Flying high on biofuel

2010-05-18 00:00

THE first South African-designed and developed general aviation engine is set to take the aviation industry to new heights with its high performance and sustainability.

The fuel-efficient engine, which was developed by Adept Airmotive engineers, was unveiled to aviation enthusiasts at Durban’s Virginia Airport yesterday.

According to Adept managing director Richard Schulz, the T320 is setting new standards in terms of performance and sustainability.

Running on locally produced biofuel, the engine will power a South African SA Ravin 500 advanced composite aircraft that is fitted with a “state-of-the-art cockpit” digital avionics suite, which is also designed and manufactured in South Africa.

The engine is environmentally friendly with a small manufacturing carbon footprint. Recyclable materials are used in the manufacturing process.

Schulz said that he has always been fascinated by engines, and the idea to build this engine came to him while he was at an air show years ago.

“I looked at the state of engine design and realised how outdated it was. The team and I decided that we could put together a world-class engine,” he said.

He and his team worked with engineering students across South Africa during the design process.

“The engine has received world- class recognition. We have one on display in San Francisco, which is fantastic for South African aviation.

“Our technology benchmarks South Africa against the finest aviation engineering practices in the world,” said Adept chairperson André Schoeman.

About 90% of the engines will be exported.

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