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Yamaha to Modify Motorcycle Engine for Aviation

Motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha may be entering the aircraft engine market through a partnership with ShinMaywa Industries.  Yamaha plans to modify the design of one of its engines for installation in a light plane prototype that ShinMaywa will build.

“Under this agreement, Yamaha Motor will explore avenues for adapting its small-engine technologies to the aviation industry,” the companies said in a joint news release. “ShinMaywa will adapt its aircraft engineering technologies and expertise—garnered through the development of flying boats and various other aircraft—to designing concepts, constructing prototypes, conducting tests, verify autonomous technology and more for small aircraft.”

While no specifics on either the engine or the aircraft were provided, reports say that the engine looks to be a two-cylinder vertically configured liquid-cooled engine that could be a variation of the company’s 2018 motorcycle engine -- a 700-cc mill that produces 70 horsepower.  The engine could find its way into aircraft with an ultralight look.  The two-seater would have a fabric-covered airframe.

Because this is viewed as a “joint research endeavor to explore the possibilities for the commercialization of next-generation small aircraft,” neither company can say whether the aircraft will make it to market.