The Most Reliable Piston-aircraft Engine: A Ranking of Dependability

Choose the piston-aircraft engine you think is the most reliable!

Author: Gregor Krambs
Updated on Apr 20, 2024 07:50
Welcome to StrawPoll, where your opinion takes flight! We are excited to present our latest ranking: "What is the most reliable piston-aircraft engine?" As an aviation enthusiast or a curious knowledge-seeker, join thousands of others in casting your vote to help us crown the ultimate engine that powers the skies. From the classic Continental to the powerful Lycoming, we have gathered the best of the best to fuel your passion for flight. But the sky's the limit! If you feel we've missed an exceptional engine, don't hesitate to suggest it and watch it soar up the ranks. So, fasten your seatbelts and prepare for takeoff as you embark on this high-flying journey to discover the most reliable piston-aircraft engine. Cast your vote now and watch the engines battle it out for the top spot!

What Is the Most Reliable Piston-aircraft Engine?

  1. 1
    90
    votes

    Lycoming IO-360

    Lycoming Engines
    This engine is widely used in general aviation aircraft and has a reputation for reliability and durability.
    The Lycoming IO-360 is a four-cylinder, fuel-injected, air-cooled, horizontally-opposed aircraft engine. It is widely regarded as one of the most reliable piston-aircraft engines available in the aviation industry.
    • Engine Type: Horizontally-opposed, air-cooled
    • Configuration: Four-cylinder
    • Fuel System: Fuel-injected
    • Displacement: 361 cubic inches (5.9 liters)
    • Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
  2. 2
    35
    votes

    Continental IO-520

    Continental Motors
    This engine is known for its power and reliability, and is commonly used in larger general aviation aircraft.
    The Continental IO-520 is a four-stroke, six-cylinder, horizontally opposed aircraft engine. It belongs to the IO-520 series of engines developed by Continental Motors, an American engine manufacturer founded in 1905.
    • Type: Four-stroke, horizontally opposed, air-cooled
    • Number of Cylinders: Six
    • Displacement: 520 cubic inches (8.5 liters)
    • Compression Ratio: 7.5:1
    • Maximum Continuous Power: 285 horsepower at 2,600 RPM
  3. 3
    24
    votes

    Pratt & Whitney R-985

    Pratt & Whitney
    This radial engine is commonly used in vintage aircraft and has a reputation for longevity and reliability.
    The Pratt & Whitney R-985 is a reliable piston-aircraft engine widely used in various applications. It has a proven track record of performance and durability.
    • Engine Type: Radial
    • Displacement: 985 cubic inches (16.1 L)
    • Cylinders: 9
    • Compression Ratio: 6.7:1
    • Horsepower: 450-525 hp
  4. 4
    19
    votes

    Continental O-200

    Continental Motors
    This engine is commonly used in light sport and training aircraft and is known for its reliability and ease of maintenance.
    The Continental O-200 is a four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed aircraft engine designed specifically for light and general aviation applications. It is one of the most reliable and widely used piston aircraft engines in the industry.
    • Type: Four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed
    • Displacement: 201 cubic inches (3.3 liters)
    • Power Output: 100 horsepower at 2750 RPM
    • Compression Ratio: 8.5:1
    • Fuel Type: Aviation gasoline (100LL)
  5. 5
    18
    votes
    Lycoming O-320
    Ahunt at English Wikipedia · Public domain

    Lycoming O-320

    Lycoming Engines
    This engine is commonly used in general aviation aircraft and is known for its reliability and durability.
    The Lycoming O-320 is a four-cylinder, direct-drive, horizontally-opposed aircraft engine commonly used in small general aviation aircraft. It is a reliable and proven piston-engine, widely known for its durability and performance.
    • Type: Four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, air-cooled piston engine
    • Displacement: 320 cubic inches (5.24 liters)
    • Power Output: 150-160 horsepower
    • Compression Ratio: 7.0:1
    • Bore and Stroke: 5.125 inches (130.2 mm) x 4.375 inches (111.1 mm)
  6. 6
    10
    votes
    Continental IO-360
    Nimbus227 · Public domain

    Continental IO-360

    Continental Motors
    This engine is commonly used in general aviation aircraft and is known for its reliability and power.
    The Continental IO-360 is a four-cylinder, air-cooled, horizontally-opposed aircraft piston engine. It is widely recognized as one of the most reliable and popular engines in general aviation. The engine was developed by Continental Motors, an American company specializing in the design and production of aircraft engines.
    • Type: Four-cylinder, horizontally-opposed piston engine
    • Displacement: 360 cubic inches (5.9 liters)
    • Horsepower: 180 to 225 hp
    • Cooling: Air-cooled
    • Fuel type: Avgas (aviation gasoline)
  7. 7
    10
    votes

