Ian Walsh is a proud man because here at AirVenture 2008 he feels that his company, Lycoming has “something really exciting to say for perhaps the first time in a decade or two”.
Senior VP and general manager Walsh has spent the past three and half years moving one of the industry’s most senior brand-names in a new direction by concentrating on becoming leaders in all the spheres demanded by their customers “but neglected for far too long”. First out of the traps is the iE series engine that the makers claim is a “fully integrated electronic engine, a technologically advanced piston aviation engine that will set a new standard for piston engine controls”.
“At the heart of this new engine platform,” says Walsh, “is an advanced electronic engine control system designed to optimize the engine’s safety, simplicity and cost of operation.”
Essentially, this means that the engine is electronically controlled, cylinder-by-cylinder, by a FADEC unit, giving it multi-fuel capability but in an holistic and efficient way and generating enhanced fuel economy especially during climb and cruise. In addition, the iE can be configured to run reliably - and even self-adapt – to a wider range of gasoline, including Lycoming-approved premium automotive fuel blends.
The first iE engine planned for FAA certification will be the 350hp (540 cu.in) TEO-540-A1A that, prior to receiving its stamped paperwork will be available as a power-plant option for advanced experimental aircraft.
Other Lycoming innovations at AirVenture include the replacement of the IO-360 with the experimental IO-390 that it’s going to call the Echelon STC and which in time will also receive its own FADEC. This will initially be used in the Cessna Cardinal (as a full, firewall-forward solution) but other airframers and OEMs are on the ‘talk to’ list.
Lycoming’s new offering for the LSA segment is the IO-233 100hp unit based on the reliable IO-235 series and with certification planned for the end of this year, depending on demand.