TCM’s Future View: FADEC Married To The Internet

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What will the next-generation light aircraft powerplant be? Will it be an off-the-shelf FADEC-driven engine with improved fuel specifics? Or a large-displacement six-cylinder powerplant capable of burning unleaded premium autogas? A 300-hp two-stroke diesel? In the world according to Teledyne Continental Motors, it could be any or all of those and this week, the company hosted a small entourage of aviation journalists to explain its view of the future of light aircraft powerplants. TCM is, in fact, contemplating if not actively working on all of these concepts and no matter what kind of engines emerge from the company’s Mobile, Ala., factory during the next decade, one thing seems certain: All are likely to be driven and/or monitored by electronic controls. Those controls will be capable of recording critical engine parameters to both improve engine longevity and make maintenance less of the hide-and-seek process it now seems to be. And all of that engine data may find its way back to the factory via Web-based technology that TCM is now developing.