Franklin Sport 4 engine

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challenger_II

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One item that hasn't been factored into the equation: that small unpleasantness we experienced in the mid '80s when the Major Light Plane Manufacturers shut down production. With the small plane production interrupted, engine manufacturers had to reduce THEIR output. This drove up the per item cost. Of course, this smacks of the whole "supply and demand" thing which some folks do not believe is a factor...
 

Wanttaja

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However: I also know that close to none of the engines used by the aspiring producers were new (as in new from the factory). Military surplus ruled.
Really? I find that hard to believe. That's a wide variety of engines we're talking about (A65s, C75s, Franklins, etc.) that would only have been used on the light observation aircraft during the war. Can't see the US military ordering that much of a backlog.

Ron Wanttaja
 
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Certified airplane engines would be expected to be an exception.
Expected? If aircraft engines were really in a free market situation than I'd expect the trickle down of the improved manufacturing costs to be only slightly behind large scale manufacturing of similar products.
With the FAA regulatory environment as it is I can see expecting the change to happen at a glacial pace since the 'process' is as much a part of the certification as is the product.

That's why it would be surprising to me if they did remain close to the same inflation-adjusted price.
After rereading the last of your post I think I just said the same thing ....................... 🤷‍♂️
 

Dan Thomas

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The small Continental and Lycomings are 1940s technology.
This accusation is tiresome. As a mechanic, I can tell you that the engines look the same, but they are not. At all. There have been numerous metallurgical improvements to them, making them last longer and more reliable. To replace them with clean-sheet designs would cost so much money that they would cost three times as much as they do now. In fact, Lycoming has a bunch of modern designs available, right now, that are not selling well because they're expensive and buyers are cheap.

One could make the same accusation about outboard motors, based on appearances, and be even more wrong than about aircraft engines. And outboard motor prices are obscene even though there are many more produced than aircraft engines. A 2022 Mercury 115 HP motor will set you back around $13K. A 150 HP, about $16.5K. But at least you get a propeller with them. You can spend as much as $80K on the biggest motors.

Franklin's Sport four, the O-235, first ran in the mid-1960s. It was based on their older designs, with nothing special about it to cause airframe manufacturers to choose it over Lycoming's O-235, for instance. The mid-'60s were nearly 60 years ago; the mid-'40s were just 20 years earlier, too. Big advances? Nope.

As far as extrapolating prices forward to today? Back in the '50s or '60s we did not have the litigious society we do now. A guy buys a new 172, loads it up with friends or family, and does something stupid like flying into clouds when he's a VFR pilot, and either loses control or bangs into some granite, and Cessna and Lycoming and all the mechanics get sued for it. So Cessna and Lycoming have to buy expensive liability insurance on every airplane and engine they make, and keep doing it for 18 years, and YOU get to pay for that. Not only that, but labor rates rose a lot in the '70s and '80s, and that didn't help. It was the reason so much manufacturing went overseas. And why so many people bought imported stuff, including cars and trucks.

Franklin's Sport four, the O-235, first ran in the mid-1960s. It was based on their older designs, with nothing special about it to cause airframe manufacturers to choose it over Lycoming's O-235, for instance. The mid-'60s were nearly 60 years ago; the mid-'40s were just 20 years earlier, too. Big advances. Huh.
 
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Dan Thomas

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Really? I find that hard to believe. That's a wide variety of engines we're talking about (A65s, C75s, Franklins, etc.) that would only have been used on the light observation aircraft during the war. Can't see the US military ordering that much of a backlog.

Ron Wanttaja
Exactly. There weren't that many surplus engines. There WERE a lot of outfits making small airplanes after the war, most of which most HBAers have never heard of. Besides Piper and Champion and Cessna and Beech and Mooney, there were Commonwealth, Funk, Bellanca, Ryan, North American, Callair, Erco (Ercoupe), Fleet, Forney, Globe, Luscombe, Monocoupe, Shinn, Porterfield, Rearwin, Republic, Stinson, Taylorcraft, Thurston, Varga, and others. All of them bought engines from Continental, Lycoming, and Franklin.

