These days, most large airplanes have started using turboprops and jet propulsion systems. But the reality is that a radial engine may be a much better option for those who own smaller airplanes or fleets. Understanding why can help you understand why that radial engine – though an old model – could still be the best call for your plane.
The radial engine started its life decades ago and was the most common option before turbine engines were introduced. They’ve been found on everything from crop dusting planes to bombers and continue to be used to this day.
Here are just some of the numerous benefits that radial engines offer, all of which are good reasons you might want to consider one for your aircraft.
• Easier Maintenance – The overall design of the radial engine makes it much easier for maintenance workers to access and provide routine maintenance work on the engine. In other words, keeping it running at its best is easier.
• Tougher – The simpler design makes radial engines usually less vulnerable to damage. While this was a much bigger deal when the engines were used in combat, knowing that an engine can stand up better than another option is still a good reason to consider it.
• Smoother Operation – In most cases, a smooth operation is easier to get with a radial engine than other options like inline engines cooled with liquid. Smooth performance matters and the radial engine is generally a better call where performance is concerned.
• Reliability – Simply put, the radial engine is generally much more reliable. This is because it features a shorter crankshaft, a simpler design, and creates less vibration. That less vibration means that it will suffer from greatly reduced levels of wear and tear during use.
• Versatility – Radial engines can be attached to a wide range of aircraft and are among the most widely used and versatile options on the market today.
• Overall Cost – Almost everything about the radial engine is a bit less expensive, including purchasing, repair, maintenance, and operating costs. A cheaper option is usually welcome in a field that is already very expensive to work in.
These are just a few reasons radial engines are often the best call for an airplane. Whether you’re deciding if you should replace your existing one, buy a new one for a different aircraft, or just try to figure out all of your options, remembering the points above could help you determine whether or not the radial engine is right for you.