Centrifugal-compressor powerplant has been flight-tested and can run on range of fuels
Several kitplane manufacturers are evaluating the first small turboprop to be developed for the experimental aircraft market. Affordable Turbine Power (ATP) plans to take orders for its Model 6.5 engine at the Oshkosh show in July, where at least four different kitplanes powered by the 120-240hp (90-180kW) turboprop are expected to debut.
Osceola Mills, Pennsylvania-based ATP has flight-tested the centrifugal-compressor turboprop in a Vans RV-4 and the engine was displayed at the Sun 'n' Fun show in Lakeland, Florida, last week in a mock-up of a kitplane modelled on the Piper Super Cub. ATP is "looking into" certification of Model 6.5, "but it will depend on the cost", says general manager Bill Brady.
Priced at $30,000, the non-certificated Model 6.5 features microprocessor-controlled electronic fuel injection and can run on Jet A, kerosene, diesel or gasoline, says Brady. A built-in double-planetary gearbox drives the pusher or tractor propeller at 2,750rpm, with 2,500rpm and even 2,250rpm versions planned for the noise-conscious European market.
At 85kg (187lb), the turboprop has a higher power-to-weight ratio than equivalent piston engines, says Brady. Reliability will also be higher, with ATP projecting a 5,000-10,000h time between overhauls. Fuel consumption of 13.5USgal/h (51litres/h) at full power is comparable with piston engines, he says.
ATP is gearing up to produce 100 engines in the first year, 200 in the second year and 300 in the third. North American and European distributors have been appointed, but not announced. The company plans to develop a 350hp turboprop "in the next year", says Brady, with the existing gearbox able to handle up to 500hp.
GRAHAM WARWICK / WASHINGTON DC
Source: Flight International