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OK. I guess it is time for this "Engine Beat" columnist to come out of the closet/dyno room and let you know what bugs him the most. I love innovations that increase reliability and economy at an affordable price, but I am weary of promoters approaching the magazine with what they claim is a brand-new Silver Bullet product that is too often just a rehash of some auto engine dressed up for aircraft.
I'll be the first to acknowledge that piston engine development has gone just about as far as it can go without getting into plastic or ceramic engine parts, and Detroit has backed off of this research at this time. Because there is a finite amount of power that can be extracted from a gallon of gasoline, we can avoid being fooled by vendors who claim great horsepower but have used no scientific means to achieve it. I interviewed one engine builder who claimed a 20% increase in power due to his bolton parts without, in his words, "hopping up the engine." When the engine was tested in an airplane, the increase was more like 5%, and he had to do a hop-up to make it come close to his original claims.
We are taking this tack this month because I am often approached by builders who ask me about some new miracle engine that is supposed to have an unbelievable power-to-weight ratio, runs on half …