Air Plains Services Announces New Engine STCs

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Several Cessna Models Get New Powerplant Options


Air Plains Services announced three new engine STCs for Cessna piston singles during the AOPA Regional Fly-In at Santa Fe, New Mexico. Two of the STCs are for installation of Lycoming IO-540.

The addition of these three STCs—a 260-horsepower upgrade for Cessna 182S and T models, a 260-hp upgrade for Cessna 182RGs, and a 180-hp upgrade for Cessna 172R models—gives Air Plains one of the industry’s widest ranges of engine upgrades for Cessna’s most popular single-engine piston aircraft, the company said. As with other Air Plains engine upgrades, these modifications can be installed at the company’s Kansas facility or shipped as a complete kit anywhere in the world. 

“We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest and support for adding more options to our range of engine upgrades, and these three—the 260-horsepower upgrade for S- and T-model 182s in particular—are going to satisfy a lot of the global demand for better performance for these popular aircraft,” said Mike Kelley, Air Plains founder and owner. The three new STCs were originally developed by Alamo Aerospace and purchased by Air Plains, he added. “Customers for these new STCs can expect the same level of expertise and commitment to total customer satisfaction.”

“It just fits right in with what we’re doing,” added Air Plains’s Katie Church. “The heart and soul of our company is adding power to these Cessna singles.”

The engine upgrade for Cessna 182S and T models uses a new, 260-hp Lycoming IO-540 engine to provide a 13-percent increase in power over the original 230-hp engine. The upgrade can use the existing three-blade propeller to save cost, or use a new McCauley propeller. The existing propeller governor is converted to 2,700 rpm, and the upgrade includes a new tachometer. Performance enhancements include a 10-percent reduction in takeoff distance and a 20-percent increase in rate of climb. The new engine weighs essentially the same as the original, so there is little or no reduction in useful load, and no airframe modifications are required.

The retractable-gear Cessna 182 gains a second engine upgrade option from Air Plains, also using a 260-hp Lycoming IO-540. The kit includes a new McCauley three-blade propeller and spinner, a new electric fuel pump, governor, tachometer, and fuel flow/manifold pressure indicator. A new Slick dual magneto replaces the D2000 magneto, which is no longer supported by the manufacturer. The new fuel-injected engine provides an additional 25 hp for improved takeoff distance, climb, and cruise speed. Fuel injection improves fuel economy while eliminating the chance of carburetor ice; it also eliminates the horizontal carburetor, resulting in a more reliable, even fuel distribution.

The new 180-hp STC for Cessna 172R models is similar to Air Plains’s existing 180-hp upgrade and not only increases performance, but increases the useful load by 100 pounds. Because the upgrade uses the original engine, no airframe modifications are required. The kit includes a new propeller, tachometer, airspeed indicator, and fuel flow/EGT indicator.

“We are very excited about adding these new upgrades to our product range,” Kelley said. “This means more options and more opportunity to get the most out of your airplane for years to come.”

In the past year, Air Plains celebrated delivery of both its 2,500th 180-hp XP upgrade for Cessna 172s and its 500th 300-hp XP upgrade for Cessna 180s and 182s.