Superior Air Parts and Christiansen Aviation have agreed to develop a supplemental type certificate (STC) to install Superior’s 180-hp Vantage engine on later-model Cessna 172R and -S models. A Skyhawk SV equipped with a mockup of the Vantage is on display at the Superior Air Parts AirVenture booth (No. 257).
The Vantage is an FAA-certified, 361-cu-in, 180-hp, four-cylinder, air-cooled piston engine designed to run on 100LL avgas or 91-octane unleaded auto gas (without ethanol). While the Vantage isn’t a “clone” of Lycoming’s popular 360 series engine, according to Superior, the company has long specialized in manufacturing FAA-approved PMA (parts manufacturer approval) parts that replace many Lycoming parts. Many of the parts in the Vantage Engine, however, are unique to that engine.
The Vantage is currently forward-fit on new American Champion Aircraft High Country Explorers and on CubCrafters Carbon Cubs. The advantage of installing a Vantage engine on the Skyhawks, in addition to improvements in the engine itself, is the price. A new Vantage engine with the Skyhawk STC is expected to cost $25,000, including a two-year warranty (or to TBO, whichever comes first). According to Superior, this is roughly the cost to overhaul the Lycoming that powers the 172R and -S models. The Vantage recommended TBO is currently 1,500 hours, but Superior is working on an extension to 2,000 hours.
Superior, which is owned by Superior Aviation Beijing, builds the Vantage engines at its plant in Coppell, Texas. The company points to many differences between the Vantage engine and Lycoming’s 360 series. These include Superior’s Millennium cast cylinders with volumetrically matched intake and exhaust ports, through-hardened steel barrels and increased port wall thickness; crankcase with direct lubrication to the thrust face, balanced oil system that lubricates both sides of the crankshaft and camshaft and reinforced cylinder deck; crankshaft balanced to 0.25 ounce-inches and made using the electro slag remelt process instead of vacuum arc remelt and polished and coated oil journals; high-flow oil sump with smoother intake manifold and plenum with balanced intake tubes; computer-optimized camshafts; statically and dynamically balanced connecting rods and precision machining of all rod surfaces, plus tongue-and-groove design to reduce shear loads; tri-metal bearings instead of conventional aluminum; billet-machined oil filler tube (instead of plastic), vacuum-pump drive, oil filter adapter and prop governor drive.