French engine manufacturer creates three joint ventures in Europe and Americas

Société de Motorisations Aéronautiques (SMA) has established three regional joint venture companies to secure retrofit business for its SR305 light-aircraft diesel engines.

The engine has been selected by a number of manufacturers, including Cirrus and Maule, to power new aircraft, but the French firm has set up AeroNexx joint ventures in Europe, North America and South America to secure retrofit business.

In Europe, SMA is the majority shareholder in AeroNexx, with BN Group and French maintenance firm Aéromécanic 34. BN (formerly Britten Norman) will take over future SMA engine type certifications, starting with the EADS Socata TB20 Trinidad four-seat cabin monoplane. Marseille-based Aéromécanic 34 will perform the maintenance, installation and marketing.

AeroNexx director Miriam Dunn, says that, although the engine has a market in the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) sector, the firm needs outlets for the retrofit market to reach its target of over 50% of diesel engine sales.

At the FIDAE 2002 show in Santiago, Chile, earlier this month, SMA announced Brazil's Planestate and Naçional Aero Taxi, and Argentina's Latina d'Aviation would provide South American sales networks.

Carlsbad, California-based Riley is to offer a SR305 engine upgrade in the USA. Riley president Mary Ann Kingsley says the company is to seek US Federal Aviation Administration supplemental type certificates for models, starting with the Cessna 182 and Riley Super Skyrocket P-337 light aircraft, a development of the Cessna 337. The engine was demonstrated on a retrofitted Cessna 182 at last week's Experimental Aircraft Association's show in Florida.

SMA president Jean-Marc de Raffin Dourny says the 225kW (300hp) SR305-230ch Jet A engine will be certificated by the US Federal Aviation Administration in a few weeks. European certification was achieved last year.

Production will start this year, and SMA expects to produce over 2,000 engines per year by 2005, with over 70% destined for the North American market.

Maule is the first OEM to offer the SR305 in the USA. Founder Ray Maule says the firm plans to offer a new variant of its M-7 rural light aircraft, with the diesel as one of two engine options because many of its customers operate in remote areas where avgas is unavailable.

Source: Flight International