Bolting a factory new aircraft engine onto my own airplane is a dream come true. There’s so much going on it the world to be focused on this, but I am. I’m glad.
I’m also very glad to be amongst the extraordinary group of folks at EAA Chapter 430 – Olympic Peninsula. One of our chapter members so kindly shared his time and experience (and shop crane) to help me mount the new engine. Thanks Barry!!
Without further ado – a drum roll please…
Sling 2, N842RH (registration number reserved) — is today, powered by a Rotax 912iS Sport engine!
I have to say, it looks suspiciously like — a brand new airplane engine!!!
Admittedly, there’s not much building going on here, but there are some cool details to look at. The engine comes with its Engine Control Unit (ECU) – the computerized module that monitors and manages the engine performance. There’s a fusebox and dual voltage regulator module. And, there’s a completely assembled fuel pumps module. Early Sling 2 kits apparently required building up the internal plumbing with two 2 pumps, check-valves, hoses and clamps. I’ve been spared all of that. Each modules are matched to the engine serial number and were presumably used to test run the new engine (for about an hour) at the BRP Rotax engine factory in Austria.
There are some small parts for specialized electrical connectors that I’ll send off to my wiring harness builder for incorporation. There are also some bushings and hardware for mounting the Whirlwind propeller, which should arrive in a few days.
Big Wednesday kicked off with a scenic morning drive from Sequim to a freight forwarding company in Kent, Washington. My engine and firewall forward kit was shipped Cargolux air-freight from South Africa, changing planes in Belgium. The goods arrived a couple of days earlier at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (KSEA, SeaTac). Having cleared customs, it became available for me to collect.
I’ve looked forward to a day like this for I don’t know how many years. Having an absolutely brand new airplane engine is almost too much for me to grok. I’ve been harboring thoughts of rebuilding the O-32O in my ’84 Warrior, almost since the day I bought it 20 years ago – but, it hasn’t happened. It’s still running strong at TBO. And now, I’ve got the Holy Grail in hand – a factory new airplane engine! Oh my!
This new engine and the Sling 2 airplane I’m building are a match made in heaven – 21st century all the way!
I can see the end of the airframe assembly down the road and setting the wheels in motion to have the engine group arriving in 3 months or so, will keep me motivated to accomplish tasks in order to be ready when it all gets here.
The engine is the BRP Rotax 912iS Sport. It’s state-of-the-art. I’m absolutely set on having a 21st century engine for a 21st century airplane. It’s a mere 100 horsepower, but it’s the engine for the Sling 2 – IMO.
Yes, there is a 115 horsepower turbo engine option – which offers more performance to be sure, but it’s significantly more money, it’s got a turbocharger to maintain, not quite as high-tech – doesn’t have FADEC (computerized engine management system), plus – it demands a constant-speed propeller that costs 4 or 5 times as much as the fixed-pitch unit I’ve decided on for my machine.
Speaking of propellers – the propeller of choice for the 912iS powered Sling 2 happens to be the very sharp-looking, carbon fiber, 70 inch diameter, 3-bladed, ground-adjustable Whirlwind GA-RW3B, dressed with the perfect spinner.
The engine comes from BRP Rotax in Austria, through their South African distributor – Sling Aircraft and then to the USA. Eventually, it all has to make its way to the Upper Left Corner, where I am, in out-of-the-way Sequim, Washington. It’s a roundabout, slow-boat process – no doubt about it.
Because the engine and aircraft are of African decent – I’m expecting the engine fittings are going to be metric, as opposed to UNF – more typical for aircraft in the US. The engine itself is metric, but I understand that they can be had with UNF fittings for oil and fuel lines. However, the firewall forward kit is going to be for a metric engine and I’m not going to try to swim upstream. Go with the flow. Someday, if it really bugs me I could probably convert it from metric fittings. In the meantime, I’m going to put it all together and go flying – as it comes.
It’s pretty darned exciting and really something to look forward to.