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Indian Air Force: Boeing Transporter makes flight work of things!

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IAF C17

The Indian Air force are making light work of things by bringing in their third Boeing Transporter aircraft. Ten of these Transporter aircraft have been purchased from the US at a cost of billions, $5.1 billion to be precise, the deal was arranged in 2011.

The aircraft is capable of easily transporting military tanks, the media have reported that these aircraft will be transporting tanks to the Indian borders; the reason for the spreading of tanks to the border is to act as a deterrent, and China have sparked India into a response.

China has at the ‘line of actual control’ built up a military infrastructure presence and this has instigated India into a speedy response with their purchasing of the largest of Indian Air Force transporters. As mentioned before the Indian Air Force have three of these planes and by the end of this year the air force is expecting a delivery of two more and in 2014 another five more Boeing Transporters will have arrived amounting to ten large transporters for the Indian Air Force.

The transporter plane’s title is ‘The C-17 Globe Master III’ and it has already made its debut with a test flight at the Hindon base in Uttar Pradesh, India it is set to help replace its outdated Russian IL-76 airlifter fleet.

The C-17 can carry 150 military personnel, can land on forward make shift runways and has a short turn around time, it can lift up to 70 tonnes in one go and will be used for the transportation of tanks, machines and personnel, it can also refuel whilst in the air.

“The C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft will change the way we deploy forces in the North and North East,” said Air Chief Marshal NAK Browne.

India are now enabled to deter threats of encroachment upon their territory, although they will still be working on developing their own infrastructure along the borders.

The C-17 will certainly be making light work of things in the development process and help by transporting tanks to act as a deterrent.

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Indian Air Force : Jet crash again!

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You may recall that on the 12th February an Indian Air Force Jet had crashed and the pilot had ejected safely, I wrote a news report about the incident and here is the link from the article titled Indian Fighter Jet crashes.

Here are a few excerpts from the latter:

“The Fighter Jet was a MiG – 27 part of the Indian Air Force and the crash took place on Tueday 12/02/2013, the fighter jet was being piloted by Wing Commander Nishikant Singh who after ejecting was rushed to the Jodhpur’s Military Hospital. Pilot Singh’s condition was said to be stable and that he was in no danger.”

“Eye witnesses have reported that a young boy sustained injuries, although minor, which was inflicted through the debris which was sent in all directions, a house near the air base was also damaged.”

Well now another aircraft has crashed, in the same state, Rajasthan, in a different district, Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer district, and the incident happened on 19/2/2013 a Tuesday. The Jet was an Indian Air Force Sukhoi 30, which is of Russian origin, both pilots managed to eject safely and there was no damage to anyone or anything as a defence spokesman summarised.

As for some stats:

This is the second crash involving IAF aircraft since January this year and the fifth since April last year. Since their induction into IAF in the late 1990s, this is the fourth crash involving an SU-30 fighter plane.

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The Sukhoi 30 had planned to participate in IAF’s day-night exercise ‘Iron Fist’ on February 22 the defence spokesman mentioned. The crash more specifically took place in Jaisalmer, Chandan firing range (Pokhran).

The Iron Fist will be the biggest air power demonstration in the history of the Indian Air Force and will begin on 15th February 2013. The display will be a nine-day exercise with fighter planes and helicopters, which will be firing missiles and dropping bombs on dummy targets.

Nearly about 100 fighter planes and helicopters will be taking part in this huge event that will certainly be a spectacle to watch. India’s Prime-Minister Manmohan Singh will be there to watch this powerful display on the first day as will Prime-minister Pranab Mukherjee and Defence minister AK Antony.

“The mammoth fire power exercise will witness the debut of indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) ‘Tejas’ and light combat helicopter (LCH) ‘Rudra’.”Source : (Economic Times.)

I know I will be watching this mass scale exhibition of Indian Aerial might, where there will be fly-by’s and the latest in Indian Air Force technology on display! IRON FIST will certainly be a historic point in India and the exhibition if all goes well will be marked as a celebration of the Indian Air Force.

IAF SUKHOI 30

Flying High! Largest Airline Merger worth $11billion!

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US Airways and American Airlines are merging to create the biggest airline in the world. The deal is worth $11 billion!

