A tiny Odessa, Wash., company may build a unique engine for ultralight aircraft in Spokane, according to company officials.
4-Cycle Inc. holds three patents on a system that uses crankcase pressure to supercharge small engines, both gasoline and diesel, said Senior Vice President James Canode.
The result is a near doubling of horsepower, he said, and an impressive weight-to-horsepower ratio of almost one-to-one.
The system also substantially boosts fuel economy, he said.
The engine is based on technology invented by a Post Falls man, Donald E. Stinebaugh, now deceased, and his son, Leonard “Sonny” Stinebaugh.
Canode said Leonard Stinebaugh retains a royalty interest in the patents purchased by 4-Cycle.
Canode said prototype engines are being modified and tested at the U.S. Navy research facility at Keyport in Western Washington.
The work is proceeding under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement. Canode said the pact calls for 4-Cycle to provide technology and funding to pay some development costs.
The Navy, in return, will apply some of its sophisticated engineering capability to refining the engine.
“Keyport has the testing facility and the manufacturing facility that are not common in the private sector,” Canode said.
Company attorney John Strohmaier said 4-Cycle and the Navy would also split revenues from some future sales.
“It’s kind of a joint venture,” he said.
Canode said Navy officials are sensitive to the economic potential of the project, particularly in the state of Washington.
“They’re in the business of creating jobs,” he said.
Canode said 4-Cycle is working on several applications for its engines, from ultralight and drone aircraft to snowmobiles, from garden trimmers to diesels.
The Navy is interested in drone and outboard uses, he said, adding “Our timing is really good.”
Canode said 4-Cycle would produce kits for retrofitting existing engines as well as building new.
Both combine four-stroke and two-stroke engine characteristics. Piston downstrokes pressurize air and gas vapors that are then moved into a storage chamber prior to injection into the combustion cylinder.
The company will start serious site selection this summer, he said, with manufacturing to start next year.