As private aircraft piloting is becoming more accessible to a number of population segments, advances in experimental designs that support sustainable flying have also become more prominent. This is largely due to the fact that existing turbines and radial engines can not only be obtained to be modified, but they can also be combined with better body designs and alternative power sources to propel the engines.
The result has been a reinvigorated interest in making air travel more accessible, either through private flights, or smaller commercial fleets that are sustainably maintained. The Pratt and Whitney R-1340 and the smaller R-985 are both popular for home builders and established innovators. This is because adjustments to these engines can be easily done, but also because the foundational design provides for the ability to interchange parts when working on a refurbishment.
Cost Of Development And Cost Of Maintenance
In many experimental aircraft designs, there have been issues with the ability to maintain different propulsion systems, since parts and service for repairs is still a learning curve. As a result, interest in refurbishing exiting radial engines for greater capacity and efficiency has become a wiser fiscal choice in the development and acquisition stage. This also helps for sustainable flight through:
- Upcycling parts
- Making replicable adjustments
- Reducing manufacture waste through the use of existing arrays
Owners who are thinking about adapting a smaller commercial fleet for efficient function will often need to consider how long term repairs and maintenance will affect the bottom line. When this also involves exploring new ways of making aviation green, it can include considerable speculation about the route of aircraft propulsion.
However, the truth is that the PT6A turbine and the powerhouse Pratt and Whitney radials are still a working standard, even with newer modifications. Historically, these engines were developed as factory manufacture of machine parts was becoming commonplace, so a focus on interchanging and availability of parts is still maintained. As a result, even alterations for a refurbishment can be accessed and implemented for better results.