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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS Feed SCI Powers Up at AirVenture
SCI 44
(photo by Marino Boric)
SCI 40
(photo by Marino Boric)
SCI 33
(photo by Marino Boric)

By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent

SCI Aviation introduced three new experimental aircraft engines this week at AirVenture, and variety is the name of the game.

The first model is based on the 30-year-old Sadler Radial designed by Bill Sadler and Bill Gewald for the original Kitfox. The company was unable to deliver engines in time, and Kitfox adapted a two-cycle Rotax while keeping the aircraft's distinctive round cowl.

They sold more than 50 engines until Bill Gewald died; the project sat in a warehouse for 10 years.

SCI tracked down the widow and bought the company, tooling, and parts before moving it all to engineering facilities in Shanghai.

The original 1.7-liter compact Sadler Radial (20-inch diameter) engine underwent redesign into the 80-hp R6-80 displacing 2.2 liters. It has a 3300 rpm redline. The R6-80 uses dual electronic fuel injection, dual electronic ignition, an alternator, and electric starting, yet it weighs only 125 pounds - lighter even than a VW conversion. The $8,000 Oshkosh introductory price includes remote oil tank and exhaust collector ring.

The new-design big brother to the R6-80 is the 3.2-liter, 150-hp R6-150 with a 27-inch diameter and a 3000 rpm redline. Being machined from billet aluminum makes it a more expensive solution at $18,000. Both powerplants are based on VW valves and cylinders. This engine weighs only 180 pounds, and the prototype is already being tested in the United Kingdom.

The newest engine developed by SCI Aviation is based on a Suzuki 600-cc motorcycle cylinder and piston. That combination develops 40 hp per cylinder at 5500 rpm, with various ratios of belt drives available to slow prop speed.

It is configurable in liquid-cooled boxers or radials from one to 10 cylinders, making it a very flexible cost-effective design.

This engine was developed over the last six months and assembled over the last six weeks for AirVenture display. The four-cylinder engine on display provides 160 hp at 195 pounds with an introductory price of $12,500.

It uses a unique rod arrangement introduced on SCI radial engines. The rod "saddles" ride on needle bearings captured by steel rings, with ball bearings on the crankshaft.

This system has been used for more than 100 years, starting on rotary engines in WWI.

Only two crank throws are required on the four-cylinder boxer or double-row radial, no master rod is required. Each cylinder has its own dual ECU for fuel and ignition with a single spark plug and individual thermostat.

Future developments include lighter magnesium cases and titanium crankshafts.

A single-cylinder 40-hp engine is already in development and being load tested on a dyno and should be available soon for $4,100. A direct-drive, twin-turbo, boxer engine of 125 hp is also under consideration, as well as higher compression ethanol and diesel engines.

SCI Aviation is based in Shanghai, China. Don Wehmeyer, an engineer from the United States, designs its products and lives in Shanghai.

For more information visit SCI Aviation at Booth 93 at AirVenture.

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