Cover Story: Recip Technology: An Alternative

Reciprocating engine technology as an alternative to similar horsepower rated turbine aircraft engines

TRACE provided AMT with comparison data between the TRACE and the similar horsepower rated Pratt & Whitney PT6A-34, -135A, and the Walter M601 turbine engines. The TRACE engine has significantly lower overhaul costs, fuel usage, and hourly operating costs. AMT also reviewed TCDS E4EA for several models of the Pratt & Whitney PT6 Series turbine engine which lists engine weights with standard accessories of approximately 350 to 400 pounds for ratings of 580 to 715 shaft horsepower.

An equal comparison is difficult because of the differences in engines, applications, and accessory differences. The weight of the TRACE is higher than a similar horsepower rated turbine engine, but TRACE feels the added weight is offset by significantly less fuel consumption.

So is there a future for this type of aircraft engine as an alternative to a similar horsepower turbine or for that matter a radial engine? There are many details that must be researched by potential owners and operators when comparing alternative engines for your aircraft. You will have to decide for yourself the benefits and sacrifices. However, it’s always encouraging to see companies willing to explore technology alternatives with the promise of providing the industry with acceptable choices.

Information for this article was provided by Texas Reciprocating Air Craft Engines of Midland, TX, and Yorkton Aircraft Service Ltd. of Canada. For more information about the TRACE engine alternatives you can visit: and

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