Initial operating impressions of the new Evolution 26GT engine
The introduction of the Evolution 26GT gas engine with electronic ignition has given may people a chance to jump on the gasoline engine bandwagon with a no nonsense, easy to use power plant that is familiar in configuration to common glow model airplane engines. As many people are finding, this is one fun engine to use and provides surprising power.
A person’s initial impression when opening the box is that the engine is very attractive and exhibits quality construction that we have come to expect from European products. There are also other features that will benefit you, beginning with the first installation you make:
· Easy mounting provided by conventional beam mounts.
· Easy muffler attachment using two screws to attach to the engine’s exhaust port.
· The Walbro carb has become common on most gas engines and has proven to be very user-friendly.
· The new electronic ignition with rpm readout for your optical tach (Also gives max rpm reached during the just- finished flight!)
Initial break-in per the manual can be accomplished at the flying field, using your flight prop and a fuel mixture of 33 to 1 gas/oil mixture. There is definitely an rpm improvement as the engine gets some running time. But from the very beginning, you will find that this is a very easy gas engine to operate. Usually the first start up can be accomplished by making sure that fuel is in the fuel line and up to the carb. Then put the choke to the on position, turn the ignition on and flip the prop. The engine will fire after a few flips and then quit. Move the choke to the running position and again flip the prop. The engine will start and you can set your transmitter low speed trim to achieve the idle speed you want. After a few seconds to warm up, you can move the throttle stick up to check needle settings. If changes are needed, shut the engine off before making any change. Many times you will find the restart to be on the first flip; this is always a satisfying experience.
We have tried a few different props of various diameter and pitch but the best performance seems to come from something in the 18x6 range. RPM should be around 8000 or a little more with this size prop. As usual you will find a world of difference between different manufacturer’s props of the same size. Do not depend on the prop that gives the most rpm for a specific size. Airborne performance will always be the key.
One thing you will find out soon enough—this engine is a fuel miser! The 18-ounce tank looks like it will give as much as 40 minutes running time! A smaller fuel tank might be a good recommendation unless you just like to fill up the tank once a day at the flying field. I say “looks like” because I have not been able to run it dry in my test flights. Switching to the 40:1 fuel/oil mixture after break-in will reduce the amount of cleanup on the airframe at the end of the day.
There have been no surprises during our testing period, and I am always looking for another model to put it in for an evaluation of what you can do with this engine. So far, it has powered the Ultra Stick Lite, two different Hangar 9 Taylorcrafts (big airplane, little motor) and currently a Hangar 9 Edge 540 (remember that one?).
Originally, I tested the Ultra Stick Lite with the tuned pipe and header (EVO30944266E) and using a Zinger 18x6 pro propeller. This was a pretty wild combination with exciting performance. The tuned pipe was very quiet compared to other systems and it definitely adds power.
The Taylorcraft is a wonderful sport flying experience with the Evolution 26GT. The engine was fitted with a Bisson inverted wraparound Pitts style muffler. Plenty of power for aerobatics, simple installation and lighter weight than the Zenoah G26 it was designed to use. There are a lot of other combinations that were originally for glow engines that can now be easily gas powered for more fun and economy.
In a nutshell, this is one heck of a fun sport flyer’s engine or a first gas engine for someone that wants to get into gas powered models. The ease and economy of operation is a definite plus and the models that it powers will still fit in your minivan, so you wont have to buy a new SUV or trailer to get them out to the flying field. I am anxious to hear your experiences so feel free to drop us a note.
Using the LED RPM readout from the electronic ignition
The LED readout is very straight forward:
When you are ready to start your engine, turn the battery switch to "on". The LED will give a bright flash to indicate the on position.
After you start the engine the LED will "glow" at the frequency of the engine rpm. It gives one flash per revolution. You can point your optical tach at the LED and read the RPM directly without any interference from anything. Now it flashes at once per rev while the tach would normally see two propeller blades per revolution so you must double the reading that you get from the LED to get actual rpm. This is a key point. If the Tach is set to a three bladed prop or 4 bladed you must multiply the LED reading by the prop blade setting on the tach (normally 2 blades).
Then when you finish the flight and land you should shut the engine off with the throttle trim lever but leave the ignition turned on. If you then take a reading on the LED you will see the highest RPM the engine reached during that flight. Very cool! Gives you a good idea of performance in the air with the prop and needle setting you are using. When you turn off the ignition everything resets so you will erase that max rpm reading and start over.
Nothing very strange but is kind of nice feature to have. The bright flash when you turn on is very nice as none of the other ignitions show you that you actually have a "good to go" signal.