...This Year's Renaissance...

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Sometimes, AirVenture offers a good opportunity to catch up on some old stories that began with fanfare and then didn't seem to amount to much. Such is the case with Bombardier's highly publicized (and even a little mysterious) launch into the GA engine industry. Two years ago, the aerospace giant's V220 and V300T geared V-6s were the talk of Oshkosh after a splashy introduction. But the company missed the next Sun 'n Fun and had a relatively low profile at last year's AirVenture. This year, the engines will be showcased again but the branding has changed, too. Shortly after the engines were introduced, Bombardier hived off its recreational products division and the V-6 program, along with the Rotax fours, went along. The V-6s are now being promoted by a company called Aircraft Engine Services in Titusville, Fla., and the name Bombardier has seemingly disappeared from any connection with the engines. Luc de Gaspe Beaubien explained that AES is a separate marketing entity for the engines, which are produced by Rotax. He said the company is still going through the certification process and has recently completed a rigorous testing program that involved putting one of the engines through the 150-hour European test profile six times. That engine has been torn down and the parts will be on display at the AES booth. De Gaspe Beaubien said the fledgling company is methodically going through the certification and testing program and, while it has a launch customer OEM for the engine, that will be disclosed by the OEM.