June 9, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
Global economic conditions took another prisoner as Mistral Engines, based in Geneva, Switzerland, said it is forced to suspend development of its aircraft rotary engine.
The company continues to seek additional investors to complete the final stages of FAA certification for the 300-horsepower, G-300 rotary aircraft engine.
The Mistral Engine concept has been in development for 10 years. Prior to the decision to cease operations, the company had entered into the final stages of testing and had expected to receive FAA certification of the G-300 in the first quarter of 2011.
“At the operational level, all indicators are green both from a technical and commercial standpoint,” said Philippe Durr, CEO of Mistral Engines. “The shortage of cash is terribly frustrating for all involved stakeholders, namely employees, investors, partners, suppliers and, of course, our potential customers.”
“Fortunately, these troubled times can be very quickly overcome if adequate financing is secured in the coming weeks,” he added. “The board’s decision was especially difficult because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent notice on 100LL aviation gas availability. Our engine is an environmental solution to that problem. The Mistral rotary engine runs efficiently on any type of autogas or aviation gas. In addition, we are well along with developing a version of the Mistral engine that runs on Jet-A1 fuel.”
Durr said that the company is seeking new avenues of financing, including partnerships and the outright sale of the Mistral Engines design to another company.
The normally aspirated Mistral G-300 is a three-rotor rotary engine that is intended to bridge the current performance, reliability, and cost gap between current piston and turbine engines.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
AOPA expressed concern in a meeting with town officials from East Hampton, New York, that restrictions proposed to curb airport noise “overwhelmingly” generated by transient commercial flights would unfairly burden traditional airport users.
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