From aerospace industry - The space age

...we read:

Immediately following World War II, because many veterans wanted to continue or learn flying, American light-plane production soared—33,254 aircraft were sold in 1946, a 455 percent increase over the last prewar sales figures. Although prospects seemed promising, rising retail prices for aircraft, high operating costs for the owner, and other factors caused the market to narrow, and by the mid 1950s only the three light-aircraft industry leaders—Beech, Cessna, and Piper—remained major forces.

Look at that again. 33,254 airplanes sold in 1946. Contrast that with 2021: 895 piston-engined GA airplanes were sold. Aircraft sales grow 13% so far in 2021 — General Aviation News
 

KAF

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About 1971, a factory new Lycoming IO-360, with mags, Bendix FI, and starter ring gear, cost about $4,200.


BJC
You could buy a pretty nice car for that in 1971.

I assume the cost for that engine, today, is also about the price of a pretty nice car.

I once heard a guy say that the price of a nice London suit has been about an ounce of gold for the last couple of centuries or so.
 

Tom DM

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I once heard a guy say that the price of a nice London suit has been about an ounce of gold for the last couple of centuries or so.

If that's the measurement stick, why even bother with figures or logic.

"Handmade" shoes will set you back between 3000-4000 US$ per set, initial measuring not included.
You will get however a free 15 minutes explication why those shoes are of utter importance to you.

Quite strange how 95.95% (my guess) of the earth population can even survive without having laid eyes on a handmade shoe. I did ... but it struck me that the wearer was human. He proved that less than 3 months later: his private jet took off at Moscow, collided with a snowplow operated by a drunk.
 

TFF

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Cost of living calculators are only an approximation of the money. It isn’t an approximation of value put upon an individual item. I have an old car my grandparents bought new in 1963. It cost about $5500. It’s a nice car. Or was before teen driver. That makes it a $50,000 car by a calculator. But with the type, it would be $80,000+. Right now there is no direct US; the European ones start at $80,000 and go to the 200s.

Lycoming and Continental make about 1500 new engines a year each. 3000 new engines. They factory overhaul about the same. Those are very small businesses today that hold up the whole industry. No one wants to move in and make no money. For the millions it would take to start up a factory, it’s not worth it.
 

Dan Thomas

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For the millions it would take to start up a factory, it’s not worth it.
The millions are on top of the R&D for a new engine, too. One would never get any return on the investment. Not when annual aircraft sales are 2.95% of what they were in 1946, and the regulatory and liability regimes are so onerous.
 

Vigilant1

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The millions are on top of the R&D for a new engine, too. One would never get any return on the investment. Not when annual aircraft sales are 2.95% of what they were in 1946, and the regulatory and liability regimes are so onerous.
It might be possible to make money if you could pay your experienced full-time CNC machinists $7,000* per year, ($3 per hour) and if your company was largely protected from product liability torts.

IMO, the "developed world" needs to do some reappraisal of a lot of assumptions we've been working under.

*47,400 yuan
 
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Dan Thomas

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It might be possible to make money if you could pay your experienced full-time CNC machinists $7,000* per year, ($3 per hour) and if your company was largely protected from product liability torts.

IMO, the "developed world" needs to do some reappraisal of a lot of assumptions we've been working under.

*47,400 yuan
There's that, and one also has to address quality. We've all experienced the quality (or lack thereof) of offshore clones of stuff we used to make here. Continental and Lycoming already regularly encounter QA issues such as the contracted-out crankshaft foundry work that saw some cranks failing. Or the ongoing QA circus at Slick (Champion). These issues are completely preventable, but the cure involves paying more for skilled labor and qualified engineers overseeing all phases of manufacture, and that costs more money. And universities are not producing so many engineers anymore. Just a lot of useless degrees coming out now. And lawyers.

