Every powered aircraft will need some form or type of engine to be able to stay aloft. The mission profile of the aircraft more or less dictates which type is used, high level jet transport use gas turbine engines, low level general aviation aircraft are usually equipped with piston engines.
Basically there are two models: the gas turbine and the piston engine as power source for aircraft. Each of these engine models can be subdivided into more specialized types and this will depend on the application and aircraft model where the engine is to be used. Off late we see experiments with electric motors for propulsion so we will keep an eye on that too. Using the buttons below will send you to one of our engine sections.
Several manufacturers and builders have installed gas turbines in general aviation and experimental aircraft. To name but a few: Turbine Legend, Cessna P210 Silver Eagle, Murphy Turbine Moose, Lancair Propjet and others. The piston model is the type that you will see the most in the airplanes most GA pilots regularly fly. It is most efficient at low levels and if equipped with a turbocharger, it can operate at the flight levels too.
Gas Turbines & Turboprops
The basic gas turbine. Single or dual spool and the grandfather of all jet turbines. High power delivery, very reliable, low moving parts count (unlike piston models) and the engine of choice for jet transport aircraft. Available in a number of flavors, for helicopters to turboprop aircraft, and most of them will run on JET or kerosine fuel.
The turbofan is a multi-blade fan attached to the front. Gives great fuel savings and very low sound emissions compared with the pure turbojet. Some models drive the fan through a gearbox for even greater efficiency: the geared turbofan.
For most aircraft builders the choice is limited to gasoline engines from manufacturers like: Lycoming, Continental, Rotax, Jabiru, Subaru, Verner and Rotec to name but a few.
The latest engine development in the last decade or two is the compression ignition engine, also known as a diesel. This engine has no spark ignition system and is basically simpler and easier to operate than a gasoline model.
Fuel consumption is lower and the range of a diesel powered aircraft is usually improved, as is reliability. They are also multi-fuel capable using both diesel and JET fuels in any mixture ratio.
BRP-Rotax GmbH & Co KG
Because Rotax engines are so popular and widely used we dedicated a separate section to cover them. We also have a page where you may access the most up to date engine documentation.
Rotax Conversions & Modifications
Some manufacturers have taken the Rotax 912/4 engine and developed a number of options to increase its power output and fuel efficiency at the same time. One even completely re-manufactures the 912S increases cylinder displacement, adding fuel injection and a turbo with power up to 155 hp!
VW Engine Rebuilds
This section will show you a number of engine builders who took the original 4 cylinder Volkswagen air cooled engine. They improved upon it, increased its horsepower and some even cut it in half for smaller aircraft. The list is not complete, we only selected the most common (hopefully).
Other engine enthusiasts were not satisfied with what the market had to offer. So they went and looked for modern and more affordable solutions in the modern car engine industry. Here we see a couple of conversions for about half the cost of your common aircraft engine.
The last couple of years some development has been going on to design electric power plants for aircraft. Target audience is very light aircraft and powered gliders. A number of companies is busy designing new or improving upon existing engines in the market today.