Sun ‘n Fun Diary: Bose A30, Rotax 916iS

The show opener in Lakeland was abuzz with news that Bose brought a replacement for the A20 headset and Rotax has a new four-banger.

The press at Sun ‘n Fun 2023 wasn’t exactly swamped with major product announcements. But two major ones in the spotlight came from Bose, with a new flagship ANR headset, and CubCrafters, with a new Rotax turbocharged model 916 iS for the new Carbon Cub UL speedster.

Remember the viral Red Bull footage awhile back of the Carbon Cub being planted on the 88-foot- diameter helipad in Dubai? It was the new four-cylinder 916 iS (an iteration of the original and quite successful 912) on the nose of the airplane, which makes 160 HP. The light sport Carbon Cub UL is indeed lighter than the earlier model—built with pre-preg composite and titanium parts for saving weight. 

The new intercooled 916 iS is signature Rotax, with water and air cooling, electronic ignition and electronic fuel injection. On the Carbon Cub application, the 916 iS will be approved to run on avgas, mogas and new unleaded avgas. The TBO is set to 2000 hours and although the engine has less power than the 180-HP CC340 used on the Carbon Cub, it’s intended to shine in high density altitude conditions and has a 23,000-foot max operating ceiling. The new engine can also fit into existing 915 iS applications.

The Carbon Cub UL, which will be available in 2025, will be aimed at international markets. As for the new 916 iS, it’s expected to be available later this summer and priced at $49,500.

In the pilot supplies department, Bose made a strong showing with its new A30—a redesign of the hugely popular A20 model, which has officially been discontinued. At Sun ‘n Fun, Bose’s Hratch Astarjian told us the A20—which has a five-year warranty—will be well-supported moving forward. 

Priced a bit higher than the A20, the $1249 A30 isn’t much lighter than the old set, but with its redesigned center-spring headband (the spring mechanism has been incorporated inside the structure) and reworked earcups, there’s far less clamping pressure. That makes the set feel lighter and more comfortable on the head. It’s more streamlined because the wires that interface the earcups and microphone are fully enclosed.

The A30 was designed to be quieter, too, with digital electronics as opposed to the analog circuitry in the A20. There’s also a feature that trickles down from the company’s ProFlight Series 2 in-ear set for jets that allows the user to switch between three modes of ANR operation to allow easier talk-through conversations. 

And no, Bose didn’t redesign the A30 to counter the recently introduced Lightspeed Delta Zulu headset, which has built-in CO detecting and a smart software-controlled hearing utility that compensates for hearing loss. Bose told us the new A30 has been in development for nearly four years.

Look for a detailed review on the new Bose A30 in an upcoming issue of Aviation Consumer. 

Editor in Chief Larry Anglisano has been a staple at Aviation Consumer since 1995. An active land, sea and glider pilot, Larry has over 30 years’ experience as an avionics repairman and flight test pilot. He’s the editorial director overseeing sister publications Aviation Safety magazine, IFR magazine and is a regular contributor to KITPLANES magazine with his Avionics Bootcamp column.