DynaVibe Balances the World’s Fastest Four-Cylinder Airplane
Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Craig Catto, founder of Catto Propellers, for providing key input and photographs for this story.
The Anequim Project, a group of students and professors from Brazil's Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), has built and flown the world’s fastest four-cylinder airplane. Anequim comes from the Brazilian name for the shortfin Mako, the fastest shark in the seas, a fitting namesake for the airplane that gobbled up title to five world records during recent flights in August: multiple speed records over various distances as well as a new fastest time-to-climb record.
Here are the world records the Anequim Project now owns:
1. Speed over 3 km with restricted altitude
2. Speed over 15 km
3. Speed over 100 km closed course
4. Speed over 500 km closed course
5. Time to climb up to 3,000 meters
Powering Anequim is a four-cylinder Lycoming IO-360 modified by Sky Dynamics, connected to a custom propeller built by legendary prop designer Craig Catto, whose propellers have helped set numerous world records. Craig has used the DynaVibe Classic propeller balancing system for several years. At Airventure 2015 in Oshkosh, Craig connected with RPX Technologies co-founder and engineer Matthew Dock, who explained the benefits of the second-generation DynaVibe GX2. “I thought this would be the perfect time to upgrade to the GX2 unit with the upcoming Anequim world record speed and time to climb record attempts in Brazil,” said Catto. “I was able to acquire one of the new GX2 units the week before leaving to support the Anequim Team on their record attempts.”
Catto and his team made a total of 8 propellers for the Anequim Project. Prior to balancing the Anequim, the pilot reported that the engine propeller systems were operating smoothly. “We really did not know how ‘smooth’ was smooth,” said Catto. “So we performed a simple propeller vibration analysis and found that we could improve the balance by simply removing one of the mass balance washers that was attached to the fly wheel. We removed one An970-3 washer and brought the balance into the ‘excellent’ range. We felt this was important especially on the 500km record attempt, where the 11/1 compression electronic ignition engine built by Sky Dynamics was going to be operating at full throttle for what would be right at one hour.”
Catto was pleased with how easy it was to dynamically balance Anequim’s propeller, removing it as a vibration source so that any other change in engine circumstances during the record attempts would become more evident to the pilot. “The new GX2 will not only perform a simple propeller dynamic balance, but even a full spectrum vibration analysis. With the new unit, Catto Propellers can now perform these services for its customers and others at the facility at KJAQ. We are happy to say that DynaVibe was a part of our wonderful experience taking part of the world records set by the Anequim Team.”
DynaVibe can help your airplane achieve record-setting performance too! To learn how, enter your email address below or contact RPX Technologies at: 405.896.0026.