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More than a pretty face


The cowling surrounding a reciprocating engine is a sophisticated aerial garbage disposal. Its job is to throw away about $1.50 out of every $6 you spend on avgas. Gasoline contains more energy per pound than TNT, but engines turn only about a quarter of that energy into useful power. What happens to the rest? It dribbles off as waste heat, to be absorbed by the atmosphere. Half blows out the exhaust pipe; some of that, however, can be harvested and put to good use by a turbocharger. more

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