Superior Air Parts, Inc. (www.superiorairparts.com), knows the value of getting the “little things” right because that’s what its business was founded on. In 1967, it manufactured little piston-engine replacement parts, like valve guides, gaskets and piston rings for the USAF. It wasn’t long after, when the opportunity to provide these parts to the general aviation (GA) market appeared, that it moved into the commercial sector.
“That’s when we got into the parts manufacturer approval business and into the GA market,” explains Charles Dedmon, Superior’s president and CEO. “The company really took off.”
Using the parts as its foundation, Superior has not only grown into one of the world’s largest suppliers of after-market piston-engine parts, but also, with the recent FAA certification of its new Vantage Engine, it’s the industry’s newest manufacturer of certified piston-aircraft engines.
“Our experimental XP-360 engine also is made of many of the same approved parts we use in our certificated Vantage Engine,” explains Dedmon. “But the XP-360, for example, has a roller lifter option as well as a lightweight sump option—parts that are not TC’d [type certificated] or PMA’d, but have been tested to the same standards.”
The company’s Vantage engine certification, the industry’s newest 180 hp engine, is moving along very well. “We have the TC in hand and are selling and delivering engines to American Champion Aircraft [the company is using the Vantage Engine on its new High Country Explorer]. We’re manufacturing these engines under our TC,” says Dedmon. “We’re expecting our full-production certificate within weeks—right now, it’s just a question of getting an FAA audit team together to come in for a final review of our production facility.” Superior also is in the process of developing STCs to retrofit the Vantage Engine onto Cessna 172s and Piper PA-28s.
Dedmon says that the company also is focusing on new turbo-normalized versions of the XP-360 engine, which are currently flying and performing quite well. The company also has FADEC technology under development.