Unusual Duty Cycle?


Well-Known Member
Apr 7, 2020
Most of me is in IL but my hearts in Alaska
It seems to be that Aircraft engines are expected to operate at 100% duty cycle from the takeoff till six hours later they enter the pattern .
The duty cycle of automotive engines seems to be expected to be around 20% and flopping all over the place.
The duty cycle of the flight school seems to be pretty much pattern work Meaning 100% of full power to takeoff and get the pattern altitude then some tiny percent power until the touch and then a minute Of full power.
Rinse repeat etc.
A lot of flyers seem to have a sightseeing duty cycle of full power then loiter then full power to another spot and loiter then rinse and repeat.
Ironically enough it’s on those long cross-country’s that I need full power. Let’s face it on long trips we get bored and wanna get done with it.
And for the short One hour trips I’m showing some friend what it’s like to fly I’m not in any hurry.
Seems like we have the duty cycle exactly opposite of what automotive engines actually need most of the time !
Instead of doing hero level mechanical changes to the engine would we be better off just to change the duty cycle?
Simply rate our automotive conversions at one minute maximum power and reduce the cruise level power to 50 or 25%?
Or is there’s some other magic number out there?
Could we reduce Expense and complexity by 90% by reducing power rating by 10 or 17 or 28%?