Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mistral Engines "Mogas" Wankel type engines

Mistral Engines is a new Swiss start-up company created in 2001 by a group of pilots and aircraft owners who were convinced that there is a market for a new generation of general aviation engines that offer greater reliability in a compact size. Also providing a greater power-to-weight ratio and the ability to operate with a wide range of fuels than current generation aircraft engines.

They developed a liquid-cooled, electronically controlled Mistral engine that can run on unleaded 95-octane automotive gasolines rather than diesel type of fuels. Based on the Wankel rotary-piston design, it gives the Mistrals a huge maintenance cost advantage over standard piston engines since it has 95% fewer moving parts. The targeted time between overhauls is 3,000 hours.

Mistral's first engine, the G-300, is a three-rotor, 300 hp that is currently undergoing FAA certification at this time with an expected approval to be granted by the middle of 2009. A twin-rotor, 200 hp engine, has already been fully developed. The first models to go out of the factory will be normally aspirated. Future models will have the option of being turbocharged. All engines will be identical except for the number of rotors. The Mistral engines have a company patented dual injection, dual-channel digital electronic control system module.

Headquarters for Mistral are in Geneva and at a wholly owned subsidiary in DeLand, Flordia. They are planning on producing 200-300 units a year. And when FAA certification arrives, then jump up to 2000 units a year. Mistral is operating in parallel to find both retrofit and new aircraft applications for their G-300. The engine can power both aircraft and helicopters.

At AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this past year, they grander high interest from attendees. Mistral Engines intends to take advantage of the boom going on in Russia and in Europe for small to medium-size business and general aviation aircraft. One of the first applications that they have contracted for is a four-seat trainer to be distributed by Russia's Aviama and a light helicopter being developed by Kazan (another Russian aircraft manufacturer).

Ref. Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 24, 2008 issue. “Swiss 'Mogas' Engine Readied for Market” by Michael A. Taverna, page 44.

No comments: