Introduction to Aircraft Internal Combustion Engines

The internal combustion (IC) engine is the powerplant used on almost all light general aviation aircraft today. Electrical aircraft motors promise a new and cleaner aviation future but are still a way off, powering prototypes but, have not yet entered mainstream adoption. We will therefore focus on the internal combustion engine in this series discussing light aircraft propulsion.
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The Four Stroke Engine Cycle

Most internal combustion engines work on one of two principles of operation: a two-stroke cycle or a four-stroke cycle. Four-stroke engines are the predominant type seen in general aviation and form the topic of this post.
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Aircraft Engine and Propeller Sizing


Welcome to Part 10, the final installment in the Fundamentals of Aircraft Design series. In Part 9 we completed a preliminary drag estimation of a new light sport aircraft design. In this tutorial we build on from the drag estimation, and specify an engine and propeller combination in order to determine the variation in thrust with airspeed. By superimposing this thrust curve onto the drag graph, we can calculate the aircraft’s theoretical maximum speed, or speed at various engine power settings. Let’s get started!

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