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Mon, Mar 18, 2024

Classic Aero-TV: Viking Engines and the Redefining of the Piston Aircraft Engine

From 2022 (YouTube Version): Fngine Company Challenges Convention—and Wins

Viking Aircraft Engines, the Edgewater, Florida-based manufacturer of piston aircraft engines, has fashioned a seemingly humble business-model into a genuine, and genuinely American success story.

Viking’s praxis is simple. The company buys new and gently-used, late-model Honda automotive engines, and converts them to aircraft powerplants. Conversion, however, is no simple feat. In point of fact, it’s a downright complex process comprising extensive modification of the engine’s cylinder heads, valve-train, cam chain, pistons, oil-system, crankshaft, exhaust manifold, and a great many other bits and bobs which, though critical, make for boring reading.

Viking’s co-owner and principal engine-designer, Jan Eggenfellner, points out that contemporary perceptions of piston aircraft engines are predicated largely upon the horizontally-opposed, air-cooled, Lycoming and Continental mills that powered the light, Cessna and Piper aircraft in which so many of today’s pilots trained. Mr. Eggenfellner cites alternate piston aircraft engine architectures—such as the inline, “V”, and radial configurations—for purpose of illustrating the fallaciousness of the belief that aircraft engines must conform to pilots’ preconceived notions.

Even casual comparison of legacy, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled aircraft engines to Viking’s Honda-based, inline, liquid-cooled powerplants is apt to leave pilots questioning their faith in and devotion to the former. By every metric, Viking’s engines are more powerful, reliable, fuel-efficient, and clean-burning than their fin-sporting, 100LL-burning, dual-magneto counterparts.


Mr. Eggenfellner remarks, “to say that because an engine looks a certain way, that makes it an aircraft engine … that’s not true."

To date, over one-thousand kit-aircraft builders have evinced their concurrence with Eggenfellner’s assertions by entrusting their builds and lives to Viking engines. Manufacturers of kit aircraft, too, have acknowledged the functionality and practicality of Viking engines. Zenith—the Missouri based manufacturer of the popular CH650, STOL CH750, and CH750 CRUZER aircraft kits—has seen over ninety-percent of its customers opt to equip their builds with Viking powerplants.

Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda—who held a private pilot license and flew well into his later years—would likely condone and appreciate the forward-thinking ethos and high-quality execution by which Viking has started something special with his company’s automotive engines.

Aero-TV is a production of the Internationally syndicated Aero-News Network. Seen worldwide by hundreds of thousands of aviators and aviation adherents, ANN's Aero-TV has produced over 5000 aviation and feature programs, including nearly 2000 episodes of our daily aviation news program, AIRBORNE UNLIMITED, currently hosted by Holland Lee. Now in its third decade of operation, parent company Aero-News Network, has the most aggressive and intensive editorial profile of any aviation news organization and has published nearly a half-million news and feature stories since its inception -- having pioneered the online 24/7 aviation new-media model that so many have emulated.

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