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Lycoming Thunderbolt Engines

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:28 pm    Post subject: Lycoming Thunderbolt Engines Reply with quote

To All:

I am new to the Matronics email list and would like to introduce myself. My
name is Jon A. Delamarter. I hold an A&P license and a degree in aircraft
maintenance from Spartan School of Aeronautics (Tulsa, OK). I have been
married for more than my adult life (since 19) and have the world's most
wonderful wife and the 4 most beautiful and intelligent daughters that God
ever created. (My dog's pretty smart too.) I have about 50 hours of dual
in my logbook but have not soloed due to a disagreement between me and Uncle
Sam regarding my medical. As a certified airplane freak and airport bum, I
might just hold some sort of record for "Most Types Flown Before Solo." I
am particularly proud of the fact that I have T-6 aerobatic instruction on
the first page of my logbook! My professional aviation career began upon
graduation from Spartan on December 17, 1999. In the short 6 years since,
I have enjoyed an unbelievably rewarding life. With the blessings of loving
family support, an excellent education, and an absolute dedication to
excellence, I have experienced career satisfaction and growth that I could
not have imagined. If you love this business, it will be good to you! If
you don't love it, get out. If I have learned one thing thus far, it is
this: It's always about the people! I have no idea how many of you will
read this email, but I want you to know something. You aviation folks are
my family. I am proud and humbled to be part of you.

Having said all that, and at the risk of sounding crassly commercial, I'd
love to tell you folks about what I'm doing now. As of February 1st of this
year, it has been my privilege to serve as manager of Lycoming's brand-new
experimental hot-rod shop, Thunderbolt Engines. As you know, the absence of
Lycoming's direct participation in the past has not prevented the dominance
of our brand in the experimental market. We owe this not only to those
designers who build their aircraft around our engine, but also and perhaps
even more so, to the inherent reliability and simplicity of our engines.
The bottom line is that, although many of you are willing to experiment with
different aircraft designs and construction techniques, few have the desire
to step away from the known quantity of a Lycoming engine.

In recognition of this fact, Lycoming began a journey down a new road last
year with the introduction of the kit program. This program is responsible
for the influx of new experimental Lycoming based engines being sold by 6
shops across the country. With this move, Lycoming formally acknowledged
the credibility of the custom engine for the common man.

On April 5th of this year, at Sun-'n-Fun in Lakeland, FL, Lycoming made
public the next step in its journey by unveiling Thunderbolt Engines.
Thunderbolt Engines exists to provide homebuilders, race pilots, and
competition aerobatic pilots with a factory engineered, factory built,
factory supported, factory guaranteed custom engine. In the brief span of
time since the announcement, we have been pleased to learn that the first
reaction from most of our customers upon learning about Thunderbolt Engines
is shock followed immediately by excitement. The most common comments have
been something like, "I'm so glad you guys are finally doing this. I've
been waiting a long time and really didn't expect it to happen." After
recovering from their initial surprise, many builders have eagerly shared
their ideas and concepts for customizing our engines. There are a
significant number of builders who are willing to pay a fair price for a
factory experimental engine. This core group understands the importance of
supporting the customization process with proper and adequate engineering,
quality, assembly, and testing protocol. Thunderbolt Engines is housed in
the ATC (Advanced Technology Center) here at Lycoming. The ATC is still
under development and will eventually consist of four build cells, static
display areas, an aircraft integration laboratory, a customer/employee
training facility, and offices. Once completed, the ATC will be available
to you for tours and training. We are currently operational and are
delivering engines. The intent is to construct a state-of-the-art facility
that will demonstrate our commitment to CDTA, Customer Driven Technological
Advancement. In plain English, we are creating, through the ATC, a
knowledge pool. We encourage you to challenge us with your requests and
ideas. We are discovering that many of our customers know a lot about our
product. Through our involvement in the kit program, we have developed
relationships with individuals and companies that have successfully and
responsibly modified our engines for many years. Through our customer
satisfaction surveys, we are gaining accurate, real-time Voice of the
Customer (VOC) data. We have gained experience and customer exposure
through our support of Reno racing and competition aerobatics. In addition,
Lycoming has made significant additions to its engineering staff. These
folks come from various backgrounds and bring fresh perspective and skills
to the table. By leveraging the data gathered from all these resources,
(customers, kit shops, customer surveys, racing/aerobatics, engineering,
etc.), we are building the knowledge pool. This data not only accelerates
our development technically, it also allows us to focus on developing those
products that best fulfill the needs of the customer.

