Experimenter

MAR 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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30 Vol.4 No.3 / March 2015 UNDER THE COWL EVERY YEAR AT EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, the buzz in the Press Tent is about what's new. Unfortunately, so much of what's new is either just old ideas that still aren't useful (e.g. nutat- ing crankshafts) or new applications of unsuitable technology (such as race car engines geared 6-to-1). But sometimes there's effective new technology—in metallurgy, manufacturing techniques, or design—and we get something that's not only new but right. It's rare, but an example may be parts designed and developed by An- drew Higgs (EAA Lifetime 884422), an Englishman living in Japan and the design engineer at Advanced Compo- nent Engineering (ACE), which is the performance house of Titan Aircraft Engines (formerly known as ECi). Titan is the distributor of completed R Series experimental- market engines that incorporate Higgs' upgrades: R360, R409, and R540. Higgs is also president/CEO of AC Aeronautical Ltd, a Japanese engineering company that designs and develops engines for auto racing, especially development of Formula One technologies; AC also has experience designing and upgrading components in other pro racing formulas. Higgs said, "The balance is among performance, reli- ability, and regulations in materials and design versus actual engine manufacturing." In aviation, this balance necessarily tilts toward reliability and maintenance, and Higgs starts with his mechanical engineering and race experience and applies his tools: 3D CATIA modeling; SolidWorks; ProE; thermal and mechanical fi nite element analysis; computational fl uid dynamics and fatigue post- processing software; and his proprietary valve train soft- ware, which also employs advanced materials and coatings. The goals: weight reduction, improved power/weight ratio, cleaner component packaging, increased reliability, and fuel efficiency. When New Really Means New ACE parts BY TIM KERN The AX50 GA 133 engine. The large intake plenum and oil sump are clearly visible in this view from below. The differences in the original 360 crank and the AX50 crankshaft are obvious in this photo. Note that the ACE crankshaft is counterbalanced. The ACE valve and its seat, keeper, and single valve spring unite to save weight, reduce stress, and transfer heat. Photography courtesy of ACE

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