if any??).  I'll admit to not turning off my SAS and such because I'm a crappy pilot and everything helps. 

And also, the power generated by a RAT is only sufficient to run a few vital systems.  There is no way it would be able to power an ISRU, science lab, and fly a plane all at the same time.  If it could, we'd all have a little windmill attached to our cars and homes and nobody would need gas, ever. 

But again, I like the idea for a mod.  It'd be fun to play with. 

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20 minutes ago, Gargamel said:

most of your flight controls should be through control surfaces, which don't require much electricity (if any??)

Quick testing shows no electricity needed, even for the big-s elevon 2s

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Gargamel said:

Ground effect isn't modeled in KSP.

No but flying as you attempt to land is a real problem that is often encountered during landings with younger pilots.

1 hour ago, Gargamel said:

If you cut your engines to bleed speed for landing, then you really don't have a need for a converter to be running at that time, as you should have enough fuel to fire them back up.

Also, the RAT would only work in atmospheres, so most of your flight controls should be through control surfaces, which don't require much electricity (if any??).  I'll admit to not turning off my SAS and such because I'm a crappy pilot and everything helps. 

And also, the power generated by a RAT is only sufficient to run a few vital systems.

43 minutes ago, qzgy said:

Quick testing shows no electricity needed, even for the big-s elevon 2s

Control surfaces do not use power but the closest thing is the SAS torque which in simplicity operates the same. Requiring power to provide controls.

Edited by ZooNamedGames

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No offense, but are RATs really needed in a game that gives you an even better option: RTGs?

Yes, it's not realistic, but realism was shown the door long ago. (Playability trumps realism in many cases... Or else we'd only bother playing Real Life(tm).)

Granted, it's not as pretty as a RAT for aircraft design if you don't intend on using a hollow part of some sort (e.g. cargo bay) or just clipping the sucker, but it's constant power without the dependency on forward movement in an atmosphere. (And there's also the bane to many a designer: drag...)

Honestly, I can't see the benefits of RATs in KSP when it has better implementations for power generation in aircraft. The only thing I can see going for this is cost (that's just one line of code in a *.cfg file) and for the sake of realism. I think it's too much effort for not enough pay-off, generally speaking. For sim enthusiasts it'd be nice, but I can't see that demographic making up a large enough portion of the player-base to warrant/justify an implementation of RATs that works (well) without some hacks. (Unless implementing them is easy; I doubt it given KSP's development history...)

WARNING: The following addresses a point (Career Mode), but contains a mild rant:

Spoiler

I'm ignoring career progression because career mode is meh and pretty half-assed in terms of implementation/gameplay mechanics. Managing income/budgets I can work with; grinding science (via "exploration") independent of income to advance technology is dumb. (Looking at dirt shouldn't teach me how to build a rocket.) Long story short, I have A LOT to say (read: complain) about regarding career mode. I use mods and ramp up the science multiplier to make career mode less grind-y. As such, I usually forget about (or ignore) tech progression when talking about the parts. (Especially for new part suggestions...) Kinda a bad habit... Still, career mode progression is typically a poor reason for a new part, IMHO. (For rebalancing existing parts it makes some sense, but only barely given career's mechanics, though. Yes, I really dislike career mode. I feel and KNOW it can be done better; look at nearly any other game. The stop-gap implementation from the development days doesn't cut it in a commercial v1.0 release.)

 

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20 hours ago, ZooNamedGames said:

No but flying as you attempt to land is a real problem that is often encountered during landings with younger pilots.

 

Not just younger pilots..... I've been playing this longer than you (based on forum join date, and my got reset by the '13 foracoplypse), and I still look longingly at the wide open fields beside the KSP as I try to land on the runway.    Ground effect would screw me up even more.  The last thing I want as I'm trying to ease down is more lift, probably means I need to slow down more.....

 

But again, as a mod, I'd love this.  I know there are air to air refueling mods that have a deployable probe similar to a RAT's general shape.  It would just have to calculate air density vs air speed to figure out how much power it can generate, up to a limit.  I'm not a modder, so I don't know if that is possible, or easier than just making the RAT a very small RTG that can be deployed on demand, adds drag when deployed, none (or very little) when not, and only generates power when deployed, and no heat. 

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Posted (edited)

@Gargamel @ZooNamedGames I've decided to try and work on this. I'm not a 3d artist so this might take some time (but a plugin to make it work like a real rat shouldn't be a problem). Here's what I've modeled so far:

 dqBe8hz.png

That top bit will become one of the props and will be mirrored below as well.

Edited by TheRagingIrishman
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1 hour ago, TheRagingIrishman said:

@Gargamel @ZooNamedGames I've decided to try and work on this. I'm not a 3d artist so this might take some time (but a plugin to make it work like a real rat shouldn't be a problem). Here's what I've modeled so far:

 dqBe8hz.png

That top bit will become one of the props and will be mirrored below as well.

Bravo. Please make a thread and I will be one of the first (if not the first) to follow and test it.

