|Electroair’s newly STC’d electronic ignition system four-cylinder Lycomings (shown) is due to be followed by STCs for six-cylinder Lycoming and Continental engines.
Sometimes it takes more than a spark of imagination to advance an innovation. The imagination is, of course, crucial, but so is the talent to execute the innovation and the stamina to see it all through to fruition.
Electroair’s President Michael Kobylik and staff showed their stamina in earning a supplemental type certificate (STC) for a pure-electronic general aviation piston engine ignition system—believed to be only the second option approved for certificated aircraft to provide an alternative to the venerable mechanical magneto.
According to the company, the STC’d system is the first pure-electronic option and leverages the more than 2,500 systems in use on experimental-category aircraft—the product of their imagination and innovation that evolved into the approved system.
Electroair’s initial STC is engine specific, covering all Lycoming four cylinder engines installed on Cessna aircraft—which means all the four-cylinder Lycoming variants of the world’s most-popular airplane, the Skyhawk, including today’s in-production 172R and 172S models.
EWon replaces one magneto, typically the right one, with the following: an rpm measurement device, a manifold pressure sensor, and a high output coil. All are controlled by a sophisticated and versatile controller to advance timing according to altitude and provide a significantly hotter, longer duration spark than previously available. Aircraft spark plugs are approved.
Advantages of electronic ignition include a much-hotter, much-longer spark—in this case a continuous “zap” endurance of 20 degrees of crankshaft rotation—as well as variable timing advance up to 39 degrees before top dead center (BTDC) based on manifold pressure. This amount of advance exceeds by 10 to 14 degrees the fixed advance setting of conventional mags.
Benefits of this variable timing control include reduced fuel consumption, cleaner combustion and higher power. By comparison, the fixed timing of a mechanical magneto is optimal only at one setting, usually cruise power, but otherwise a compromise that wastes fuel and reduces power.
According to Kobylik, Electroair plans additional airframe eligibility over the next few months as well as additional STCs covering six-cylinder Continental and Lycoming powerplants.
Meanwhile the four-cylinder Lycoming/Cessna systems are already available. Learn more at www.Electroair.net or visit the Electroair team in Building C, Booth 3175. AVT