Industry News

February 2013 Issue

Rotax 912 iS Flight: Economy, Premium Price

Flight Design hits the market with Rotax’s new electronic engine. Preliminary data shows improved fuel economy and easier starting.

If avionics move forward at the speed of light—well, sound anyway—aircraft engine progress is rather more glacial, but it is progressing as we reported last spring with Rotax’s rollout of the new 912 iS. Although a few months late, the new engine is finally delivering in volume and we flew one in a Flight Design CTLSi, a new version from the leader in LSA sales. To speed the uptake, Rotax intended the 912 iS to be a bolt-up option for manufacturers and it basically is that, although some minor airframe mod requirements mean it’s not exactly an afternoon swap-out project. Just as Rotax predicted, the engine delivers better fuel economy over the 912 ULS used in many LSAs and its operation is somewhat simplified. (Not that the ULS exactly required a flight engineer.) But you’ll pay for the privilege of knocking the fuel burn down by a half a gallon. The asking price of the CTLSi is nearly $13,000 higher than the standard model with the 912 ULS Rotax. Presumably, there will be some payback in lower maintenance costs, but that’ll be for the future to prove.

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