August 3, 2016
Electronic ignition can make starting easier, and reduce fuel burn and maintenance costs. But the FAA will only certify it for one side of the engine. Electroair is looking to bridge the gap with a new hybrid magneto.
The RC4000 hybrid magneto uses rotation energy to charge a coil, similar to a traditional magneto. But it lacks the points and impulse coupler failure modes of those magnetos. It instead provides a similar high-energy and long-duration spark of electronic ignition systems. Electroair’s goal is to provide a system that has the independent drive of a magneto with the ignition benefits of an electronic system.
Unlike an electronic system, where the battery must have enough charge to fire the spark plugs, the RC4000 will be independent. It also is expected to provide an additional 6 amps of back-up power.
Initial plans include a direct replacement for four-cylinder Bendix mags, with a goal to develop a six-cylinder system. Electroair hopes to fly the new magneto this fall, and certify by this time next year.