Soloy Aviation Solutions, along with its engine manufacturing partner SMA, unveiled a Cessna 182 featuring the new SMA SR305-230E compression ignition engine burning Jet-A at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017 — after it flew non-stop to Oshkosh from Olympia, Wash., a 1,485 nm journey.
Soloy Aviation has completed the engineering and manufacturing elements of the program and has moved into the flight testing and certification phase.
Company officials report that flight testing is proving the aircraft’s performance is on track to meet the projected goals of higher, farther, faster performance, as well as improved fuel economy and engine reliability.According to a company spokesman, Soloy Aviation will become the STC holder of the engine conversion program.
“We’re almost there; certification is close,” said James Cowan, Soloy’s CEO. “The future of current 100LL aviation fuel around the world is in question. We view the opportunity to use and improve upon SMA’s Cessna 182 engine installation STC as a valid solution to the thousands of operators of Cessna 182 aircraft around the world. At the program’s completion, we will offer a wide variety of Cessna 182 owners the chance to convert their current avgas engines to this efficient and powerful engine platform either at overhaul or anytime during TBO under the revised Soloy STC. Our special initial pricing option should encourage sales activity on our first 15 kits as our pricing will be very advantageous.”
Soloy is offering limited special pricing on the program’s first 15 positions.
EASA STC approval is anticipated during the fourth quarter of 2017, with FAA approval following in early 2018.
Kit deliveries will begin in the first quarter of 2018, company officials said.
Flying non-stop to Oshkosh
Company officials report they flew non-stop to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, from Soloy’s home base in Olympia, Washington, a 1,485 nautical mile flight.
They also report the SMA SR305-230E engine only consumed 80 gallons of Jet-A fuel for the flight.
Crewed by Soloy pilot Tony Uhl and co-piloted by Soloy Chief Engineer Steve Phoenix, the two climbed the re-powered and EASA certified Skylane to a VFR altitude of 17,500 and set the engine power to 60%. With a small tail wind in their favor, the aircraft showed a true airspeed ranging between 150-162 knots throughout the cruise portion of the nine-hour flight.
Flight planning calculated the long single-leg destination of KOSH should have taken eight hours five minutes (8:05), but traffic delays on the arrival to AirVenture required more than an hour in a holding pattern before being given clearance to land.
“Our flight was really unremarkable,” Uhl said. “We simply reached our cruise altitude, set the power and pointed the nose directly for Oshkosh. The flight performance is just what we expected: Great speed with even better fuel economy. During our post-flight inspection, we discovered the engine consumed less than 250ml of oil for a flight lasting over nine hours. That’s less than ¼ of one quart. We couldn’t be happier.”