Yamaha is dipping a tentative toe into the aviation engine market in a partnership with a Japanese manufacturer. The recreational and industrial vehicle giant will modify one of its existing small engine designs to fit a RANS S-6 to be adapted by ShinMaywa Industries. “Under this agreement, Yamaha Motor will explore avenues for adapting its small-engine technologies to the aviation industry,” the companies said in a joint news release. “ShinMaywa will adapt its aircraft engineering technologies and expertise—garnered through the development of flying boats and various other aircraft—to designing concepts, constructing prototypes, conducting tests, verify autonomous technology and more for small aircraft.”
The companies released no details on the engine or the airframe but images show what appears to be a two-cylinder vertically configured liquid-cooled engine that might be a variation of a new motorcycle engine the company released in 2018. It’s called the CP2, a 700-cc mill that puts out about 70 horsepower. The aircraft has an ultralight look to it with a fabric-covered airframe and two-place cabin. Neither company is making predictions on whether the aircraft will make it to market. “Both companies will use this joint research endeavor to explore possibilities for the commercialization of next-generation small aircraft, and take into consideration the direction and future of the project based on market interest and other factors,” the news release said.
An earlier version of this story stated that ShinMaywa was building a prototype aircraft for the engine. In fact, ShinMaywa is adapting a RANS S-6 for the proof-of-concept aircraft.