|Ultralight pilots have used a variety of engines
to power their aircraft. Go cart engines, chainsaw engines,
snowmobile engines, rotary engines, aircraft engines, and this year
Ramphos U.S.A. introduced a turbo diesel engine.
The engine is not new to the market with millions
having been installed in the Smart Car, manufactured by Mercedes in
Europe and Canada for the past 5 years. The complete unit installed
weighs in at 9 lbs less than a Rotax 912, and can put out between 40
and 64 DIESEL horsepower. The power is controlled by the electronics
that are installed in the engine package.
The max torque on the engine comes in at 3,000
rpm. and the torque is equal to that of a Rotax 912 at 5800 rpm.
Cruise comes in at 3100 rpm! The engine is very quiet and using an
astounding 3/4 of a U.S. gallon of fuel per hour. It can run on
diesel, jet A mixed with diesel, and on bio diesel.
The first engine installation was on a Zenair
which has about 200 hours on it in Europe. In February of 2005 it
was decided to do an engine installation on the Ramphos trike. The
engine was shipped to Ramphos USA in New York and the installation
was completed and the craft flown just prior to Sun N Fun.
The fuel system is totally electronic and
compensates for altitude, temperature, density altitude, and fuel
temperature. Plus it has a back up on the chip incase of failure
that converts the engine over to a low, medium or high power
setting. The engine will also be coming with a computer start up
check list. When the engine is first started the engine will self
diagnose itself and tell you whether it is safe to fly.
TBO is expected to in the 5,000 hour range.
The only problem to date has been that the quality
of diesel fuel used in the U.S. is of a lower grade than that used
in Europe, which will require the engine to be re-chipped when it
gets back to New York.
Delivery times are currently 4 to 6 weeks.