You cannot simply make good and safe airplanes, engines, or gear for Light-Sport Aircraft. You also have to secure ASTM approval, a process, by the way, FAA is continuing to check very closely. (More on that in another article.)
*** One of our leading suppliers, Rotax BRP — producer of some 75% of all LSA powerplants — recently announced ASTM approval of their newest engine, the fuel-injected 912 iS. The company also reported EASA Type Certificate approval so the Austrian company is good to go for the USA and Europe.
*** To help you better understand the new engine, we offer the following Q&A series compliments of Rotax guru, Eric Tucker. These were prepared for Sun ‘n Fun 2012 at the engine’s U.S. debut, but were probably missed by many readers. They have been lightly edited. Thanks to Eric!
• How much does it weigh? “The total package at installation will be some 12 to 14 pounds over the 912 ULS due to the electronics systems and extra fuel pump (for redundancy).”
• How much fuel can I save? “At 5,000 feet MSL and 5000 rpm, you find the best economy. In this condition compared to the 912 ULS, fuel consumption is some 20% better. The savings are even greater compared to competitor’s engines.”
• What is the TBO (Time Before Overhaul)? “TBO is 2,000 hours, but with reduced maintenance requirements on the engine because of the injection.”
• Can I upgrade my existing 912 engine with the injection? “No, this is a new model engine in that more than 60% of the parts are different.”
• What is different in the electrical system? “The alternating current side of the charging system is almost double the output of the older models. For most aircraft this will eliminate any need for an auxiliary alternator.”
• Why is the engine painted black? “The coating on the crankcase, gearbox, and ignition housings allows for corrosion protection. In addition, it is painted inside the case to help oil flow.”
• Why are the oil fittings on the crankcase bottom different? “The new crankcase has a deeper ‘keel’ like a boat. This collects the oil better and optimizes the oil return.”
• Is the oil pump bigger? “Yes, the new pump has a larger capacity and more oil flow. It also has a better sealing system inside for less oil leak when in storage.”
• What type of instruments do I need to run the engine? “A new Engine Monitoring Unit (EMU) has been developed for the iS. This will read all the data points and display them for the pilot. The special nature of this device is that it will have full logging ability and will have a GPS interface internally for reading after flight. This display will work with all the special sensors on the engine.”
• Is anything different about the gearbox? “Essentially, no. However, the overload clutch is standard and on the iS, free play inside will be zero where on the 912 ULS, free play was 30 degrees.”
• What fuel can I use on this engine? “The iS can run Mogas of 91 octane or higher. E10 with the same octane rating is acceptable and so is Avgas 100LL.”
• Will Rotax BRP stop making the carburetor version? “No, the iS is an addition to the line and not a replacement.” With its new features and additional equipment, Rotax said the 912 iS costs about 17% more than the 912 with carburetor.