Alternative fuels, electronic engine controls and firewall-forward upgrades of so-called "legacy" aircraft are among the ongoing research and development projects on which Lycoming Engines briefed AirVenture Oshkosh 2009 attendees Monday. Senior Vice President and General Manager Ian Walsh highlighted his company's continuing involvement in projects as diverse as alternative fuels (including the promising Swift Fuel), electronic engine management and obtaining FAA certification for retrofitting its IO-390-series engine in additional aircraft. Referring to the industry's ongoing economic and environmental challenges, Walsh noted Lycoming is developing "multiple solutions" with the overriding goal that they be "safe, reliable and dependable." "I'm very proud of Lycoming's leadership position," he added, expressing confidence that problems like fuel availability "will be solved."
Chief among Lycoming's long-term efforts may be the iE2 single-lever and automated engine management system. The system's maiden flight on an OEM aircraft took place July 2, aboard a Lancair Evolution powered by a TEO-540-EXP engine and on display this week at AirVenture Oshkosh. Lycoming intends the twin-turbocharged and intercooled TEO-540-A1A will be its first FAA-certified powerplant to use the iE2 technology. Meanwhile, Lycoming reaffirmed its commitment to alternative fuels, noting the iE2 system will be a foundation of an eventual Jet A-based diesel engine. Walsh also noted his company is still certifying and working with airframe manufacturers to secure automotive fuel approvals. For engine/airframe combinations already in service, the company's newly certified IO-390-A1A6 engine is already available as an STC'd installation for the Cessna Cardinal RG, and work on the Mooney M20E/F/J models continues under Lycoming's Echelon STC program. The certified IO-390 engine is based on the experimental IO-390-X, approximately 175 copies of which are already flying in home- and kit-built aircraft.