Automotive brand Yamaha has officially partnered with Japanese aeronautical firm ShinMaywa Industries to study a new-generation light aircraft. Best known for producing motorcycles, Yamaha announced the collaboration with the Japanese manufacturer on June 29. With this venture, Yamaha is trying its luck into the aviation engine market. The industrial vehicle giant will create a small parallel-twin engine that will power up a conventionally configured plane prototype built by ShinMaywa.
Born as a division of the Kawanishi Aircraft Company, ShinMaywa has years of expertise in designing aircrafts. The firm has previously worked on flying boats and similar aviation product prototypes. Yamaha along with ShinMaywa will research the commercial viability of a small yet efficient engine to fly airplanes. Both the companies will work to realize its value and demand in the market to take the new innovative concept forward.
Yamaha is no stranger to aviation. Back in the 90s, the company made a small unmanned helicopter for agricultural use called the R-MAX. Since the 2000s Mohawk Aero Craft, an American company has adapted Yamaha snowmobile engines for application in gyrocopters. ShinMaywa resumed production of aircraft in 1952 after the end of a ban imposed on Japan after World War II. The manufacturer was awarded a government order in 1966, for an amphibious aircraft, the PS-1, a four-engine propeller plane. ShinMaywa launched an updated version of the aircraft, the US-2, in 2003.
No details on the engine or the airframe have been officially released by both the companies. A two-cylinder vertically configured liquid-cooled engine is likely to be a variation of a new motorcycle engine released by Yamaha in 2018. It’s known as the CP2, a 700-cc mill that generates about 70 horsepower. The aircraft is expected to get an ultralight appeal to it with a two-place cabin and fabric-covered airframe.
“Both companies will use this joint research endeavor to explore possibilities for the commercialization of next-generation small aircraft, and take into consideration the direction and future of the project based on market interest and other factors,” Yamaha and ShinMaywa said in a joint statement.