Air Plains adds power, with speed!

Air Plains Services of Wellington, Kansas has been hard at work installing the Crossover Classic’s new Continental IO-550 engine, its accessories, and the Flint Aero tip tanks. Those tanks each hold 12 gallons of fuel. Add that to the airplane’s existing, 79-gallon long range tanks and we’ll have a 103-gallon Cessna 182. At 75-percent power, the IO-550 burns about 16-17 gallons per hour, so that makes it an airplane with at least a six-hour endurance. We don’t know the airplane’s ultimate, post-conversion true airspeeds yet, but let’s assume 150 knots. Six hours at 150 knots equals an 800-plus nautical mile airplane.

Assuming it’s flown at lean-of-peak mixture settings, that fuel burn can drop to 12.5 to 13 gph. There’s a slight speed penalty, but on the other hand there’s the opportunity for even greater range.

But hey, we’re getting ahead of ourselves! As we speak, the engine installation is being performed. The old engine is a thing of the past and the shiny, new, gold-colored Continental is being fitted with its new accessories, baffles, ductwork, GAMIjector fuel injectors, and wiring harness.

And man, is Air Plains a fast-working shop, or what?! I mean, those guys are really after that airplane! Take a look at this video to see the Air Plains shop, and their super-fast workers prep the engineĀ for the final install. The prop is next, so stay tuned.

  • http://Newengine Beau Chapman

    I would have enjoyed a dozen or so still photos of Air Plains Services preparing the new engine for mounting…and the major steps and procedures involved…with brief explanations for each photo. One of the joys of reading about each year’s Sweepstakes is to remain “current” on both the technology and processes involved…and not repeating the “mistakes” of past years.

    The best reporting I’ve seen on Sweepstakes was a few years ago (about three or four) when the female on your staff did the series for that year.

    Beau Chapman
    Marin County

  • Brent Ramsey

    Hi, I’m currently redoing my 1979 182Q (in fact I was contacted by your broker to sell it). It is a one owner with 640 hours total time. My engine basically aged out and I researched Texas Skyways, Air Plains, and PPonk conversions. While all options looked nice I realized that for the cost vs. weight vs. speed benefit it was best for me to just have the prop and engine overhauled with all new accessories. I also did not want fuel pumps on the aircraft due to fire hazard. Should we compare when your done? We could weigh them and race em!…..located in Tulsa, OK.

  • http://Newengine Beau Chapman

    Air Plains Services and AOPA have a wonderful opportunity to provide real time, detailed photos of each step of the engine and engine-monitoring gauge installation for us to view…as did the female AOPA Sweepstakes writer three of four years ago that was such a pleasure.

    Where are they?

    Beau Chapman

  • Andy

    What will be of the old engine as I need a low time one to replace mine. Is it avable and how much do you want for it. What is the condition of it please, thanks. Andy

    • thorne

      Andy, it went back to Continental as a core …. that was the deal…


  • Michael Wooten

    Really looking forward to finished product……..Will the costs incurred be included in yout follow-up reports ?…..sure hope so……..Thank you…..MDW

  • Rob & Charlene Fulton

    Hopefully, at next years drawing of this wonderful airplane, someone from the West coast can win. ME!!!

  • Claire


  • Mike Sundstrom

    Looking good! Can’t wait to fly it next year!

  • Teabag

    17 gallons per hour just to achieve 150 knots? Your’re kidding, right?

    • thorne

      Hey, it can do all that and carry a load! Numbers are similar to Bonanza’s ya know….

  • http://AOPA Paul Tinnirello

    Just Dreaming of owning it!

  • Windtee

    You weren’t kidding about the speed! I’m eager to see the project fly.

    • thorne

      It flies! It flies!

  • Alvin Crouch

    Is it really one (1) man doing all the work on the Engine Refurbishment? It looks like he could use a little help.

    Good job on the video clip.

    Can’t wait to fly the plane home next year.

  • Teabag

    17 g.p.h. just to achieve 150 knots? you’re kidding right?

  • Jim Stark

    You are WRONG on the IO-55o fuel consumption. I have the AirPlains conversion in my 1976 Cessna 180 and routinely get 12.8-13.3 GPH at 147-150 knot TAS. AirPlains turned my lovely off road 180 into a magnificent flying machine.

  • Royce

    Isin’t there an ignition system for the IO-550 yet?

  • thorne

    No, Ralph, no ghost experiences! Maybe a shadow-person or two, and some voices on the radio …. but that’s it….

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