Mistral targets 2009 approval for GA engine

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A new name in general aviation engines says it is on track to receive US certification by early next year for the first of a planned family of multi-fuel rotary powerplants.

Geneva-based Mistral Engines, which was founded in 2001 to develop an engine based on Wankel automotive technology, is aiming for US Federal Aviation Administration approval for its three-rotor, 300hp (225kW) G300 early next year, followed by a twin-rotor, 200hp version, the G200, shortly afterwards. The company is also working on turbocharged versions of both powerplants.

Unlike most other general aviation engines, the Mistrals are powered by mogas [unleaded automotive gasoline] rather than jet fuel or diesel.

The company's first original equipment application will be the Russian Kazan Aktai three-seat patrol helicopter, which until now has used a Lada engine. Two other start-ups, in Russia and Spain, plan to use the Mistral engine in their planned light aircraft, says chief executive Francois Badoux.

However, the company is also aggressively targeting the retrofit market and says several "leading names" in the sector have been testing the engine with a view to approving an application.

Badoux is aiming for production of 2,000 engines a year within five years of certification and says, on these figures, the business will break even by 2011.