Patrick Panzera, the main man at Contact! magazine and a contributor to Kitplanes, is also the major magneto behind the Alternative Engine Conference. Like last year, the AEC was held at French Valley airport in Temecula, California this last Saturday.
No threat to Air Venture in size, the Alternative Engine Conference is one of those hidden gems for anyone interested in the non-Lycoming, non-Continental method of making thrust. Auto engine conversions rule the AEC, along with at least one purpose-built small aviation engine. Participant aircraft with alternative engines and cowlings removed are the attraction on the ample French Valley ramp, while inside the adjacent terminal building the AEC presents a day-long series of speakers spreading the latest word on their alternative engine projects. The one-day event is casual, very open with excellent access to the experimenters, and free of charge. Even the co-located airport café is a great feed.
Just a hop over the hill from our home base in Fallbrook, the Alternative Engine Conference is, along with the Mojave Experimental Fly-In in April, a fitting book end to a SoCal summer of aircraft experimentation.