McCreary used to be a major player in the aircraft tire business. They became Specialty Tires of America, and sold tires not made in America, tires that were pretty much junk. Asian stuff. Michelin has their Condor line, from Thailand, but I saw much better quality there, indicating that QA was important to them. They were good value for the flight school, where tire life is short anyway.

Cessna had the Skycatcher built in China. There were problems there, too.

Quality costs money. Period. Sure, the Chinese might be able to build an O-235 clone for $10K, but will it have stellite valve seats and sodium-filled valves? Will it have the high-chromium bronze valve guides? Will it have nitrided cylinders? Will its crankshaft be of the expensive vanadium (I think) alloy necessary to strength? Will the grinding and heat-treating of the piston pins and gears and camshaft be up to snuff? Will it have roller lifters? Will it have cast instead of forged con rods? Will its magnetos have reliable impulse couplings, coils and other components? Will its carb have a plastic float that doesn't dissolve in Mogas?

Or will a lot of shortcuts be taken to make it fit into the $10K target? I know where my bet would lie. It would resemble the quality of the 1930s and '40s engines, or worse, built before the metallurgical advances were employed.
 
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Mflyer

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What technology do you think the Franklins have?

BTW, about 20 years ago, the Franklin importer had an engine in a C150, and was working on an STC. It was higher HP, but also was considerably heavier. It is difficult to compare weights of engines unless they are actually weighed with the same accessories.


BJC
Weight can be greatly reduced using light weight starters, alternators, mags and carburetors. A couple of Kitfox airplanes in my area use Franklins and they are designed for Rotax engines!
 

Mflyer

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And went bust, almost immediately. The US trained a lot of pilots during WWII, and the assumption was these men were going to want their own aircraft when they got home. Manufacturers surged...and lost their shirts when the anticipated boom didn't happen. It's not a coincidence that a number of aircraft companies either merged or went bankrupt in the ten years after the war ended.

This plot uses the FAA registration database from 2005, and plots the number of aircraft on the registry by their year of manufacture. The boom/bust is pretty obvious:
View attachment 125330
The problem is, there is *already* a good replacement engine for the small Continental-powered aircraft... the Rotax 912.

Ron Wanttaja
True and how about the Jabiru 3300?
 

Tom DM

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They already own Continental.

And Thielert Centurion and Mooney and Cirrus Aircraft and Glasair and Diamond Aircraft Group and some 30 other Gneral Aviation manufacturers.

In a country where -up till now- there are heavy restrictions above 3000 ft AGL and where untill 2003 the ownership of an airplane was prohibited.
 

Tom DM

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True and how about the Jabiru 3300?


The Jabiru 3300 is not a replacement to the O-200: it far exceeds it in overall performance. The dimensions and weight of the 3300 alter significantly the silouette of the airplane. However in the real world I like the O-200 more : in the airframes attached the Jabiru is about 10 kts faster for similar fuelburn but it feels as the aircraft does not like that. Always one eye is needed to the oil temperature on the Jabiru.

See pictures: the blue one has the O-200 and the white one the J-3300?

Performancewise the Jabiru 2200 will also clubber the O-200 but not by much. Power is similar yett the 2200 is 40 kg lighter. I think that J2200 is the better choice over. Both Jabiru's are significantly less expensif than the O-200 to buy.
 

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Dan Thomas

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Weight can be greatly reduced using light weight starters, alternators, mags and carburetors. A couple of Kitfox airplanes in my area use Franklins and they are designed for Rotax engines!
Now, tell me about lightweight carburetors and magnetos. I hadn't seen any of those up until I retired four years ago.
 

Mflyer

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What technology do you think the Franklins have?

BTW, about 20 years ago, the Franklin importer had an engine in a C150, and was working on an STC. It was higher HP, but also was considerably heavier. It is difficult to compare weights of engines unless they are actually weighed with the same accessories.


BJC
New technology manufacturing is now done using CNC machines to keep labor costs down.
 
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