Mistral prepares piston engines for certification

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Start-up powerplant manufacturer Mistral Engines is gearing up to certificate and deliver in early 2010 the first of a family of multi-fuel piston engines targeted at the light aircraft retrofit market.

Leading the four-strong line-up is the 300hp (225kW) G300 rotary engine. The liquid-cooled powerplant is based on Wankel automotive technology and offers 90% fewer moving parts than a reciprocated piston engine, "no vibration and virtually no noise", says Mistral's communication and marketing manager Perrine Bell. The engine can be powered by mogas - unleaded automotive gasoline - or Avgas.

She says Mistral's engine development programme has spanned eight years at a cost of SFr20 million ($18 million).

To date the normally aspirated, three-rotor G300 has flown more than 400h and is being installed on a Maule MX7 light aircraft in anticipation for its first flight later this month. US certification is scheduled for the first half of 2010, leading to service entry later the same year.

"The G300 is aimed at the experimental and factory-built aircraft market and is the first member of our engine family that also includes the smaller 200hp G200 and turbocharged 230TS and 360TS," Bell says.

"Once the G300 is approved we will then work on certificating the 200hp G200, G230TS and G360TS in the USA and obtaining European approval for all four models," she adds.

Geneva, Switzerland-based Mistral is hoping to occupy 10-15% of the two- to six-seat general aviation piston engine market within five years, Bell says. "Our target market includes the Cessna 172, Piper PA-28 series and PA-30 Twin Comanche for the G200; the PA-28, PA-34 Seneca, Cessna 337 and Mooney M20 for the 230TS; and the Cessna 182, Model 206, PA-25 Pawnee, PA-32 Saratoga with the G300," she says. "We will work on the retrofit market first and then target new aircraft."

The engines will be built by Mistral in DeLand in Florida in the USA - the company's largest market. Mistral is also establishing a maintenance and service centre network to support the engines.