Non- Biased Engine Reviews -Viking

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Rhino

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Yes, prospective buyers should go there. It is clear that John Austin has his hands full, especially as Zenith has an interest in maintaining good relationships with various engine suppliers. See how Jan and Allissa barge into the threads started by Aeromomentum builders on the Aeromomentum portion of the forum in order to insert marketing for Viking. Shameful.
The leopard does not change his spots.
Jan's personal interactions with people have been the only true, supported issue I've found with him. His interpersonal skills aren't the greatest, and he can certainly rub people the wrong way sometimes. Alissa seems to have much better people skills, and most of my interaction with them has been through her. I can't really hold this against him greatly, because I can sometimes rub people the wrong way too :fear:. But I'm not buying Jan. I'm buying an engine. Certainly dealing with him to some extent necessarily comes with buying his engine, but my focus is fixed far more on the engine itself. His customers generally love them. There have been some bad experiences, but I find that true for any engine out there. That pretty much goes for any product in any industry. The sum total customer satisfaction is my primary focus, and it's very good, at least among his Zenith customers. I have no issues dealing with Jan since I kind of understand where he's coming from. Yes, he has had some dealings like those mentioned on the Zenith forum, and his behavior there was definitely disappointing. But it apparently hasn't affected the quality or reliability of his current engines, and that's what really matters. I just wish the 130 was a little lighter. I was settled on the Jabiru 3300 for a long time before finding Viking. I'm still on the fence at this point, but in the end analysis, having more than one good choice is actually a good thing.
 

Wanttaja

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Rumor has it that he has more engines installed with Zenith than any other brand.
Well, we can do some digging in the FAA registry and the NTSB accident reports,

The following data is from the January 2021 FAA registry, coupled with my own homebuilt accident database from 1998-2018.

"Engine Type" is the engine type as noted in the FAA registry.
"Registry" is the number of Zenith aircraft that have more than five examples of that type of engine listed in the registry. This includes both aircraft with confirmed Experimental Amateur-Built certification, in addition to aircraft where the certification is not listed. Aircraft certified as Special or Experimental Light Sport are not included.
"Accidents" is the number of accidents occurring to that aircraft from 1998-2018.
Engine Type
Registry​
Accidents​
AMA/EXPR
175​
0​
Cont Motor
142​
26​
Corvair
27​
10​
FRANKLIN
6​
2​
HONDA
8​
1​
JABIRU
177​
29​
Lycoming
123​
18​
ROTAX
240​
62​
SUBARU
28​
11​
ULPOWER
45​
7​
Viking
44​
6​
Unk
260​
4​
As one can see from this table, the number *confirmed* installations of Viking engines in Zenith aircraft runs about sixth. In addition, though, there are a number of "Honda" engine cases where the model is listed as a Viking. Hence, additional cases where the engine make is "Honda," which of course could be a Viking. Five of the eight do have the model listed as "Viking." So the initial assumption is that Viking's known installation base is about fifty, which is still significantly below the examples of Continentals, Lycomings, Jabirus, or Rotaxes.

Of course, the FAA registry does not always list engine specifics. Many are listed as having an "AMAT/EXP" engine. In addition, many don't list an engine type at all...just a blank. We don't know the engine make/model installed in about a third of the Zenith fleet.

Some of those engines are undoubtedly Vikings...but some are undoubtedly Continentals, Lycomings, Corvairs, Subarus, or the whole gamut of potential engines. We don't know...but considering the much higher *known* installation rates for some of these engines, it's hard to believe that the Viking would have a major portion of these installations.

This gets us to the third column... the number of accidents in a ~21-year period. Viking engines are relatively new, hence the low number of cases shown. However, the number of accidents should in proportion to the *known* installation base. Ignoring the poor safety record of auto engines in aircraft, we would expect the ratio of accidents in aircraft carrying a given engine to the number of those engines that are installed should be about the same. Most accidents are pilot error, and the engine type isn't a factor (in the way I define Pilot Error).

So...when we look at Continental-powered Zeniths, we see that the number of accidents over 21 years was about 18% of the 2021 fleet size*. We would expect other engine types to have roughly the same ratio. Lycoming is 15%. Viking's is about 12% (When the known "Honda" examples are included). This may reflect reliability better than the run-of-the-mill auto engine...but, remember, we expect about 50% of all accidents to be due to pilot error.

The lower percentage here is probably more reflective of lower number of installations, rather than greater.

Ron Wanttaja

* This is a metric used for comparisons only
 

Rhino

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Weird how you can come full circle. I started out years ago with the intention of putting a Jabiru in my 750. Then the Viking came out at about half the price, and the customers loved it, so I changed my mind and decided to go with Viking. Then the stuff about Aeromomentum started being discussed here, and I went back on the fence. Looking at all the specs again, I may very well end up going with my first choice, the Jabiru. I didn't really want to spend that much, but it just fits for me in several ways, not the least of which is that's it's also much lighter than the Viking, and it's sold and supported less than 30 minutes away from my house.
 
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narfi

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Well, we can do some digging......
I suspect the quote you used was referring to Zenith builders as Viking's top customer base, not Viking as Zeniths builders most used engine..... I could be wrong though.
 