Yes it's something small and silly ultimately in the vast range of things but it makes it that much more realistic for a person who plays with part failures and who is aiming to become a future commercial pilot.

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There was a modpack that provided RATs a few versions back... It also included a proximity radar to warn you of potential flight into terrain situations while distracted.

Lemme see if I can't find that thread and link it.

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AHA! Here it is:

It's been a while since it was updated, but perhaps some benevolent soul could revive it.

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I really don't see why nobody seems to use fuel cells. The ram air turbine is a nice concept and I'd definitely find uses for them purely for the sake of finding a use for one if they were in the game, but to be quite honest I don't understand why so few people use fuel cells in situations when solar doesn't make sense and an RTG is prohibitively expensive. Fuel cells provide a surprisingly large amount of power for a small amount of fuel; generally I've found that a fuel cell with a single Oscar-B tank is plenty to power most short-term missions. Or enough to power a plane if the engines don't have alternators.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, MaverickSawyer said:

AHA! Here it is:

It's been a while since it was updated, but perhaps some benevolent soul could revive it.

I'll take a look at it.

looked at it, and adopting it early next week.

Edited by linuxgurugamer
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13 hours ago, eloquentJane said:

I really don't see why nobody seems to use fuel cells.

Because its a bulky and non aerodynamic part that has to be clipped or hidden to make sense on a plane i geuss, im not completely sure though.

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Posted (edited)

3 hours ago, NSEP said:

Because its a bulky and non aerodynamic part that has to be clipped or hidden to make sense on a plane i geuss, im not completely sure though.

Service bay. Or a cargo bay (and if people are willing to use mods to add a ram air turbine, I know there are mods which add Mk1 cargo bays). But anyway, I wasn't trying to criticize the idea of a ram air turbine - I do like the idea - I was just mentioning a stock alternative that's perfectly good for some situations, and is even better in other situations (like outside of an atmosphere).

Edited by eloquentJane
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3 hours ago, eloquentJane said:

Service bay. Or a cargo bay (and if people are willing to use mods to add a ram air turbine, I know there are mods which add Mk1 cargo bays). But anyway, I wasn't trying to criticize the idea of a ram air turbine - I do like the idea - I was just mentioning a stock alternative that's perfectly good for some situations, and is even better in other situations (like outside of an atmosphere).

Because personally I don't carry around oxidizer tanks in my mk1 fuel tanks.

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12 minutes ago, ZooNamedGames said:

Because personally I don't carry around oxidizer tanks in my mk1 fuel tanks.

A service bay can hold a couple of Oscar-B tanks (though really just one is usually plenty) and a couple of fuel cells, and it really doesn't make a huge difference to the center of mass. Fuel cells are also nice for spaceplanes actually; when solar panels are impractical a fuel cell setup usually doesn't take up too much room in the cargo bay (assuming there is one, but most spaceplanes have one). And it works during atmospheric flight as well as it does in space, which is another reason why I like them on spaceplanes in particular.

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22 hours ago, MaverickSawyer said:

AHA! Here it is:

It's been a while since it was updated, but perhaps some benevolent soul could revive it.

I've gotten this compiled for 1.3, but don't have time to test it or update the configs right now.

Anyone want to help?

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31 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

I've gotten this compiled for 1.3, but don't have time to test it or update the configs right now.

Anyone want to help?

Sure.

 

35 minutes ago, eloquentJane said:

A service bay can hold a couple of Oscar-B tanks (though really just one is usually plenty) and a couple of fuel cells, and it really doesn't make a huge difference to the center of mass. Fuel cells are also nice for spaceplanes actually; when solar panels are impractical a fuel cell setup usually doesn't take up too much room in the cargo bay (assuming there is one, but most spaceplanes have one). And it works during atmospheric flight as well as it does in space, which is another reason why I like them on spaceplanes in particular.

For me it isn't realistic and more importantly has to be toggled where a RAT is simply deployed.

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1 hour ago, ZooNamedGames said:

more importantly has to be toggled where a RAT is simply deployed

Toggled by clicking a menu item (or AG) as opposed to deployed by clicking a menu item (or AG)?

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13 minutes ago, natsirt721 said:

Toggled by clicking a menu item (or AG) as opposed to deployed by clicking a menu item (or AG)?

It's further out of the way I'm wanting to go for lacking realism. A real RAT automatically deploys. Whereas a bi-propellant generator does not.

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Just now, ZooNamedGames said:

It's further out of the way I'm wanting to go for lacking realism. A real RAT automatically deploys. Whereas a bi-propellant generator does not.

Oh I totally agree about the realism aspect. Automatic deployment is something I forgot to consider.

I think fuel cells will reduce their output based on need, that's sort of like automatic deployment?

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Just now, natsirt721 said:

Oh I totally agree about the realism aspect. Automatic deployment is something I forgot to consider.

I think fuel cells will reduce their output based on need, that's sort of like automatic deployment?

Partially but it's basically the equivalent of bringing a gas powered generator to power your ultralight's reaction wheels. Kinda overkill... but that's just me and maybe I'm crazy.

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