Sat, Aug 06, 2005
Walsh’s IO-390-X Powered RV-8A On Display
By Ann Correspondent Christopher Armstrong
Ian Walsh, who was
named Vice President and General Manager of Lycoming Engines last
September, may have been looking forward to the opportunity to
display his personal RV-8A at Oshkosh for the last 10 months. His
great looking plane was located in front of the Lycoming display
right in the middle of Oshkosh Airventure 2005.
Walsh’s plane is powered by Lycoming’s most powerful
4 cylinder fuel injected, normally aspirated engine, the IO-390-X.
This engine makes 210 hp at 2,700 rpm and is one of the new line of
engines from 160 to 300 hp to be made available only for
experimental aircraft market. Engine models that will be available
include the 320, 360, 390 and 540 with Lycoming’s new Roller
Tappet Technology available on some models.
ANN spoke with Walsh at Oshkosh trying to determine what the new
guy at the top has planned for Lycoming’s future.
Walsh’s mantra seems to be: higher performance, lighter
weight and incorporation of advanced technology.
Walsh described Lycoming’s recently renovated advanced
technology center as the key to meeting his goals. The new center
brings together the engineers in a team-oriented environment with
the tools they need to develop and incorporate new materials,
manufacturing methods and engine controls.
Lycoming has installed automated test cells to allow collection
of more accurate data when every engine is tested. The automated
testing allows engineers to observe smaller changes in performance
so that they can more easily identify performance enhancing
opportunities. The high quality data dramatically improves quality
when incorporated in the quality control process. Walsh expects
that the improvements made to Lycoming’s engine line in the
Technology Center to be the key maintaining or increasing market
share with their current product line.
Having addressed one significant new market head on with the
experimental aircraft line, ANN asked Walsh if he has any plans to
enter the new Light Sport Plane Market. He said that in the current
production line only the 235 is applicable, and only for the heaver
planes in the category. The Lycoming 235 makes 115 hp with an
installed weight around 280 pounds. By contrast the most dominant
engine in the LSA market is the Rotax 912s, a 100 hp engine that
weights approximately 180 pounds installed.
Walsh also intends for the company to look at products other
then engines. Walsh’s vision for the company includes such
engine related products as fuel systems and propeller controllers,
and total aircraft systems integration.
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