Alternative to Textron Lycoming's popular O-360 to be targeted at retrofit market

Piston aircraft parts manufacturer Superior Air Parts has received US type certification for its Vantage 180hp (135kW), four-cylinder piston engine, a clone of Textron Lycoming's widely used O-360.

Coppell, Texas-based Superior started out building replacement components for Lycoming engines under US Federal Aviation Administration parts manufacturer approval (PMA), then graduated to building complete engines for the experimental aircraft market. Certification work on the Vantage, which is a development of the non-certificated XP-360, began in 1998. Almost 400 XP-360s have been sold to kitplane owners.

Superior is targeting the Vantage at the retrofit market, initially aiming for supplemental type certification on older Lycoming-powered Cessna 172s, Mooneys and Piper PA-28s, says senior vice-president Tim Archer.

Michael Wolf, president of Lycoming Engines, says: "One could say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery; however, preliminary evaluations have indicated that some [Vantage] parts may have substantial weight penalties that could affect desired performance."

Production certification is expected by the fourth quarter, leading to the fielding of engines in the first quarter of next year. Archer claims the Vantage provides smoother, higher performance than the Lycoming. The engine is certificated to run on unleaded fuel, and Superior is aiming for a 2,000h time between overhauls at entry into service. European certification will be sought next year, and versions of the Vantage covering the 150-200hp range are expected.

Superior will continue to produce the non-certificated XP-360. A turbo-normalised version of the 180hp engine is being flight tested by Lancair International in the Legacy FG kitplane. A Kelly Aerospace turbo-normaliser allows the XP-360 to deliver 75% power up to almost 25,000ft (7,600m), improving performance at higher altitude.

Superior has named New York-based Teledyne Mattituck Services an authorised engine build and acceptance test centre for the XP-360.


Source: Flight International