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Verner Radials: Choose How Many Cylinders You Need
By Randy Dufault
July 28, 2018 - Back in 1998, U.S. aircraft builders looking to power a small and economical airplane had any number of different aircraft conversion engine options based on the four-cylinder, air-cooled Volkswagen motor available to them. That was not the case in Eastern Europe.
To fill that experimental aviation market gap, Verner Motor in the Czech Republic developed its own VW-based motor and gained a bunch of aviation experience. Then about seven years ago, it occurred to the company that they could round out their horizontally opposed knowledge and create a radial engine using much of the same technology. The Scarlett radial was born.
“There is the joke that the only thing radials are good for is looks and sound,” said Aaron Ide, an engineer for ScaleBirds, the U.S. dealer for Verner. “I think that with all the electronics now, it puts them on par with modern engines.”
Two years ago, ScaleBirds was looking for an engine to power a subscale warbird kit project they had underway.
“We had to do some digging online,” said ScaleBirds President Sam Watrous.
“The only thing out there for radials was the Rotec. We wanted something a little bit smaller,” Watrous said. “My son did a bunch of digging and it was really hard to find, but we found Verner mentioned somewhere in passing.”
Watrous, EAA 261407, bought an engine to try out and ultimately, Verner invited ScaleBirds to represent them as a dealer in the U.S.
Verner makes the engines in three-, five-, seven-, and nine-cylinder configurations that range from 42 hp to 158 hp. All are fuel injected and spark comes from dual, tunable electronic ignition systems.
Verner builds all its engines to order so a typical lead-time for delivery is three to six months.
Watrous is displaying a five-cylinder model in the ScaleBirds booth mounted to his 1996 Fisher Avenger. The radial displaced a 1,835 cc Volkswagen conversion.
“It’s too much for this airplane,” he said.
The highest time Scarlett radial now has 700 hours on it. Watrous got a chance to fly behind the engine and said it is still strong and smooth.
When asked about the overall reliability of the engine and Verner’s factory support, Watrous responded, “They are very robust engines. There have been a couple of issues, but when there is, the company bends over backwards to make it right.”
Verner Motor USA is located in Booth 917A is located in the Ultralight/Rotorcraft Display area.