Flygas was founded in year 2002 and since then it has been specializing in the production of tuning kits for Rotax 912/914 engine series and high-performance aircraft engines. Most of efforts of the Flygas now are focused on projecting the company into the rising market of the UAVs industry as an engine and componentry manufacturer. This could also be a great occasion for the company to expand its footprint and increase the market share. To achieve this, the development of improved versions of the GAS418 engine is what takes the highest priority at the moment, said Stefano Gamberini, Technical Director and Owner, Flyfgas Engineering, who has a wide experience in engine components design and engine management. In an interview with Arabian Defence, he talks about the company’s latest operations.
Could you give us an overview of the company’s portfolio of products and services?
Flygas was founded in year 2002 and since then it has been specializing in the production of tuning kits for Rotax 912/914 engine series and high-performance aircraft engines. We have a wide experience in engine components design and engine management. This was gained in the previous working experiences in the field of race cars, which started at the very beginning of the nineties. Every product sold by Flygas is entirely designed and manufactured in Italy.
What are the major achievements of Flygas in the UAV industry?
Flygas’ major contribution to the UAV industry is the perhaps the development of the GAS418S engine. This is a 4-cylinder boxer engine with a displacement of around 1.8L. Its dimensions are very compact (638 x 664 x 443 cm) and also dry weight is kept under 85kg. Nonetheless, the power output is rated at 180hp @5800RPM, bringing the power to weight ratio to around 2.2 hp/kg. The engine comes standard with electronic fuel injection system and mechanical supercharger to improve altitude capabilities. Also, an experimental version of the engine with a double stage mechanical supercharger named GAS418HA is currently under development. Finally, it has to be remarked that the GAS418S engine was developed in two versions, one for the traditional horizontal axis mounting and the other one specifically developed to work in vertical position to increase the versatility.
What are the main features of the Supercharger systems offered by Flygas?
When comparing this system to a traditional turbo kit, first of all, some advantages in terms of engine thermodynamics can be noticed. The mechanically-driven supercharger does not produce any kind of backpressure on the exhaust. Combustion chamber temperatures are thus kept low with evident benefits in terms of knocking risk. Then, with the increase of the flight altitude the air becomes less dense, forcing the expansion ratio of the exhaust gas turbine to increase. It will reach a point where the turbine has to be discharged due to overspeed danger. Well, this condition is absent in superchargers. The transmission ratio could be tuned to provide the engine with the correct amount of air for every regime. From the point of view of the engine dynamics the overall flywheel mass of the engine is increased due to the direct connection between the crankshaft and the supercharger impeller. The installation of a mechanically driven supercharger has then a stabilizing effect on the engine. Last but not least, the installed weight of the supercharger is less than 10kg.
Who are the main customers of Flygas? How strong is your export business?
Flygas kits are sold in every parts of the world, in particular in the European and North American regions. There are also some customers in Africa, South America, Mexico, and Australia too. In general, the most sought-after kit of our production is the supercharger kit. In fact, people contacting us always would like to obtain more power from the Rotax engine installed in their aircraft. The supercharger kit we offer is our answer to this need.
How do you look the market in the Middle East and GCC? Could you talk about the operations in the region?
Currently, our operation in that region as well as our customers there are very limited in number. We are planning to expand our horizons also in that direction and we rely on marketing occasions like the one we have been offered here to let people know more about us and our products.
How strong are the company’s R&D and production capabilities? Could you shed some light onto your distribution network?
Flygas is still a small company. Nonetheless, almost all mechanical parts of kits and engines we do is designed and produced in house. The remaining ones are produced from our Italian trusted providers on the basis of our drawings. We achieved a very high quality level of our production thanks to the use of advanced CNC machines and our R&D capability allow us to autonomously design all components needed. We only commission to other companies the castings and the machining operations requiring the highest precision.
Does Flygas participate at Word Defense Show 2022?
Unfortunately, Flygas chose not to participate in this edition of the World Defence Show. This is a critical period for our company as we are busy with lots of important orders. We did not have time to properly organize our participation to any event.
What the major objectives and challenges ahead for the company? Could you share with us your vision and priorities for the company?
Most of efforts of the Flygas now are focused on projecting the company into the rising market of the UAVs industry as an engine and componentry manufacturer. This could also be a great occasion for the company to expand its footprint and increase the market share. To achieve this, the development of improved versions of the GAS418 is what takes the highest priority at the moment.