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The new Mazda RX8 sports car has a Wankel-type rotary engine that is supposed to be much more fuel efficent and environment-friendly than the earlier (RX7) model. It seems to me that a rotary engine would be a 'natural' for an aircraft power plant - fewer moving parts and less vibration. Has this ever been done? Would it work? (I don't mean the old style piston rotary aircraft engine)
A friend of mine was telling me about putting rotary motors on homebuilt aircraft. I have not read anything on this subject,But I would think that one could get more info. on the subject through kitplane mag. and eaa.com
The rotary engine is an excellent choice for aviation. The Wankle has been successfully applied to experimental aircraft in both single and twin configurations. There is a new, american rotary engine manufacturing company called Freedom Motors http://www.freedom-motors.com that has allowed the Moller Skycar http://www.moller.com to become the amazing craft that it is. Check it out.
As far as Rotary engines, they are a simple and strong design. The crank shaft is a lot more durable than a Lycomming or a Continental with fewer moving parts and if you blow all the oil out of a Rotary it will keep turning until you shut it down and then you can junk it an build anopther one for 3 thousand dollars. Run the oil out of a Lycomming or a Continental and you will quickly discover why the Rotary is a better engine.
The point was made that you can get more torque per Hp with a conventional engine but you can get up to 900Hp in a modified 3 rotor Rotary for not much more weight than a IO 540 which does not give you 900 Hp and that should give you more torque than you need. The gear box, PSRU, is the Aquiles heel of the rotary but Tracy Crook of Real World Solutions puts out a dependable and reliable product that have been keeping dozens of RV flyers in the air for years and he is constantly improving on a good idea, canards like them too. I would never say automobile conversions is always the best way to go because for the most part they are not, durability and the PSRUs have been a problem, but the Rotary is a proven alternative.
I hope some may have found these humble words interesting and maybe even enlightening from a Canard builder/flyer point of view. Good flying and stay safe.
I've been flying with one for over ten years now in my Schleicher ASH-26E self-launching sailplane. Info is here:
It's been in production for over 20 years now.
The engine was originally produced for a Norton motorcycle, then sold by Midwest in the UK for ultralight aircraft and incorporated into Schleicher sailplanes by Martin Heide. The engine is now produced by Diamond Aircraft as the IA-50R. I understand they're working in a dual rotor design.
Mine produces near 50HP at 7500 RPM, and the Norton Commander claims 85HP at 9000 RPM:
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