Help! I need someone to give me A little advice. I ordered a ch650 kit so while I wait for delivery day I have been online researching engine choices. So is 100HP enough or do I need 130HP should I go carburated or fuel injection, Stay traditional opposed or maybe A gear reduction unit with a auto conversion. I see so many choices out there, I just want to be as safe as I can and as a new pilot I need some good advice.

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If you want to talk to some people out there that have the Viking Engine on that exact airframe and many Zenith, there are over 500 customers on our website, let me know if you would like to speak to any of them. Most would love to tell you about performance, ease of installation, affordability etc., but ultimately you have to make a decision that feels right for you. -Alissa

Hello Ron..

LOL... you are asking what is the most critical decision after choosing your aircraft.   I suggest you search this forum for previous discussions in the respective engine groups.  Then PM your favorite owners and arrange to have a phone discussion about their reasoning and actual building experience.   Some will have the aircraft in the air which is even better. 

IMPORTANT - Also dig into the respective engine factory's own forums and read what their customers who are flying owners have to say.   From my observation, you will find happy owners no matter which engine.   Every one of these engine factory's earned their place in this forum by years of dedication to E-AB aviation and lots of hard work.

You will also want to consider future maintenance.   Do you have the mechanical and technical skills to match your engine choice or an A&P who does?

NOTE - Design factors should include not only carb vs fuel injection, but the entire electrical and fuel delivery set up.  Some of the choices, in my view, are much more straightforward, updated, modern and fault free / redundant.   

Finally, once design is resolved, you will want to consider both price AND horsepower.   That extra horsepower, if weight is not a problem, can save your bacon.

These factors may sway your decision.   Good luck.   

There are many auto conversions used in the Zenith with good results. I'm not so sure you will however see a savings unless of coarse you are talking new aircraft vr new auto conversion, then in all likely hood the auto conversion will be less money.A new Lycoming 0-235 can cost upwards of twenty thousand.  Myself however found that one could find a certified 0-235 or 0200 aircraft engine with reasonable hours on them for about the same price or less than an auto conversion for an aircraft engine with 2000, or more TBO times. I found a Lycoming 0-235 with 400 hours SMOH with prop for less than 6K. It has a 2400 hour TBO. At best I may fly 100 hours per year so that is 20 years of flying for me . I'm a PP that has flown behind these engines in Cessna's and Pipers for over 50 years so I just felt a little more comfortable with one of them . Good luck with your build

I have an 0-235 in my XL 601B and I am quite happy with it all the way around. No it isn't too heavy  LOL

Other things to think about is parts and support, as well as whether or not you want a certified engine?  

Congratulations Ron! Take your time on this. You will be building for the next few years so you aren't in any kind of a rush for an engine for the moment. The nice thing about the 650 is that there are a lot of engines to choose from. Everyone has their favorites. I for one think the Corvair 120 HP engine is the way to go. Smooth and dependable. The Viking is a great choice. There are also a lot of used engines coming online. I even found a Jab 3300 on Ebay for $5500 last week! There are engine packages that will be coming online as a complete package this summer like the Aeromomentum that look promising. In a few years, you will be in the market for engines and avionics. The world will look like a different place in that amount of time. To make your 650 a great flying airplane, set you sites on 120 HP or better and keep it light.

The CH-6XX planes I flew with 100HP have not seemed under powered at all. If I was building a 650 I might consider a certified engine for that and the lower phase 1 testing time requirement. 

I am building a CH750 Cruzer right now and I wanted the extra speed and it takes 130hp to match a 650 with just 100, and not even match at that. I chose a Viking 130 for the power vs cost and I was able to build a IFR panel with the savings.

My next plane might be a ch-650 and I will have to see how well the Viking treats me to see what my power will be. I might get too addicted to the power.

 OK so after a lot of good comments and advice I have pulled the trigger on a Viking 130 complete setup. I feel a lot better just knowing that decision is made.

Curious, what was your reasoning for this engine? 

Aeromomentum has a conversion that looks promising. Reasonable prices and much lighter than most auto conversions.


My suggestion would be to take your time deciding which engine - you have some time.  I think if you ask ten builders what the best engine to use is, that you might get that many different opinions.  Last year I completed a STOL 750 and installed a UL 350is engine.  I've only got 80 hours on it, so time will tell, but so far it's been a great engine - lightweight, starts and runs great and has more than enough power.  It was easy to install and once you start it, there is nothing to do but run the throttle.  The negative part is that it was expensive.  I just started a 650 about a month ago and will probably use the same engine, but I flew the 601 at Buzz air with the Cont. 0200 and it ran great and seem to have plenty of power for the plane.

So, I may go that route also as parts are easy to come by for that engine.  Anyway, there are several considerations to what engine you use -- cost, weight, power, ease of installation, finding someone to work on it if you are not engine savvy and if it is dependable.  My opinion is that any engine that fits your criteria and is trustworthy, is probably a good engine, whether it be a traditional aircraft engine or auto conversion.  Good luck with your build!

Reply by Ron Adams yesterday

OK so after a lot of good comments and advice I have pulled the trigger on a Viking 130 complete setup. I feel a lot better just knowing that decision is made.

Thank you for the order. Viking is on your side and you have been added to our global map of happy customers that all help each other through the Viking network


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