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When Rotax launched its 915 iS at Sun ‘n Fun, it wasn’t a laser light show kind of event. And it could have been. The new engine, which the company started shipping in December, is a huge step up from the uber popular 912 models. The fully electronically controlled four-banger produces a lot more power than the 912, 140-hp max and 135-hp max continuous but does it apparently while using about the same amount of fuel as the 100-hp 912 iS and at about, Rotax says, 100 pounds less weight than some conventional aero engines.
A downside is that the engine is not FADEC controlled, meaning the pilot has to control the power manually. There’s a five-minute limit on full power, plenty for most takeoff and initial climbs.
At this point, the 900-series Rotax engines are so ubiquitous that they are also “conventional” aero engines, but the 915 iS produces so much power, 40 percent more than the 912, that it will surely spawn new airplanes built to take advantage of that additional power, something that we’ve heard is in fact already happening.
Rotax has already delivered 100 of the engines. Expect that number to grow precipitously in the coming months and years.
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