July 27, 2009
By Thomas B Haines
After nearly a decade of development, Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM) has received FAA certification on the first full authority digital electronic controlled (FADEC) turbocharged engine—the TSIOF-550. The TSIOF-550 joins the IOF-240 and IOF-550 in TCM’s growing line of certified, production FADEC engines.
The certified TSIOF-550 engine churns out 350 hp at 2,600 rpm and a 22,000-foot critical altitude. TCM’s PowerLink FADEC allows for single-lever electronic engine control that reduces pilot workload in the cockpit down to selecting a desired power setting using a single-control lever. With the single lever, the pilot selects the power and the system automatically manages fuel to either “best power” or “best economy” depending on the pilot’s preference. As Continental test pilots demonstrated in recent efficiency test flights, the system ensures ease of operation and automatic adjustment of fuel flow to maintain fuel economy and engine operating parameters without constant pilot involvement.
An experimental version of the TSIOF-550 has been flying on the front of a Lancair IVP for more than 550 hours. The TSIOF-550 has enabled the IV to achieve economy cruise speeds of 255 KTS while burning 17.5 gallons per hour of fuel.
TCM President Rhett Ross said several airframe manufacturers were interested in offering the engine as an option. Expect more announcements soon.
Meanwhile, the company plans to offer a turbocharged version of its IO-550 to Cirrus customers in need of an engine overhaul. The engine is expected to be available by the first of the year. Tornado Alley Turbo has for several years offered a turbonormalizer upgrade to Cirrus IO-550 owners, providing sea level manifold pressure to a much higher altitude. A turbocharger, such as that on the new TCM engine, boosts manifold pressure above standard, offering higher horsepower.
With its new engine, TCM claims a max cruise speed of 204 knots on 18.7 gph at 18,000 feet; economy cruise is 199 knots on 16.2 gph.
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Thomas A. Horne flies the ultimate personal turboprop. Video by Mike Fizer.
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