    Pratt & Whitney PT6

    Pratt & Whitney
    This turboprop engine is used in a variety of aircraft and is known for its reliability and efficiency.
    The Pratt & Whitney PT6 is a turboprop aircraft engine known for its reliability and versatility. It is widely regarded as one of the most reliable piston-aircraft engines in the world.
    • Type: Turboprop engine
    • First Produced: 1963
    • Applications: Wide range of aircraft including commercial and military turboprops
    • Max Power Output: 980 to 2,000 shaft horsepower
    • Weight: Approximately 400 to 600 lbs
  8. 8
    9
    votes

    Rotax 912

    Rotax
    This engine is commonly used in light sport and ultralight aircraft and is known for its reliability and fuel efficiency.
    The Rotax 912 is a four-cylinder, four-stroke aircraft engine widely used in light sport aircraft and ultralights. It is renowned for its reliability, fuel efficiency, and low maintenance requirements. The engine is air-cooled, with liquid-cooled cylinder heads for improved heat dissipation. It is designed to operate on both aviation gasoline (AVGAS) and automotive gasoline (MOGAS).
    • Type: Four-cylinder, four-stroke
    • Displacement: 1,352 cc
    • Power Output: 80 hp
    • Weight: 60 kg
    • Fuel Consumption: approximately 13 liters/hour at cruise speed
  9. 9
    7
    votes

    Lycoming IO-540

    Lycoming Engines
    This engine is commonly used in larger general aviation aircraft and is known for its power and reliability.
    The Lycoming IO-540 is a six-cylinder, fuel-injected piston aircraft engine known for its dependability and performance. It is widely used in general aviation aircraft and has established a reputation as one of the most reliable engines in its class.
    • Type: Piston aircraft engine
    • Number of cylinders: 6
    • Configuration: Horizontally opposed
    • Displacement: 541.5 cubic inches (8.9 liters)
    • Power output: 300-350 horsepower
  10. 10
    7
    votes

    Continental TSIO-520

    Continental Motors, Inc.
    This engine is commonly used in twin-engine general aviation aircraft and is known for its reliability and durability.
    The Continental TSIO-520 is a powerful and reliable six-cylinder, horizontally-opposed, turbocharged, fuel-injected piston aircraft engine. It is commonly used in a wide range of high-performance general aviation and light aircraft.
    • Type: Piston aircraft engine
    • Configuration: Horizontally-opposed, inline 6-cylinder
    • Turbocharged: Yes
    • Fuel Injection: Yes
    • Displacement: 520 cubic inches (8.5 L)

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Ranking factors for reliable piston-aircraft engine

  1. Durability
    The engine should be built to last and withstand the rigors of long flight hours and tough weather conditions.
  2. Maintenance requirements
    The engine should be designed for easy maintenance and should not require too much downtime for servicing.
  3. Fuel efficiency
    The engine should be efficient in its use of fuel and not require excessive fuel for long flights.
  4. Power-to-weight ratio
    The engine should produce enough power to allow for safe and efficient takeoffs and landings, while not being too heavy to weigh down the aircraft.
  5. Customer support
    The manufacturer should provide reliable customer support in the form of technical support and readily available spare parts.
  6. Safety
    The engine should be built with safety features that prevent catastrophic failures during flight.

About this ranking

This is a community-based ranking of the most reliable piston-aircraft engine. We do our best to provide fair voting, but it is not intended to be exhaustive. So if you notice something or engine is missing, feel free to help improve the ranking!

Statistics

  • 2401 views
  • 225 votes
  • 10 ranked items

Voting Rules

A participant may cast an up or down vote for each engine once every 24 hours. The rank of each engine is then calculated from the weighted sum of all up and down votes.

More information on most reliable piston-aircraft engine

Piston aircraft engines have been the backbone of aviation for decades. They have powered countless planes and have proven to be reliable and efficient. However, not all piston engines are created equal. When it comes to reliability, there are a few standout brands that have become synonymous with quality. These include Lycoming, Continental, and Pratt & Whitney. These engines are known for their strength, durability, and ability to perform under pressure. Of course, there are many factors that can affect the reliability of an aircraft engine, including maintenance, usage, and environmental conditions. But when it comes to choosing a piston aircraft engine, it's important to consider the reputation of the manufacturer and the track record of the engine itself. Ultimately, the most reliable piston aircraft engine is one that you can trust to power your plane safely and efficiently.

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