• Jabiru's 3000th six-cylinder 3300 engine. (Jabiru Aircraft)
    Jabiru's 3000th six-cylinder 3300 engine. (Jabiru Aircraft)

Jabiru Aircraft has packed up and dispatched its 3000th six-cylinder 3300 engine, this time to a customer in Russia.

The 3300 engine can develop around 120 hp and weighs only 83.5 kg, and the company has credited the motor for making the J230 LSA their most popular model.

Jabiru Business Manager Sue Woods told Australian Flying that turning out 3000 six-cylinder engines was seen as a mighty achievement for the Bundaberg-based manufacturer.

"Few can appreciate the feat it has been for a small family-owned company to achieve this," she said. "It has taken enormous amounts of endurance and perseverance to overcome the hurdles along the way. No other aircraft company manufactures their own engine as well as their aircraft.

"Taking on the risk for supply of aircraft engines is not for the faint hearted. The challenges never stop.

Woods said that among the challenges was a world-wide shortage of materials used in manufacturing the 3300 engine.

"We are now gradually overcoming the challenges of supply lines for raw materials. All around the world there are shortages of steel and lengthy and unpredictable freight delays.

"Timing is everything for a production line. Lead times for materials can be as much as 12 months for many suppliers. This means holding and funding an enormous amount of stock to get us through this time of uncertainty with supply lines."

Jabiru Aircraft is not hiding behind the success of the 3300 engine, acknowledging that technology in aircraft engines is taking the industry down very different paths and that Jabiru needs to make changes for the future.

"In the background engineers have worked on electric power but are hampered by the limitations of batteries, though the rate of development in this area is encouraging," Woods said.

"Also, hydrogen has been investigated. R & D projects, exciting and necessary as they may be, always have to be juggled between many competing day to day priorities to keep the wheels of production going and customers happy."

Jabiru has been manufacturing engine since the 1600 motor in 1992, introducing the 2200 engine in 1998 and the 3300 shortly after.

The company has manufactured 3000 six-cylinder 3300 engines, 3950 four-cylinder 2200 engines, 50 eight-cylinder 5100 engines and 70 four-cylinder 1600 engines for a total of 7070 all up.

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