If you wander by the Rotax display at AirVenture, you might notice a Van’s RV-9A with an impressive nose job. Under the extended fiberglass is a turbocharged Rotax 915 in place of the usual four-cylinder Lycoming, a modification program run by Lockwood Aviation in Florida. Lockwood is, of course, intimately familiar with the 900-series Rotax engines. The airframe was a factory-built ship provided to Lockwood for the project.
The turbo engine makes 141 hp for takeoff, which it can maintain up to 18,000 feet. In the Lockwood project, the engine is placed well ahead of where the Lycoming would be to counter the Rotax’s considerably lower weight.
We’ve had time to debrief with Phil Lockwood in Florida prior to the show but we’re ready to head back to Sebring as soon as Lockwood has completed its flight-test program. As you’d expect, the high-altitude performance could be impressive; Lockwood thinks 187 knots true is possible at the engine’s critical altitude.
We’ll try to get additional details from Lockwood after the show opens and will be touching down at the Sebring airport as soon as we have the opportunity to fly this project.