6:11 AM

An idea worth considering

Innodyn, a Pennsylvania company that says it can sell homebuilders a new turbine engine for about the same money as a certified piston engine of similar horsepower, hopes to be fulfilling that elusive dream next month.

What customers are waiting for are 188-pound turbines that put out 165 to 255 horsepower, with a TBO of 5,000 hours and price tag of between $26,500 and $34,500.

Innodyn released news very similar to this in April of '04, December of '04 and August of '05. But this time, the buzz is that it will in fact begin shipping customer orders in 1Q 06.

The company tipped it’s hat to future plans too in this Avweb article when they spoke of even larger GA aftermarket turbines on their drawing board:

The twin turbine model will put out up to 500 horsepower and Charlie Sullivan, Innodyn's director of business development suggested that it will be a fraction of the price of entry-level turbines currently on the market.
Wow. A lightweight 500 HP turbine in your new Lancair, now THAT would really rock and roll!

And no – sorry to say – you can’t go out to the barn and hang one of these cute little jet engines on your family Cessna. According to Innodyn, converting an FAA certified airplane to experimental is nearly impossible. But for the kit builders who are now deciding on the powerplant for their evolving home-built bird, the Innodyn does look like an idea worth at least considering.

I believe it is inevitable that the tried, true and often tired piston engines that have powered the GA fleet forever will at some point in the future evolve into obscurity in favor of some kind of turbine replacement. It just makes more sense on so many levels, among them an awesome power-to-weight ratio, jaw-dropping TBO and minimum moving parts that can break in flight.

Would I fly behind an Innodyn? Of course, who wouldn’t? Sure, I’d rather have a 1,200 HP Pratt and Whitney PT6A-67B, but that may be too many ponies for a Skyhawk. Way too many.

Just for fun, I am going to go into my X-Plane flightsim application and modify a C-172 with a 255 HP turbine conversion and “flight test” this combination. Report to come later.

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