SMA Jet-A Piston: "Ready For Market"
SMA's jet-A-burning general aviation piston engine has been around for more than seven years now, and its time has come, according to company president Luc Pelon. "We are ready, the market is ready, and the aviation industry is ready," Pelon said Wednesday at Sun 'n Fun. Earlier versions of the SMA engine have been flown in Maules and C182s. (Click here for a report from AVweb's Paul Bertorelli, who went flying in an SMA-powered 182 in January.) Pelon said the operating costs of the engine are 40 percent less than for a similar avgas engine. "It burns 9 gallons per hour on a Cessna 182," he said. "There are no magnetos, no spark plugs, and it is air cooled."
Maintenance is easier than for a traditional engine, he said, and there is less noise and vibration. Also it has computer-assisted engine management that conserves energy and eases pilot workload. Pelon said he is hoping to have the new version of the engine certified in Europe by this summer, and he is working toward FAA certification as well. He is also negotiating with several manufacturers who are interested in the engine, he said. SMA is showing the engine all week at its booth just north of Hangar A.