Australian Authorities Propose Limitations on Jabiru-Powered Aircraft

Photo: Jabiru
Photo: Jabiru

CASA - the Australian equivalent of the US Federal Aviation Administration - issued draft documents that would severely limit operations for aircraft equipped with Jabiru engines, at least until addition study and investigation into a significant number of engine failures is conducted. Quoting the CASA web site:

CASA is responding to a high, and increasing, rate of engine failures among aircraft that are powered by engines manufactured by, or under licence from, Jabiru Aircraft Pty Ltd (Jabiru). Such aircraft are referred to in this document as 'Jabiru powered aircraft'.

The issues appear to be the result of several failure modes, which require separate investigation.

CASA has formed the view that its functions under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 require it to mitigate certain risks to passengers, trainee pilots and persons on the ground.

Accordingly, while CASA works with Jabiru to identify the causes of these engine failures and to implement appropriate corrective actions, CASA proposes a set of operating limitations on Jabiru powered aircraft.

Since the Jabiru engine is not certified in the United States, and is used on experimental aircraft, it is unlikely that similar limitations would be imposed by the FAA, but pilots of Jabiru-equipped aircraft should be aware of these investigations.

The proposed regulation will:

1. only permit operations by day under the visual flight rule, unless approved by CASA;

2. require that Jabiru powered aircraft are operated in a manner that minimises the risk of a forced landing into a populous areas;

3. define ‘populous area’ by reference to whether an area is populous at the time of the operation, meaning that (for example) a sports field would generally be a populous area at a time when that field is in use;

4. prohibit the carriage of passengers;

5. prohibit the use of Jabiru powered aircraft for solo operations by student pilots, who generally are less able to respond effectively to an engine failure event;

6. require that a notice be located in each Jabiru powered aircraft, conspicuous to each occupant of the aircraft, that states the limitations in paragraphs (4) and (5) above and notes that the occupants fly at their own risk.

See the documents below for complete details.

Jabiru Regulation Summary

CASA consult-draft-cd1425ss

9 Replies to “Australian Authorities Propose Limitations on Jabiru-Powered Aircraft”

  1. Just interested to know if the jabiru engines have the same reputation in the USA as they do here in Australia, there failure rates are pretty high here ,mostly through bolts, dropping valves, crank issues, ?

  2. Which Jabiru engine are they talking about, the 2200 or the 3300 or both? As I understand, the 2200 engine is the more widely used Jabiru in Australia and is widely used in student training aircraft. I have been flying with a 3300 engine regularly in the hot U.S. southwest for the past seven years without any problems and it has been running great. Have not had any unusual heating issues with it. I installed the proper cooling ducting for cylinders and oil cooler and simply maintain and operate the engine properly like an aircraft engine should be.

  3. We have had trouble free flying on our J400. 2905 hrs on the airframe second engine. Keep it cool, manage your engine and do your maintenance no issues.

  4. I think it is amusing that they limit those planes to only the pilot (no passengers) but you must place a sign conspicuous to "each" occupant. Seems kind of redundant and don't we always fly "at out own risk"? If there's a period where I'm flying at someone else's risk, I'd like to know when that is 🙂

    Good article, good engine, failures come mostly from owners being too careless in maintenance. This also isn't meant to be an indictment of owners. Most aircraft engines are overdesigned tremendously and you can abuse them fairly well and they keep on ticking. Jaiburu did not design in nearly the margin for error of other engines to keep the weight down, performance up and costs reasonable. That results in an engine that must be better, or more precisely, maintained. As others have noted, if you keep it running within operating temperatures, *ALWAYS* perform timely and regular maintenance, the engines go 1,000 hours in the desert or the arctic. They work well. Think of it like the Mitsubishi MU-2 or the Shrike Commander. There's nothing wrong with the airplane, but they had a very high accident rate. The FAA thought about grounding them. They learned a little bit different training and some extra care in operation and the accident rate went away and they became outstanding high performance airplanes.

  5. Mike - the placard for each occupant addresses flight training, which would be still allowed. It is not redundant.

  6. Paul, I take it then the prohibition against passengers (bullet #5) does not include "students", so all an Australian need do is declare a plane is filled with students and they are free to fly with as many "occupants" as they see fit? It would never have occurred to me that people could be "occupants" without being a pilot or a passenger. Sorry, my mistake.

  7. I wouldn't fly behind an Aerovee yet alone an Aerovee Turbo. Look at all the accidents involving the Aerovee engine. If you look at accident records it appears as if 95% of them are due to sudden loss of power. Looking further into it the Aeroinjector seems to be a huge problem with that motor. Friends of mine have had a terrible time getting their very touchy injector needles adjusted. When they ask Sonex the manufacturer of the Aerovee for help, Sonex always claims the builder did something wrong even if they have followed Aerovee's instructions exactly. Same thing when my friend built his Sonex with an Aerovee that had Nikasil light weight cylinders installed in it. He had nothing but problems with his engine cylinders including the walls collapsing on two cylinders with less than 20 hours on the motor. Sonex also told him he must have assembled the engine incorrectly. Turns out 3 months later Sonex pulled the Nikasils cylinder option off their engine because there were so many complaints about them. They no longer sell the Nikasil cylinders.

    Aerovee hides behind the fact it is an Experimental engine to keep the liability off their heads.

    A friend of mine bought a Sonex with an Aerovee that was already flying and was having trouble with the carb "burping". He tried to get help from Sonex on the issue and even a big discussion was started on the Sonex talk group about it. Well after a couple of weeks of getting no help from Sonex and Sonex telling him it was fine and it was his problem to fix, he was killed in the airplane when it crashed into a small lake. Funny thing is right after that, when all the discussion was on the talk group about his problem and not getting help from Sonex, Sonex decided to eliminate their talk group and erase all the archives that were on it.

    If you ask me it seems like they were trying to hide something from the FAA and other customers. Not the type of company I want supplying the powerplant for my airplane.

    Good luck with your unproven Turbo Aerovee that you want. I hope it works out for you and I understand it's a Cheap alternative to other engines. However, I am not a penny pincher when it comes to what keeps my butt airborn.

    No matter what engine choices you make, keep care operating and keep proper maintenance of your engine to keep you safe.

  8. A lot of debate about this in Australia. CASA are not highly regarded by anyone but themselves and this act seems a bit overblown. Having said that there are some issues that need to be improved on the Jab engine, they are quite sensitive to overheat situations. A previous poster mentioned 'crank issues' which is the first claim I've heard of this, indeed the Jab bottom end seems very robust. Most commonly it is valve and through-bolt problems.

    The new CamIT Aero Engine seems to be very promising, a solid lifter Jab engine with improvements to many areas.

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