In 2006, weight saving e;orts concentrated on accessories.
Note full-circle prop flange, big sump, full-size cylinder fins.
Teledyne Continental Motors
Teledyne Mattituck Services Inc.
Engine Components Inc. (ECi)
Lycon Aircraft Engines
(case work and race preparation)
Light Speed Engineering
(aftermarket ignition systems)
Formula One Air Racing
Above: The basic components of an O-200 engine.
When you’re building your own engine, be realistic. You can
get pistons up to 10-to- 1 compression, but can you cool them?
Experience proves that pro-built O-200s can withstand more
than 4000 rpm for several minutes at a time (and produce more
than 140 hp). For non-racers, the question is, “So?” Are you
willing to have a hard-starting, unpredictable engine with a
TBO reduced by maybe 95 percent and one that requires constant attention? Do you measure your flying in dozens of hours
a month or in dozens of laps a year? ;e Reno guys go like crazy
(more than 250 mph) with these little engines, but they’re
always over an airfield (and they get their airplanes to and from
that airfield in trailers). So, think about the one thing that
always matters in the air—reliability—and build accordingly!
A note about exhausts: ;ere is tuning involved, and it is
good to use an established system or to hire a knowledgeable
engine consultant. Don’t just make up something that fits
unless you have no other way to package it. If all else fails and if
noise is not a concern, make them short—just long enough to
keep the exhaust from setting the airplane on fire.
PARTS AND PIECES
Don’t think that buying used rods in a “balanced set” is automatically a good thing. First, the entire reciprocating system
(pistons, pins, rods, and crank) needs to be balanced together.
Second, you may get some improperly modified rods. ;e late
Gary Hubler, five-time Formula One champ and still the class
record-holder, told me years ago, “If you get a race engine that
somebody’s been hacking on, you might get a good one, or you
might get a piece of junk. If somebody balanced the rods the
wrong way, you can get a rod that could break.”
If you don’t know, then don’t do it. As the legendary builder
Kenny Tunnell says, “People need to do their homework before
they just start whittling on the parts.”
Tim Kern is a private pilot and certified aviation manager as well as an
aviation writer and consultant based near Indianapolis. You can find him