VW engines

VW engines has been used to power light aircraft since the second world war. It all started in France according to a very interesting webinar by John Monnett about the AeroVee engine. All in all the VW engine as an aircraft engine is a very interesting topic, but real historical info is hard to find. User experience of these engines is also hard to find, usually just net-gossip by people who have never used one. I am used to Lycoming, Continental, Rotax and a couple of hours with Jabiru, I have never flown an aircraft with a VW engine. Below are some simple comparisons of various available engines to at least get some perspective about some of the basic data for these engines.

VW engine types

VW made at least 3 major flat 4 engines, or boxer engines. I don't know what their real names are, but the popular naming is Type 1, Type 4 and Wasserboxer (Water boxer). All these engines are used as aircraft engines.

Type 1

The Type 1 is the original beetle engine. They were made with a capacity of 1100 to 1600 cc. This is the engine most commonly used today in aircraft. The crankcase is made of magnesium. Aircraft engines typically have a capacity of 1600 to 2400 cc and a power of 50 to 90 HP.

Type 4

The type 4 was a new development of the air cooled boxer concept. The engine is larger and heavier and originally made for the VW 411 and 412 (we had a 411 when I was a little boy). It was also used in some VW vans and in the Porsche 914. The original capacity was 1700 to 2000 cc. I know of only one commercial conversion of this engine, the Grob 2500 used in the Grob 109b motorglider.


The wasserboxer was a development of the Type 1 engine. It was used in VW vans and came after the Type 4. Sauer and Limbach supposedly use the crankcase of this engine for their larger engines, but it seems to be a custom made case based on the wasserboxer rather than an actual VW crankcase. The crankcase is made of aluminium and is considerably stronger built than the Type 1, yet only about 7 kg heavier and roughly the same size. It was designed for 1900 and 2100 cc. Aircraft engines using this crankcase have a capacity of 2000 to 2700 cc.


The AeroVee is the engine for which the Onex is designed around. It looks like a fairly simple straight forward engine. It comes as a kit. Type 1. USA
Pro: Have been developed over many years (30-40 years) by people who actively use this engine themselves in many airplanes (Sonex Aircraft). The Onex is designed around it. A Turbo will soon be available, 100 HP.

Great Plains have several engine kits from 1600 to 2300 cc. They are straight forward engines. Type 1. USA
Pro: I don't know, but the company seems to be well liked. Some like the Hub with its larger #4 bearing.

The Grob 2500. This is the Type 4 engine, and one can see the different intake and exhaust manifolds compared with Type 1. This engine is no longer available. Germany

The Hummel engines looks to be very similar to the GP engines. The capacity is 1600 to 2400 cc.
Pro: Don't know, but they shop hubs from GP. Type 1. USA

JPX delivered very advanced engines, at least by the looks of it. They are no longer in business, but countless Jodels are flying with JPX engines. The capacity was 2000-2500 cc. Type 1 and some custom I think. France

Limbach has sold over 6000 engines, and represent the most advanced VW engines ever produced. They make engines from 1700 to 2400 cc. This one is a 2400 DFi with water cooled heads, fuel injection and electronic ignition. Type 1 and Wasserboxer. Germany
Pro: The most advanced VW engine money can buy.

The Motorav engine looks like a very modified engine. It's from Brasil and availability is unknown. Custom casing. Brasil

The Revmaster R-2300 looks like a thought through engine. More customized than the other engines from the USA. Type 1. USA
Pro: Simply looks like a very good engine

The Revmaster R-3000 is not yet available. It is all custom parts. USA

Sauer also delivers very advanced engines. They are very light and powerful. This one is the 2100 ULT (turbo). Sauer has sold more than 750 engines from 1800 to 2700 cc. Sauer engines are often used as drop in replacement engines for older Limbach engines in motorgliders. Type 1 and Wasserboxer. Germany
Pro: Light, powerful and high quality. 1600 h TBO


EngineMax HPat RPMCont, HPat RPMWeight (kg)CrankcaseCoolingBore (mm)Stroke (mm)cc
AeroVee 2.180340080340073Type 1Air92822180
GP 160055360050340072Type 1Air85.5691585
GP 183565360060340074Type 1Air92691835
GP 191569360065340074Type 1Air94691915
GP 218076360070340075Type 1Air92822180
GP 227680360076340075Type 1Air94822276
Grob 250095340087300095Type 4Air100782450
Hu 50 HP55360050340073Type 1Air85.5691585
Hu 60 HP65360060340075Type 1Air92691835
Hu 76 HP76360070340076Type 1Air92822180
Hu 85 HP85360080340076Type 1Air94862387
JPX 4T6065320061310072Type 1Air9375.42049
JPX 4TX7582300076290078JPXAir95822325
JPX 4TX9090300082290074JPXAir95882495
L 1700 E068360060320073Type 1Air88691679
L 2000 E080340070300074Type 1Air9078.41995
L 2000 EB80340070300076.5WasserboxerAir9078.41995
L 2400 EB87320084.5300082WasserboxerAir97822424
L 2400 DFi100300095280076WasserboxerWater97822424
L 2400 DT1293000118270086WasserboxerWater97822424
L 2400 DT.X1583000145270086WasserboxerWater97822424
M 2.4 R85290080270085MotoravAir94882443
M 2.6 R90290085270086MotoravAir94942609
M 2.8 R100290095270084MotoravAir98942836
R-230085320080300077Type 1Air94842332
S 1800 UL68320065300063Type 1Air92691835
S 1900 UL75320072300064Type 1Air94691915
S 2200 UL85300080270066Type 1Air92842234
S 2400 UL Al90300080270075WasserboxerAir94842332
S 2400 UL Mg90300080270068Type 1Air94842332
S 2100 ULT1103000100280076WasserboxerAir90.5842161
S 250094300082270077WasserboxerAir97842483
S 2700 UL105300093270075WasserboxerAir97902660
GP = Great Plains, Hu = Hummel, L = Limbach, M = Motorav, R = Revmaster and S = Sauer. Grey are not longer available and green is not yet available.

Bore and Stroke

Bore [mm]6975,47878.4828486889094
85.51.24 GP1600 Hu1600
881.28 L1700
901.30 S18001.15 L20001.07 S2100 S2100UL
90.51.08 S2100ULT
921.33 S1800UL GP1835 Hu18351.12 AeroVee GP2180 Hu21801.10 S2200UL
931.23 JPX4T60
941.36 S1900UL GP19151.15 GP22761.12 S2400UL R-23001.09 Hu24001.07 M2.4R1.00 M2.6R
951.16 JPX4TX751.08 JPX4TX90
971.18 L24001.15 S2500 S2500UL S2500ULT1.08 S2700UL
981.04 M2.8R
1001.33 Grob2500
102.41.14 R-3000

Here the Bore is along the Y axis and Stroke along the X axis. The bore/stroke ratio is plotted in along with the engines. I don't know exactly what to make of this, but it gives a nice overview of the engines.


Bore [mm]6975,47878.4828486889094
85.51585 Type1
881679 Type1
901756 Type11995 Type1 WB2138 Type1
90.52161 WB
921835 Type12180 Type12235 Type1
932049 Type1
941915 Type12276 Type12332 Type1 WB2387 Type12443 Motorav2609 Motorav
952325 JPX2495 JPX
972424 WB2483 WB2660 WB
982836 Motorav
1002450 Type4
102.42965 Revmaster

Different crankcase and displacement are plotted in this table. The largest Type 1 is the Hummel with 94 bore and 86 stroke. The largest Wasserboxer is the Sauer with 97 bore and 90 stroke