Kawasaki, Kawasaki 440 engine, Kawasaki 440 aircraft engine.

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Comparing the 440 Kawasaki engine to the 447 Rotax.

KAWASAKI Issues - how much power does the Kawasaki 440 have compared to the Rotax 447?

The Kawasaki 440A is a wonderfully smooth engine that is quieter mechanically, lighter by 7 lbs. than the ROTAX 447 and generally speaking less expensive than the ROTAX. As a benchmark, when it was all set up ready to mount on the HoneyBee Gyro with carb, exhaust, redrive, etc., it cost us $1750, not $495 as advertised by J'Bird. There was a lot to complete the package.

The problem we ran into however was not whether it produced a similar power package to the 447 but rather did it produce enough thrust to fly an ultralight gyro. A gyro is the second most inefficient aircraft in existence behind a helicopter. After much ground testing it just would not fly the HoneyBee Gyro. This significant problem caused us to set up a test to measure the straight line thrust test against Dr. Taggart's Gyrobee using a 447. Here are the results:

1. In the first test, the Kawasaki produced 130#'s of thrust. The best we ever did in subsequent testing produced only 190#'s of thrust on a hard surface. Quite frankly, that is why we could just not fly with the Kawasaki 440A. It might have been different with a 440B.

2. In the first test, Dr. Taggart's ROTAX 447, with a 60" IVO Prop, produced 230 #'s of thrust. with an engine that was approx. 8 - 9 years old. This test was performed in grass and would have been around 250+#'s of thrust on a hard surface.

In a matter of about an hour we began to understand why the Kawasaki could only get us into ground effect. This test set the stage for the "minimum thrust requirements" within Part 103.

We immediately contacted Stewart "Prop God" Gort of POWERFIN. Based on his experience and recommendation, he told that if we could engineer a structure that would accept a 66" Two Blade prop the thrust problem would be taken care of. That is exactly what we did. The rest is history. This one change makes the power package produce 283#'s of thrust and make the HoneyBee Gyro fly like an angel.

I understand the attraction to the Kawasaki which has a good reputation in the fixed wing side. Being your own R & D department is expensive, frustrating and sometimes dangerous. As a "friend in the business" I would not recommend pursuing this direction. One missed or botched departure/approach/power fade/etc. will cause significant damage to the craft you have worked so hard on and may cost you your life. Honestly, from one test pilot to another, your life is not worth risking for the few "real" benefits that a Kawasaki 440 provides.

Kawasaki 440 with reduction drive and exhaust.

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