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Oshkosh Engines & Prop Update


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For those who didn't attend Oshkosh, or for those that didn't get a chance to see everything, I thought I'd share what I found in the realm of engines and props. I'll start with the long-standing vapors first, and then move to shipping engines as I progress. I didn't get to see everything, so if anyone out there has anything to add, please do so.

 

Delta Hawk - Delta Hawk (DH) Diesel was at the show at several locations, with several finished engines. They looked very polished and ready to go, but deliveries were stated to start around December 2005. They flew and displayed their Delta Hawk Velocity, and published a comparison test between their plane and an identical IO-360 powered plane. As the DH is only around 150 HP with a turbo and supercharger, it really outshone the NA Lycoming at altitude and fuel consumption. Price was stated as whatever it says on their website, which hasn't changed for three years. They did say that they anticipate a price increase "shortly" to account for increasing material cost. DH has partnered with Kurt manufacturing (known for machinist tooling) to produce their engines in higher quantities and showed several pictures with tables full of parts (one picture had the cores of about 10 superchargers).

 

My impression of the DH now, after seeing one, is that I think it is stupid to supercharge and turbocharge the same engine. It adds unnecessary complexity. My gut feeling is that they turbocharge to muffle the exhaust and to normalize to sea level, and supercharge because the engine needs more air because they probably have a low compression ratio. If I could afford this engine, I would still pass on it at this time, as I think it needs to develop an independent track record.

 

Innodyn Turbine - Vaporware extraordinaire Innodyne was well represented at the show in both their own booth as well as a firewall-forward installer. I counted four of their turbine engines that I saw with my own eyes, including one in a plane, two polished show models and one more-bland engine in a crate. The firewall-forward provider (name escapes me now) stated fall delivery of these engines. They also showed off their Twin-Pack, which is two of their turbines mated to the same PSRU. Even though it would be loud, the mind boggles with the amount of power that would be generated in the same amount of weight as an O-360. I didn't get prices, as even their low fuel consumption (for a turbine) is still a bit high for Cozy strakes. This vapor may actually materialize this fall.

 

AES/V Aero (Bombardier/Rotax) - The Bombardier water-cooled V engines were back this year, with nary a reference to Bombardier or Rotax in their tent. These engines are quite complex, and quite heavy for the power they produce. A young engineer at the booth told me close to 600 lbs. installed for power in the 200 hp range. He also confided that everybody had been looking for an engine that slotted into a gaping hole in the Rotax line-up, one that was the same weight and power of a Lycoming IO-360. They showed the engine installed in a Murphy bush plane, but aren't ready to deliver anything yet, and are still testing the water.

 

Honda/Continental OL-370 - OK, so this engine wasn't here at the show, but I did get some more information on it. The Honda Aero Engines booth was staffed not by Honda employees, but by GE engineers who knew nothing about this engine at all. Taking this nugget of information, I wandered to the TCM tent and asked around for some information there. Apparently, The engine that Honda showed two years ago was just a research model. It was quite complete, and for the industry, developed. That isn't how Honda viewed it though. That engine was a trial balloon to gauge consumer reaction. Even though it was in-effect a concept model, it was actually a water-cooled, direct-drive, lighter than an IO-360, 225 HP aircraft engine that went through very thorough testing. No what?

 

Well, Honda and Continental are now in the development stage. What I was told is that the final engine will have at least all of those original specs, but will be a completely different engine. Best guestimate for availability was two-years out, but possibly longer.

 

Engine Components (ECI) - Titan Kit - I'm not a Lycoming fan, but ECI is doing yeoman's work to make new Lycoming engines more affordable. At their booth, there was an IO-360 kit-engine which in Lycoming parlance means non-certified. The kit for this constant-speed prop engine was quoted at $14,000. Now, this is still many times higher than an auto-conversion engine alone, and it comes as a collection of parts, not an assembled engine, but the end result is a brand new Lycoming clone engine, with all new parts with tighter tolerances than the original. This engine will bolt-on directly, and is piece for piece compatible with any Lycoming engine. The availability of this engine, along with Superior's XP-360 line, are forcing Lycoming to bend.

 

Lycoming - Yes, Lycoming had some new stuff, although not at their booth. Earlier in the year, Lycoming decided to add roller lifters, and announced that they would start putting them on new engines. Now, they will retrofit them into older engines in factory rebuilds as well.

 

Ready for this; Lycoming kit engines. These new kit engines from Lycoming are just like ECI's, even not being certified, except that they will only ship them to six assemblers. Several different models in the 320, 360, 390, and 540 families are part of this kit program, all utilizing roller lifters. This seems to be a direct shot at Superior. Not quite sure about the 210 hp IO-390-X (or XYZ-390), since it is for only the experimental market anyway, but it is part of the program too.

 

Lycoming also now has their own version of a FADEC, called EPiC. Apparently it relies on different cylinders that use automotive spark plugs and Lightspeed electronic ignitions! Yes, this is Lycoming.

 

Superior - Superior's focus was on thier XP-360 Plus engines with roller lifters, as well as showing off Thielert's diesel auto conversions and FADEC for the XP-360 family. They had an TNIO XP-360 at the show that is apparently exclusively sold to Lancair builders. No prices yet, and I'm not sure why it is exclusively for them since many Lancairs have Continental TSIO-550's in them, but that's what their sign says. Superior is still expensive, and unlike ECI, even more expensive if you want to assemble your engine from parts.

 

Mistral - Mistral was there with a sharp looking 13B-derived rotary. What caught my eye was their PSRU had a governor for a CS prop, which is absent on all other rotary PSRU's (to my knowledge). The engine management and fuel injection system was also quite nice with multiple redundancy from sensors to circuitry. While I was at the booth, Tracy Crook was admiring this feature, and kibitzing with the Mistral engineer. I only caught a little bit of the conversation, but apparently there are a few known issues between purveyors of aviation rotary engines, that I have not heard acknowledged or discussed before by adherents to this technology. As I was not part of the conversation, and only heard bits and pieces, I cannot really judge how big these problems are, but one had to deal with finding a coating for the chamber and rotors.

 

 

New CS prop option

There is a new constant speed prop alternative to the MT prop that is designed for pushers, and this one is not electrically driven. That's the good news, the bad news is that it costs $13,100. Aero Composites Inc. developed this prop for 180-310 hp engines. It looks really sharp, and given the high maintenance cost of the MT prop, it may work out to be cheaper in the long run. Deliveries start late-summer to early fall. They told me at the booth that this prop has opposite twist blades for the pusher configuration. One of their customers used an LTIO-360 with a normal CS prop, because this new model wasn't finished yet.

 

-- Len

-- Len Evansic, Cozy Mk. IV Plans #1283

Do you need a Flightline Chair, or other embroidered aviation accessory?

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Len, excellent write-up! I stopped by the Innodyn booth, spun the turbine, and noticed the need for an internal gear reduction setup. I glanced somewhere else and saw the Mistral tent, Superior, and Lycoming.

 

THANKS for writing up your experience with each vendor!

Jon Matcho :busy:
Builder & Canard Zone Admin
Now:  Rebuilding Quickie Tri-Q200 N479E
Next:  Resume building a Cozy Mark IV

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