The initial talks between the two airlines had begun in August 2012 and the merging of the two airline companies was confirmed on the 15/02/2013; the merger will see the airline market become more competitive and close the gap between competitors such as  Delta airlines. The company will be operating under American Airlines whose creditors will hold 72% of the merged company, although the Chief executive of the company will be US Airways boss Doug Parker.

Mr Parker said of the merger “Our combined network will provide a significantly more attractive offering to customers, ensuring that we are always able to take them where they want to go”, the merger will see savings of $1 billion a year for the two companies, he also said: “The combined airline will have the scale, breadth and capabilities to compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace.”

For the public this merger should be good, as ticket prices should drop with the airlines being able to afford dropping their prices in return for more members of the public flying with the merged company and this is certainly likely due to more consistency being provided in flight times and availability which there will be much more of as the merged company will together have a total of 900 planes and operating more than 3,000 flights with over 100,000 employees and will be aiming to increase on all the numbers stated.

American Airlines has seen bankruptcy in the past whereas US airways has seen profits in the past few years, the US airways boss Mr Parker also seems positive on the revenue for the future saying that the “Combined airline will compete more effectively and profitably in the global marketplace.”

The new merger will be offering more than 6,700 daily flights to 336 destinations in 56 countries.

Although the two companies would like to see the merger happen, they are still to be subjected to the competition regulators of the US and the US bankruptcy court and their approval.

The BBC report on the merger and quote the Senate Commerce Committee chairman Jay Rockefeller and his concern about the two airlines joining forces: “Industry consolidation has created stronger and more financially viable airlines, which are necessary for our country’s long-term economic growth, but it has also resulted in fewer choices for consumers, higher air fares, and reduced air service to small-and-medium sized communities.”

This is the argument on the other side about airline mergers and although they may be positive for the airline and the public, it will mean more power to the airlines and whether they choose to misuse this power by hiking up airline prices is something everyone will be watching carefully.

Other mergers in the airline industry that have taken place are Delta airlines with Northwest airlines and Continental airlines with United airlines.

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General Motors: Pontiac G6’s Stop Short with Bad Brakes to Blame!

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550,000 Pontiac G6’s are to be investigated for an apparent problem of faulty brake lights and the way in which they are working. The investigation takes place amid reports from members of the public that the brake lights are not working when the brake pad is depressed and often on when the brake pads are not depressed, with this malfunctioning taking place, there is a danger of an accident taking place, which is why US Safety regulators have stepped in.

There was a recall for these cars several years ago when 8,106 G6’s were recalled and now it seems the problem has cropped up again. Mainly in models from 2005 to 2009. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are in charge of the investigations. Another problem that has been filed with the NHTSA is that the cruise control function on the G6’s do not function properly and disengage when the driver has not disengaged it.

Pontiac was a former brand of GM Motors when the G6 was produced and it is GM who have agreed to co-operate with the investigations of the NHTSA.

GM of course was the company that was bailed out by the US government from the verge of bankruptcy, the other companies that were bailed out were Chrysler and Ford. There has recently been reporting of GM’s year on year losses in the European and Asian markets although a slight profit in the US.

The latest from GM is the Corvette Stingray, GM says of the dashing vehicle “The 2014 Corvette Stingray is the most powerful standard model ever, with an estimated 450 horsepower (335 kW) and 450 lb.-ft. of torque (610 Nm). It is also the most capable standard model ever, able to accelerate from 0-60 in less than four seconds and achieve more than 1g in cornering grip. It is expected to be the most fuel-efficient Corvette, exceeding the EPA-estimated 26 mpg of the current model.”

The Corvette Stingray, is another article however, for another day, and the brakes are sure to work on this speed monster… let’s hope!

2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Indian Fighter Jet Crashes

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Rajasthan’s Barmer district was where the jet fighter went down, the pilot managed to eject safely before the crash which left debris over a radius of 300 metres.

The Fighter Jet was a MiG – 27 part of the Indian Air Force and the crash took place on Tueday 12/02/2013, the fighter jet was being piloted by Wing Commander Nishikant Singh who after ejecting was rushed to the Jodhpur’s Military Hospital. Pilot Singh’s condition was said to be stable and that he was in no danger.

