On Monday, July 24, Air Command announced on the first day of AirVenture 2023 Oshkosh that its new single-seat gyroplane power plant is the Polaris four-stroke, two-cylinder engine.
Air Command President Joe Covelli said, "The Polaris engine checked all our boxes for durability, performance, power, and torque. We engineered an adapter that makes the UTV engine run very smooth with a propeller connected to it."
Air Command began working with the Polaris engine four years ago, with the engine on the test stand the past two years. Covelli added, "We dedicated the time and engineering resources to make this work perfectly for our gyroplane and use on other experimental and light sport aircraft too. With each design change we knew we were getting closer - and then we just nailed it. It was a great feeling for our entire team and everyone we'd been working with. We've been building time running it on the test stand for many months, doing disassembly and inspections along the way."
There's a need for aircraft engines that offer horsepower in the 65 to 100 range. This engine fills that niche. The Polaris UTV engine is 1000cc, four-stroke, two-cylinder, 85 HP @ 400 lbs. of thrust, and the RPM range is 1,200 to 8,000. It is fuel-injected, liquid-cooled, and offers a fly-by-wire throttle (no cable) through the engine's ECU computer. The engine itself weighs 20 lbs. more than the Rotax 582. The fuel burn rate on the test stand was 1.5 gallons per hour using various throttle RPM settings.
Now that Air Command has proven proof of concept with the Polaris engine and its adapter, the next step is to put the engine on an airframe and begin flight tests. Covelli said, "We need to complete a few things yet, but we'd like to be flying in two months to take it to the next level and start building flight time".
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