On opening day of AirVenture, Lycoming GM Michael Kraft took a moment to showcase the variety of aircraft powered by the company’s engines — from the earliest Burt Rutan models to the State Farm Zeppelin giving rides at the show to the new state-of-the art “Firebird” for the military — the most expensive aircraft ever powered by a Lycoming.
“The theme at our booth this year are the four-cylinder models,” he said, noting the booth featured several LSAs, including a Renegade and a Kitfox SuperSport, which will be powered by the company’s new IO-233 LSA engine. “We’re pleased to move that engine into production.”
While the company originally planned to go for FAA certification for the engine, it has shifted gears and is now seeking ASTM certification for the engine, he said, noting the uncertainty with the FAA was a factor in the decision. “We do intend to do a Part 33 certification once things settle down,” he added.
He then ticked off the list of aircraft powered by Lycoming, from the Lancair Evolution to the Zeppelin — “if you’ve never been in one, you should,” he said. “It’s like sailing in the sky” — to the military’s latest and greatest aircraft.
That’s the new Northrup Grumman Firebird, an intelligence-gathering aircraft that can be flown manned or unmanned. The Firebird will be able to give military users real-time high-definition video, allow them to view infrared imagery, use radar and even listen in on communications signals — all at the same time.
Scaled Composites, the Burt Rutan company that developed SpaceShipOne, will design, build and test the aircraft, with the first flight expected just 12 months after initial discussions, according to Northrup Grumman officials.
“It’s the most expensive aircraft ever powered by a Lycoming,” Kraft said.
For more information: Lycoming.com