Thread: Which engine?
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Old 12-14-2004, 02:53 PM
Nathan Gifford Nathan Gifford is offline
Nathan Gifford
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Tickfaw, LA
Posts: 897

I'm in the undecided category for all the obvious need to be at that phase of construction before you commit.

Most of the engines available, except for Lycoming & Continental have a dubious support. That is to say besides getting technical help, are there reliable parts available to replace failed components? After all, you may have this plane flying for 20 years and do you want to have scrounge around for turbine and rotor parts at junk yards to keep your Mazda 13B flying?

All this could change very quickly if one of the manufacturers started rolling out large numbers of these powerplants. That will at least ensure enough health in manufacturer that will hopefully stock adequate spare parts to service their fleet.

If I had my real druthers, I would love to go with a turbine: lightweight, reliable, long-lived, high altitude performance, and great power/weight ratio. Bad side: expensive, high fuel consumption, appropriateness for low altitudes. The fact that company that makes the turbine based on the old Solar powerplant has changed hands does not inspire confidence in their longevity.

In the meantime I am watching the developments in rotary engines with keen interest. It does seem like the latest spate of problems actually might resolve some of the more serious problems of using rotary engines in a/c. Once these problems are resolved we might actually learn just how reliable these engines are and what it takes to keep them that way.