The Return Of Big Name V-Power (Sort Of)
Remember Bombardier's big-deal announcement of a pair of V-6 FADEC-controlled water-cooled aircraft engines back in 2003? In the interim, the company all but disappeared but now it's back with a new name, a polished product and what it says is a pending launch customer for the engines. Aircraft Engine Services (AES), the company that will act to market sell and service the engines, told AVweb, through spokesman Luc de Gaspe Beaubien, that an airframe manufacturer has committed to using one of the two V-6s (either the normally aspirated 220 hp model or the turbocharged 300 hp model). Beaubien declined to say "who," insisting that the OEM wants to make the announcement itself. We don't know when that will be, either, but we don't expect it at OSH this year. Beaubien did say AES and Rotax are working out some accessory details for the OEM client. A major cause of the pause on the way to production was that Aerospace giant Bombardier restructured and sold off some companies. Rotax, the division that builds thousands of aircraft engines a year in Austria for the ultralight market is one of them. When the dust settled, a new entity called Aircraft Engine Services emerged and that company will act to market sell and service the engines ... which will still be made in Austria, built now for AES, not Bombardier.
While we're waiting to find out who will provide the airframes for the engines, AES is expanding its Titusville, Florida headquarters to house a parts and support network, plus an all-important training center for the mechanics who will have to learn to fix what is, by aviation standards, a relatively complex engine. The engine is a 120-degree V with FADEC-controlled ignition, overhead cams and full-up, single-lever operation. It's also watercooled so that any aircraft it's used in with need a radiator and the associated plumbing. AES says the engines are comparable or better than existing designs with regard to fuel economy, with a claimed BSFC of .44 pounds of fuel per horsepower hour. If that's true, the geared V designs will compete with the likes of a Continental IO-550 and will be somewhat more economical than the Lycoming 540 series.