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Advance Innovative Engineering Tests Drone Engine

Light, Compact Rotary Engine Tested in UK MoD, USAF UAV Project

Advanced Innovative Engineering (AIE) has announced the development of its newest small UAV propulsion system, showing a compact, lightweight Wankel engine.

AIE demonstrated the capability of its 38 HP rotary engine, the AIE 225CS - standing for, in the tradition of engine design, a bevy of abbreviations. The 'CS' in the name stands for Compact SPARCS, which itself is another abbreviation for 'Self Pressurizing Air Rotor Cooling System'.

The rotary engine could use the appreciation of its lightweight, smooth design, and the UAV industry seems uniquely prepared for its benefits. Wankel engines went out of automotive vogue with the extinction of the lone Mazda holdout a decade ago, being incapable of beating traditional piston engines in economy or power output. For ground vehicles, trading weight for additional power is easy, but aircraft stand in the inverse. The light, compact rotary powerplant is a perfect fit for unmanned aircraft looking to gain as much payload capacity as they can. 

“The SPARCS is an advanced rotor cooling system that substantially increases engine performance and its life. This technology consistently delivered power even in the most extreme temperature conditions," said Nathan Bailey, Managing Director at Advanced Innovative Engineering, UK. A test engineer in the program said the engine was a cut above the rest in noise, vibration, and harshness. "I have to say, this has been the smoothest engine install that I've ever been involved in. The engine always started and always went to power as advertised.” He noted the solid performance in climbing and flight at altitude, as well as ground temperature tolerance. The AIE 225CS even shortened the vehicle take-off distance while exceeding the stock ceiling with substantially higher climb rates.



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