Industry News

October 2009 Issue

Rotax Owner Survey: Overall, Top Marks

Respondents report low operating costs and generally good service, but are sometimes frustrated when outside the factory support network.

Despite the company having been around for some 90 years, powering an aircraft with a Rotax engine is something relatively new to most general aviation pilots in North America. Until the onslaught of light sport aircraft began five years ago, many had never even heard of a Rotax engine, despite their popularity and penetration in the power sport markets (motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, personal watercraft and so on). As a result, these days it’s likely an ultralight, experimental or LSA you own or plan to fly is powered by a Rotax engine, part of Canada-based Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. That high level of market penetration means more and more Rotax engines are in service. Because of their increasing popularity, we wanted to find out about owners’ experiences with them, including maintenance frequency, factory support and overall costs of ownership. To find those answers, we crafted a 13-question ownership survey and made it available through our online sister publication, www.avweb.com, in early September. The results show owners are generally happy with their engines, and most maintenance issues are easily handled. But finding someone to work on them at an out-of-the-way location might be a challenge. Thankfully, the Rotax dealer network appears to be meeting owners’ needs, and those flying in the experimental category generally find the engines to be easy enough to work on themselves.

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