- Jun 7, 2020
The solutions won't get any easier or cheaper if we kick the can down the road, either. Part of the solution to any improvement in GA aircraft is reducing the cost of production, including certification. Volume makes a huge difference, as you point out. But we're certainly not going to get more volume by saying no to emerging technologies that could have a dramatic positive impact on the cost of everything associated with flying: fuel cost, maintenance cost, training cost, acquisition cost, can conceivably all be reduced by future advances. The way to get more people looking to buy new tings isn't to keep offering things that are developmental dead ends, with a useful life measured in decades. It's the same situation in sailboats, where you can have a fully functional craft that was built decades ago, that only needs repair or replacement of components that wear out.Lycoming built the ie2 engine. EFI and EI, the works. It's way too expensive, since certification costs are expensive. Testing takes time and costs money. And without that testing, no one can be sure that the new engine will be any more reliable than the old. Ease of starting is a minor issue compared to reliability.
Carmakers spread their R&D costs out over many millions of vehicles. Airframe and aircraft engine manufacturers spread their R&D out over a few dozen airplanes. The math is really inconvenient. When cars quit they coast to the side of the road. When an airplane quits someone gets hurt or dead. Insurance companies are nervous about new stuff, and that's not convenient either.
The solutions are not simple. Or cheap. If they were we wouldn't be having this discussion.
I wonder what the statistics are on engine out landings. Are we sure that when the airplane quits, someone always gets hurt of dead? If that's the case, instructors should ignore training for engine out scenarios, since you're just a goner if the engine quits.