BJC

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Well, we can do some digging in the FAA registry and the NTSB accident reports,
I know of two forced landings with two new Egg Subes in a Sportsman. The first after 3 hours, then the replacement (another new engine) within about 20 - 30 hours. The retired professional pilot was wise enough to be within gliding distance of a runway, so other than needing to replace the engines, there was no airframe damage. That plane has been flying happily ever since with a Lycoming IO-360.

Point is, there is lots of relevant experience that is not in the FAA database.


BJC
 

rv7charlie

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Rhino,

Completely unrelated to vendor ethics, reliability questions, etc...
If you're building a supposed STOL a/c, have you factored into your decision making the issue of prop diameter & low speed mass flow? With fixed pitch props, it's an issue for any a/c in the sub-200mph speed range, but even more critical for relatively low power, STOL/semi-STOL, sub 100mph a/c. Engine rpm @ rated power can limit max prop diameter (and low speed mass flow) due to tip speed limits, while the airframe's available prop ground clearance limits diameter due to physical limits. Bigger is better, within the limits of ground clearance.

Apologies if you've already factored those issues into your decision making.
 

rv7charlie

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BJC makes an important point. *Many* incidents/accidents never make it into the FAA database. I have personal experience with at least four 'issues'; only one made it into the FAA's records as an 'incident', and that was only because it happened at an FAA safety event being run by a 'new hire' who was afraid to not report it.
 

Wanttaja

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I suspect the quote you used was referring to Zenith builders as Viking's top customer base, not Viking as Zeniths builders most used engine..... I could be wrong though.
Could be. Out of ~120 aircraft with Viking engines in the FAA registry (including both EAB and Light Sport), almost half are Zeniths.

Ron Wanttaja
 

Wanttaja

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BJC makes an important point. *Many* incidents/accidents never make it into the FAA database. I have personal experience with at least four 'issues'; only one made it into the FAA's records as an 'incident', and that was only because it happened at an FAA safety event being run by a 'new hire' who was afraid to not report it.
Yes, that's perfectly true. Engine failure, per se, is not required to be reported unless injury or major damage occurs. Larger/heavier aircraft are more likely to meet this threshold, so engine failures in smaller planes may not get in the database.

There are really too few Viking accidents in my database (10) to make a definitive statement. The existing accidents are consistent with my overall results for auto-engine-related failures.

Ron Wanttaja
 

proppastie

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Friend told me of some interesting inspection requirements for one of Jan's reduction unit design.....not sure which unit.....but checking for metal at very low intervals does not inspire confidence.
 

Rhino

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Rhino,

Completely unrelated to vendor ethics, reliability questions, etc...
If you're building a supposed STOL a/c, have you factored into your decision making the issue of prop diameter & low speed mass flow? With fixed pitch props, it's an issue for any a/c in the sub-200mph speed range, but even more critical for relatively low power, STOL/semi-STOL, sub 100mph a/c. Engine rpm @ rated power can limit max prop diameter (and low speed mass flow) due to tip speed limits, while the airframe's available prop ground clearance limits diameter due to physical limits. Bigger is better, within the limits of ground clearance.

Apologies if you've already factored those issues into your decision making.
I'm mathematically challenged, so I gauge what has worked best for others, and go by that. I'm building a STOL aircraft, but I don't really care all that much about STOL performance. The Cruzer is more of the aircraft I was looking for, but it didn't exist yet when I bought my kit. But that's okay. I wasn't really looking for STOL, but it's still nice to have, such that it is. Anyway, my prop selection decisions are based on tried and true performance on a number of 750s.

After further research and deliberation, I'm think I'm going back to Jabiru. The Jabiru 3300 was everything I really wanted from the beginning, for several reasons. It's much lighter than the Viking, like the AM engine. It's six cylinders and runs smoother, so less oil canning in the rear fuselage. It's not an automotive conversion. And the coup de grace is that it's sold and serviced less than 30 minutes from my house. The Jabiru was expensive though, so I did some searching and that's how I settled on Viking. But after discussing the situation today with my financial manager (the wife), I think I'm going to go with Jabiru even if it does cost more. Surprisingly, she agreed it was the best choice, and that was worth paying for. God, I love her. She worked airplanes in the Air Force too. Now I just have to figure out if the 68" Whirlwind prop I bought for a Viking engine will work on the Jabiru. But I can deal with that too if I have to.
 

PagoBay

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After further research and deliberation, I'm think I'm going back to Jabiru. The Jabiru 3300 was everything I really wanted from the beginning, for several reasons.
You are choosing based on the right factors. Budget // Mission // Performance // Maintenance. Keep us posted on your build.
 

BoeveP51

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Yes, our own BoeveP51 reportedly had one of his Viking engines "blow up," maybe that is in the database.
Any Tailwind owners / pilots?
Yes Vigilant, I did have an engine malfunction. No, it was not reported as a failure. No need to. It was a partial failure, could not maintain max power so take-off was aborted. The failure was my fault and not the engine. Thus I can't pass the blame on to Viking. I will say that Viking stood by their engine and replaced it. I only payed the cost difference to upgrade to the 195T and I am very happy with that decision.
 

TarDevil

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It's good to hear first hand success stories about Viking. Perhaps Jan learned from his Subaru debacle. Still, I wouldn't spend money on a Viking with Aeromomentum available.
 

Vigilant1

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Deleted... Info provided in Oliver's attachment.
 
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