Engine Choices


A great deal has been written regarding V.W. Engines.  Cygnet was originally equipped with an 1825cc, very simple V.W. conversion with 69 mm stroke, 92mm bore, a Bendix Zenith carburetor and a single Slick magneto for ignition.  This engine gave faultless service for 360 hours and was removed to be replaced by a more modern conversion, equipped with dual ignition, starter and 20 amp alternator.

The original engine weighed 147 pounds and the HAPI 60-2DM conversion installed weighed 158 lbs.  The slight gain in weight is offset by a lot more convenience and the extra margin of safety that was provided by the dual ignition.

The Cygnet design requires a light engine and cannot tolerate the weight of a heavy aircraft engine.  A 65 HP Continental weighs 35 pounds more than the completely equipped VW Engine, and that’s without starter and alternator.

The V.W. engine has a lot of service experience.  Many production light aircraft and powered sailplanes in Europe are powered by V.W.’s when high quality parts are used, assembled by qualified mechanics, operated within prescribed temperature limits and cruised at the recommended power settings, the V.W. will run for hundreds of hour’s trouble free!

Some backyard mechanics have built engines from junkyard parts, assembling them poorly, run them too hot, or low on oil, or whatever the case…….and have had poor service from them.  The same holds true of certified engines.  If a V.W. is built to aircraft standards all the way……..it will give service equal to the best “certified” engine.

We recommend that you obtain a copy of the book “How to Build A Reliable V.W. Aero Engine”, by Rex Taylor and sold by “Viking Aircraft LLC.” and please study it carefully.  It details exactly how to build a V.W. Aero Engine in clear understandable text with “step by step” pictures. You can email: viking02@charter.net for more information on how to get a copy of this book!

You can build your own V.W. engine conversion and save hundreds of dollars but you will spend many hours on the engine that you could spend on building your Cygnet by purchasing a factory built and guaranteed VW engine.

A final word about “BIG” V.W. Engine conversions.  The prototype Cygnet has always been powered by an 1835 cc V.W. and does not need more power. There is a myth that a BIGGER V.W. Engine produces more power by virtue of a long stroke crankshaft that has been developed by the “hot-rodder’s for use in a V.W block.

If a V.W. engine could produce more power and retain its reliability by simply increasing the stroke length, doesn’t it seem reasonable that V.W. would have stumbled onto that in the 40 plus years of development? Reliable power that can be delivered hour after hour continuously is what an aircraft must have!

The “hotrod” tricks that do work in the big high RPM V.W.’s built for automotive racing simply don’t work in aircraft.  A “V.W.” Engine in aircraft service is relatively slow turning and much more similar to a tractor engine than a race car engine.  Stick with conversions that are proven in aircraft.   Don’t be mis-lead by someone who has no aircraft experience into believing you can get lots of horsepower out of these small engines at low RPM.

If you want reliability, leave the engine as V.W. designed it.  Whether you buy an engine ready to install or build your own, you can have aircraft reliability at a fraction of the cost by using V.W. power!

For information on how to purchase an already built V.W. engine please contact:

Great Plains Aircraft Supply Co., Inc.
7011 N 160th Ave. * Bennington, NE 68007
Tel 402 493 6507 * Fax 402 493 3846
or infogpasc@yahoo.com 

Hummel Engines
5464 E. Storey Road
Coolidge, Arizona 85128
Phone: 520-723-5283
Web address:  www.hummelengines.com


A new engine choice for the Cygnet is the Jabiru aircraft engine built in Australia. It’s horsepower and installed weight fall within the limits for use on the Cygnet. The cost will be more than a VW conversion, but it can be considered as an alternative power plant choice for the Cygnet.