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Old 23rd Feb 2016, 06:58
  #24 (permalink)  
Alpine Flyer
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: at the edge of the alps
Posts: 336
Lycoming/Conti engines may be proven, reliable, etc., but so are hydromechanical fuel control units and horse carts.

FADEC engines will admittedly increase complexity but so are lots of other gadgets we have come to accept in the interest of economy and safety. And some possibilities of FADEC controlled engines actually reduce complexity, like replacing two magnetos geared to the engine with permanent magnet alternators and electronic ignition (or no ignition at all with Diesel engines).

("simple" carburetors have their quirks too. A club airplane lost engine power because of a stuck outflow valve (due to a broken valve hinge bearing) causing a buildup of pressure back into the induction system which effective killed the whole air/fuel mixing.)

For added complexity FADEC control would allow for single-lever power management which we have come to accept as standard in turbine engines, allowing optimum RPM/MP combination and reducing handling errors.

Current engine design owes to a time when there was no alternative to lots of displacement to turn props slowly. Today Rotax engines have run hundreds of thousands if not millions of hours with geared 4-cyl engines (admittedly of only up to around 125hp) and the Diamond Katana with its Rotax engine has captured a good percentage of the training market not least because it uses half the fuel of an O-200-powered C-150.

Liquid cooled engines would allow for more efficient cooling designs, theoretically even wing leading edge cooling providing de-icing would be an option (at least for larger engines).

Lastly it will become increasingly unfashionable (at least outside the US) to use something for recreation or transportation that uses an outdated amount of leaded fuel.

Even if we wouldn't mind using a poisonous additive in our fuel, lead content makes it more expensive to distribute AVGAS at least in the US because it has to be kept in separate distribution and storage facilities from non-leaded fuel, so it can't be pumped through Pipelines but has to be trucked or moved by barge (which then cannot be used for non-leaded fuels without cleaning AFAIK.) Coupled with a fringe market, this makes production of AVGAS unattractive for refineries, all factors increasing Price.

Honda finished their HondaJet after almost 20 years of designing, so maybe they'll come up with an aero engine some time.

To each his own. All who enjoy operating vintage machinery shall do so as long as they like but there should be a more modern option to keep GA flying viable into the future.
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