Rotary Engine Certification Eyed

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Rotary engines have been around for decades in experimental applications but MISTRAL, a European company is targeting early 2010 for FAA type certification of a 300-horsepower normally aspirated rotary that it claims will "bridge the gap" between piston and turbine power for GA. The company had its products on display at AERO Friedrichshafen and explained that rotary engines "take the best" from piston and turbine designs. The company, which has a U.S. subsidiary in Deland, Fla., says rotaries will run happily on mogas or avgas, will have a 3,000-hour TBO and run quieter than either piston or turbine engines. Digital engine management will maximize efficiency the company says.

The 300-horsepower version will be first but the company intends to have a range of engines from 200-360 hp. "MISTRAL targets sales of 1500 units per year within five years. While certification activities are in full swing, MISTRAL is developing its production, distribution and maintenance networks," the company said in a news release. The engines have been in development for eight years and the company now has 24 employees working full time to get the project into the mainstream.