Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Double Down

From Dream to reality: Moving Up from a single Engine to a twin story

The RAM VII Advantage
As a fresh twin pilot with little turbo experience, I spent the first 50 hours flying the 1,900-hour RAM VIs that came with our plane to break myself in before we installed new engines. We planned to put in RAM VIIs right after this trial period, so we started the job even though the VIs were running so well when we took them out, some may accuse us of a crime.

The RAM VIIs deliver the best performance on this airframe short of a turbine conversion, and they run and sound like refined works of art. They're smooth and sexy and offer a whole lot of confidence and performance over other options. RAM Aircraft owns STCs for the improvement package that has been engineered to maximize all the power possible out of the venerable Continental TSIO-520-NB. At 38 inches, 2,700 rpm and 70 gallons per hour, they produce 670 horsepower, pushing you way back in the seat while accelerating to 100 mph in 15 seconds. I rotate at 86 knots, start a climb at an initial 1,600 fpm, and cruise up to 23,000 feet in 25 or 26 minutes.

The key to the RAM VII package is the AiResearch TA81 turbocharger. It's seven cubic inches larger and redlines 100 degrees hotter than its predecessor for better cooling and added safety. The improved stainless-steel turbo and larger intercooler offer takeoff power up to 25,000 feet at lower manifold pressures and operating temperatures.

I've cruised 215-220 KTAS at 22,000 feet, but the real winner is climbing up to the 20s into speedy tailwinds, where I've witnessed 286+ knots ground speed on the GPS. A strong check in the piston column, there's also little penalty for descending lower to stay out of the headwinds on the way home.


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