THE FIRST FLIGHT of two aircraft types re-fitted with Orenda 600 piston engines made by Hawker Siddeley Canada will take place by the end of 1995, says Orenda.

Orenda plans to deliver two development engines in November to Merlin Products, which will be working on a Beech King Air C90 re-engineing project at Spokane, Washington, .

A flight-test engine will be shipped in November to AOG Air Support in Kelowna, Canada, which will install it on a de Havilland Beaver.

The Orenda 600 is the first of a family of high-performance Vee 8, liquid-cooled, piston engines in the 375-560kW (500-750hp) class. It is derived from a racing-car engine developed in California. Orenda hopes to develop the series to fill a perceived performance/cost gap between current-production reciprocating engines and more expensive turboprops.

Orenda says that the 600 will increase the cruise speed of the King Air C90 by 80kt (150km/h) at high altitudes, compared with the current Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20/21-powered version.

Larry Shiembob, Orenda vice-president and general manager, business-development programmes, says that the engines will replace the PT6s and be operable at a fraction of the cost of the turboprop version.

Shiembob says that the liquid-cooled engine will be as reliable as turboprops are because "...90% of problems on other pistons are related to air-cooled systems".

Orenda has signed a deal with StarKraft to power the Kansas-based company's twin-engined Model 700 aircraft with its 600-series. It is also studying re-engineing prospects of other types such as the Cessna 421.

The company has also launched the Orenda 500, a 375kW naturally aspirated version of the 600. The 500 will be almost identical to the 600, but it will be slightly lighter without the turbocharger and associated plumbing.

Source: Flight International