Spectacular Jet-Powered Flame Effects Device from "Burning Man" Makes Dream Machines Debut
When Jack Schroll was a child, his mother didn’t worry too much about her son playing with matches. But cherry bombs? M80s?
"Oh yeah! Back then, all that stuff was legal," says Schroll. "And I loved it!"
Schroll’s passion for things pyrotechnic was further ignited in his adulthood while attending the closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
"When members of the Australian Air Force did a very low fly-over, they turned on their afterburners and created a brilliant display of light streaks and fire in the night sky. It really inspired me."
To that end, Schroll purchased an aircraft engine through eBay. Schroll’s plan was to turn what was once the left engine on a French fighter plane into the most powerful flame thrower in the world.
In honor of the all-hell-is-breaking-loose, fiery effects, Schroll’s daughter christened the modified engine/menacing beast El Diablo. The device can send flames 100 feet into the air.
"I had no experience with gas turbines and less experience with afterburners," admits mad scientist Schroll. "Almost like a miracle, a friend of mine, who was a key part of the project, knew someone who did turbine research for NASA. He gave us the key information we needed to build a flame holder for the afterburner."
Spending time constructing a modern-day flame thrower has brought Schroll his share of notoriety, and not just from local fire departments.
"We’re one of the big attractions at the Burning Man festival every year. You can see many videos on YouTube of our shows," says Schroll.
His craze for combustibles also snagged the interest of The Discovery Channel, which featured Schroll on its popular show, "Smash Lab."
Says Schroll, "To see El Diablo in full force, with its changing colors and the titanium effect of glitter and sparkles swirling in its afterburn — it reminds you of the raw power and energy that fire has and the beauty it offers when harnessed safely."
Schroll will be firing up El Diablo at the Pacific Coast Dream Machines Show, April 27-28 at Half Moon Bay Airport. El Diablo comes with an expert crew and security team to ensure the safety of spectators.