Looking ahead to 2017
2016 has been a year in which much of our activities focussed on the completion of the endurance testing of the production specification 320T engine now fitted into our Ravin Aircraft, ZU-VEE, and designing and planning for our state-of-the art production facility. The extended test programme was a great success, and the engine performed better and better as we moved through the test stages. The only maintenance required was an engine oil change, and regular filter changes as we have oil and filter analysis carried out on a regular cycle. These showed no contamination, and indicated an engine in excellent condition.
With cumulative testing of over 180 hours, with only one oil change and no mechanical or system problems indicate that our prediction of low lifecycle and maintenance costs is being proven to be accurate.
We also completed a test cycle on the engine delivered to Vliegmasjien for the C-Wolf, which was displayed to good effect at AAD this year. The response was excellent, and we look forward to the testing, both ground and flight, that will begin in 2017. ADEPT is proud to be the engine of choice, and a technical partner for this proudly South African project.
ADEPT will be bringing all the critical manufacturing and assembly processes in-house in a new manufacturing facility in early 2017. These processes include our precision aluminium casting foundry, CNC machining, quality assurance, inspection, storage and assembly in a 1,600 square meter (170,000 square foot) facility. Airside activities will continue at Virginia Airport, and we will be flying VEE regularly during the year.
There have been several interesting developments in the GA arena, and probably the most critical is the issue around the availability of Avgas globally. With no indication as to when an alternative high octane lead-free fuel could be available, and with the US Environmental Protection Agency announcing that they are advocating that all motor gasoline (Mogas) in the USA have a significant amount of ethanol in the fuel, this could raise serious issues with those aircraft and engines not designed to be ethanol compatible. The ADEPT engines have been designed to be fully compatible with ethanol in Mogas in any concentration that will be practically available.
Of major significance was the announcement by the FAA on the 16th of December 2016 that the Part 23 Revitalization programme will be implemented from August 2017. This has massive benefits to the GA industry as it will make the certification of engines and airframes far less complex, and reduces time and costs to the industry significantly and EASA is following suit in Europe. Once we have studied the new regulations we will align our longer term certification strategy with the revised requirements.
Early 2017 will see two ADEPT Lancair installations progressing in the USA, and we are working with some very interesting and forward thinking OEM airframe manufacturers with regard to specifying the ADEPT engine range. We recently surveyed the possibility of retro-fitting our 280N (280 HP) engine into the Robinson R44 helicopter range. Benefits are that the engine can provide a full 269HP at 6000 feet ASL, allows a payload increase of up to 125 kg (275 Lbs), depending on the specific R44 model, and operates on Unleaded Mogas. Currently the R44 operators burn a litre of Avgas per minute, which at South African fuel prices equates to R1200/Hr (US $ 90/Hr). Our fuel consumption and using far cheaper Mogas in the same application costs R595/hr (US $ 45/Hr). A commercial operator, who flies 500 hours annually, will save over R300 000 (US $ 22,000) on fuel costs alone.
The ADEPT team wishes the aviation community all the best over the festive season, and as we look forward to a really exciting and eventful 2017, all the very the best for the forthcoming year.