Sun ‘n Fun 2023: TurbAero’s Small Turbine Update


TurbAero, an Australian company with footprints in the U.S. and Canada, is continuing work on its small regenerative turbine for light experimental aircraft. At Sun ‘n Fun, AVweb talked to TurbAero’s Berni Breen and learned that the company is cutting metal and on the verge of assembling a running prototype. If the schedule holds, we’ll see that next year at Sun ‘n Fun and flight article by AirVenture.


  1. I don’t get it. The biggest need is not 200 to 250hp, it’s 250 to 350.

    Guys with experimental planes almost all want to add hp. If they are in the 180 hp range, they can go to 250.

    Certified planes under 250 can likely find an engine STC to run mogas. There are a ton of high performance planes being used for serious travel that can take 300 to 350 hp. A turbine SR22 would be a real seller.

    What am I missing?

  2. Long overdue and I’ll be cheering for these guys. There have been others who have tried, but seem to fade away. Hopefully these guys make it to the finish line.

    The small engine market makes sense, but so does the big-bore market. These engines are expensive to overhaul and prone to failure if not flown carefully especially when turbo-charged. I would have loved a small turbine in the 400 series twins I owned and would love to swap out the 541’s in my Duke. Converting to PT-6’s is north of $1mm, so not practical.

  3. I suggest that the community should wait to see verifiable dyno results AND full-power durability testing data before getting too excited over the marketing hype. My company designed and built an engine dynamometer to test the “first iteration” of the TurbAero “regenerative” turbine engine – an engine cobbled together from odd bits and pieces that was claimed (with NO supporting data) to make nearly 200 hp, but when it was actually run on the dyno, barely produced 75 hp. A detailed description of the dyno / data acquisition system can be seen at this page:

  4. Problem with small turbines (other than cost) such as small block Allison 250’s, is that they run out of breath at higher altitudes and do not outperform the turbocharged piston they replaced.

  5. Does the Amateur Built 50% rule even exist anymore? The company is having an RV14 built for them as a host aircraft for their engine? Does it get “certified” as an Experimental Restricted” or “Exhibtion” category or somesuch, or does the FAA just not care anymore?

    Probability easier to deal with than bolting the motor to a certified aircraft, but how does the process work with homebuilts now?