The development of a Thunderbolt engine begins and ends with the Voice of
the Customer. Many builders call us requesting pricing for a specific
engine. While we certainly provide that information, we also attempt to
glean as much information as possible regarding specific aircraft
application and desired performance. From that data, we are frequently able
to provide the builder with several options, some of which they may not have
known existed. Through this process, we accomplish two things. First, we
match the builder with a custom solution that best accomplishes their stated
goal. Secondly, and equally important, we demonstrate our commitment to the
customer's best interests, rather than pushing a particular product. Our
customers have expressed a great deal of satisfaction with this process and
have been quick to differentiate us from the competition in this regard.
Thunderbolt Engines are currently segregated into three series: Signature,
Extreme, and Competition. A Thunderbolt Signature Series Engine is
differentiated from a certified, production engine in several ways. Like
all Thunderbolt Engines, Signature Series engines are constructed in
dedicated build cells by two man teams. In addition to being team built,
Signature engines are internally balanced and will be configured to the
customer's exact specifications. Items that may be customized range from
major configuration changes such as crankcase or crankshaft to fuel systems,
ignition systems, sumps, induction components, and turbocharging. Customers
will also choose from appearance options such as engine color(s), chrome,
etc. Billet aluminum components such as the prototype rocker covers
displayed at Sun-'n-Fun are in development but not yet online.
Representative of this series would be the engine built last year for Mike
Melville, the world's first civilian astronaut. This engine was an
O-360-A4M configured for updraft cooling and incorporating an experimental
Ellison fuel system. Mike operates this engine in a Long-EZ. Thunderbolt
Signature Series engines will receive a 2-year warranty. This is a real
warranty with real value.

Thunderbolt Extreme Series engines incorporate all the features of the
Signature Series and continue to the next level in terms of performance
upgrades. These items may consist of mildly increased compression ratio or
boost levels, or other yet to be defined upgrades. Thunderbolt Extreme
Series engines will receive a reduced warranty, due to the expected types of
operational dynamics.

Thunderbolt Competition Series engines incorporate all the features of the
Signature and Extreme Series and continue to the maximum level of
performance. These upgrades may consist of dramatically increased
compression ratio or boost levels, water injection, and/or other yet to be
defined upgrades. Representative of this group would be the engines built
for Jon Sharp's Nemesis NXT and Mike Jones' Glasair III. Also
representative of this group would be the engine we just shipped to Extra
for the new Mike Goulian airplane. This engine is an AEIO-580-L1B5 with
very special cylinders, pistons, and sparkplugs. Once fully broken in, we
are expecting 340-350 hp (at) 2700 RPM and 11:1 compression. Walter Extra
reports unbelievable climb from an extremely smooth-running engine.
Competition Series engines will be limited to highly experienced pilots and
will require a signed agreement from the customer limiting his right to sell
or change ownership of the engine. Any such change would require Lycoming's
approval. The purpose of this constraint is to prevent the sale of a 340hp
AEIO-580 to a 40hr. Cessna driver! These engines are all out performance
machines, have no representation of reliability, and carry no warranty.

Okay, enough for the blurb. Let's get down to brass tacks. At not quite 32
years of age, I am smart enough to know that I'm still wet behind the ears!
I do not pretend to know everything there is to know about aircraft engines.
However, I absolutely believe in Lycoming Engines and stand ready to support
you in any way possible. I am here to serve as the conduit between you, the
builder, and the full support of Lycoming's able staff of engineers,
technicians, and support personnel. I want you to know that I share your
enthusiasm for our sport and that I hope for the opportunity to speak to
each of you. I will be at Arlington, Oshkosh, and Reno. Please drop by or
contact me with your questions and ideas. I will make every attempt to
answer your inquiry personally and in a timely fashion.


Jon A. Delamarter
Thunderbolt Manager
Lycoming Engines

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