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New Carbon Cub UL debuts with new 160-hp Rotax 916 iS

Companies claim ‘impossible engine meets impossible aircraft’

CubCrafters and Rotax have teamed up to design a new aircraft/engine combination—the Carbon Cub UL light sport aircraft featuring a turbo boosted 160-horsepower Rotax 916 iS engine.

The new CarbonCub UL on display. Photo by Alyssa Cobb.

CubCrafters President Pat Horgan said the Carbon Cub UL has been created for a maximum takeoff weight of 1,543 pounds (700 kilograms) and an empty weight less than 882 pounds (400 kilograms). It features titanium components and lighter weight prepreg composites. Horgan didn’t release any performance specifications.

The aircraft/engine combination is “quiet, smooth, powerful,” and has “great fuel consumption,” Horgan said March 28 during an Innovation Preview presentation at the Sun ’n Fun Aerospace Expo in Lakeland, Florida.

“The engine is so quiet you can carry on a normal conversation with your passenger without headsets,” Horgan said. “On the way here, it’s been flying at 17,500 feet making full rated power due to its turbocharged engine.”

CubCrafters said the new aircraft is targeted toward the international market, but a second engine option is available for the U.S. market—the CubCrafters CC340 powerplant.

The company is accepting deposits for the aircraft and deliveries will start in 2025.

An initial engineering prototype is scheduled to be on display at Sun ’n Fun, and was still en route early Tuesday because of weather. The aircraft is being used for flight testing and further development.

With the Carbon Cub UL's arrival to Sun 'n Fun delayed, the new Rotax 916 iS that will power it was all that early visitors to the show could peek at. Photo by David Tulis.

The Rotax engine can run on avgas or automotive fuel and features an intelligent engine control. Its power-to-weight ratio is 160 hp at 189 pounds, and it has a 2,000-hour time between overhauls (TBO), and “will fit into existing 915 iS installations,” said Marc Becker, head of the Rotax aviation engine division.

Becker said the engine is basically the same as a 915 iS with “recalibrated software” as well as a beefed-up crankshaft, gear box, and other components.

“You get the benefit of higher performance without sacrificing reliability,” he said.

The retail price of the 916 iS is $49,500 including a five-year warranty. The engine is also eligible for the Rotax Care extended warranty program, which covers the engine for five years or to TBO.

The Carbon Cub UL is the first installation of the engine, but it will be available starting in June, and available in the United States starting in August.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Cobb

The former senior director of digital media, Alyssa J. Cobb was on the AOPA staff from 2004 until 2023. She is a flight instructor, and loves flying her Cessna 170B with her husband and two children. Alyssa also hosts the weekly Fly with AOPA show on the AOPA Pilot Video YouTube channel.
Topics: CubCrafters, Sun 'n Fun

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