The pilot was on a standard Indian Air Force operational flight and an inquiry is to take place as to what caused the crash of the plane which is from a Russian origin and now with the Indian Air Force. The flight was not long lived and lasted two minutes, the MiG-27 took off at 3.55pm from Uttarlai air base and by 3,57pm it had crashed 3km from the base. “The aircraft was on a routine sortie when it crashed near a hamlet, Allawani- Ki- Dhani, 30 km from Barmer, in the Western sector”, said defence spokesman Colonel S D Goswami.

Eye witnesses have reported that a young boy sustained injuries, although minor, which was inflicted through the debris which was sent in all directions, a house near the air base was also damaged. The appropriate authorities were informed by villagers when they saw the MiG-27 losing altitude and looking as if about to crash, due to the speedy reporting of the imminent danger, the fire brigade were able to reach the pilot and the crash site quickly and put out the fire.

The MiG-27 Jet Fighters have been controversial, as the Russian sourced air-crafts have seen quite a few crashes above twelve crashes since 2001.

It has been built by Hindustan Aeronautics after obtaining the license to produce the ground attack air-craft. The Indian Air Force refer to the MiG-27 as Bahadur (Valiant). The Air-craft is to be retired in 2017.

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The BMW Z4 Zagato Roadster!

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*This article is soon to be featured on Autoraiders.com

Read on for more on the BMW Z4 ZAGOTO ROADSTER BELOW:

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Initially BMW had a stint with Zagato one of the worlds finest craftsman of cars (Zagato is from Italy) and they produced for their first partnership together the BMW Zagato Coupe` for The Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este held at Lake Como in northern Italy; the car showcased there on May 25th 2012 and what a beauty the partnership produced! (See above photo featured in red)

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Three months later (August 2012) saw the alliance join together for the second time, between the two they showcased the BMW Z4 Zagato roadster! An even more beautiful showpiece and showstopper! The venue was Pebble Beach (California) and the Z4 Zagato Roadster was a commodity that everyone wanted to see!

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The prestigious Concours d’Elegance (California) 2012 was a perfect pit stop for this car to be showcased and you know it will only go on to attract more and more attention wherever it goes. This is the second collaboration between BMW and Zagato and I for one, hope it will not be the last. (See photo below featured in silver)

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Zagato is known for their handscraftsmanship and this fiery roadster was made within six weeks, from design to finished product, and it does not succumb to its predecessor in any ways. Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design said of the partnership “It was only with the expertise of both companies in the manufacture of high-end one-off cars and another display of outstanding teamwork that we were able to finish the car on schedule.”

Andrea Zagato says of the six week process “BMW is a high-achieving carmaker boasting a vast well of knowledge and technical capability in this area. When you combine that with our expertise in the creation of micro-series cars and our streamlined production processes, everything is in place to produce a beautiful model like the BMW Zagato Roadster in double-quick time”.

The Z4 Zagato Roadster and the BMW Zagato Coupe` will undoubtedly be collectors items as all Zagato models are, and of course the BMW Zagato Roadster has its distinctive trademark of a silver ‘Z’ on its sides near the front wheels. Alfa Romeo were the first to work with the Zagato coach builder and since then Zagato have made more than 200 Vmax concepts, special editions and micro-series, they focus on the shell of the body and incorporate their traditional measures of ensuring aero-dynamicty and lightweight construction as initial body designer Ugo Zagato learned his trade in aviation. The company has a family heritage passed on from Ugo Zagato to Andrea Zagato and Marella Rivolta-Zagato, who are now the third generation of Ugo’s family to continue with the Zagato studio and creations. Zagato was founded in 1919 by Ugo Zagato. (See Photo Below of Ugo Zagato)

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The Roadster is a convertible two door and a two seater car, obviously a car for the hot countries where there will be no rain to soak up only sun, although there is always the Z4 Zagato Coupe` which has a double bubble roof for those countries where there is torrential rain and the soft-top of the Zagato Roadster just won’t cut it although it too has a double bubble roof feature in a traditional Zagato hallmark, which will add to the value of the car in appearance and price. Unfortunately there is no price being given because this concept is not to go on sale, also BMW have not released any photos of the BMW with the roadster’s soft-top roof up, they have however raised the bar, standard, and the roof, metaphorically speaking, with this concept model.

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There are many features about the Zagato Roadster which are endearing to everyone and anyone, here are the most prominent of them:

  • The large yet elegantly stitched beige letter ‘Z’ on the headrests of driver and passenger, giving further association to its designer specification. Behind the headrests are beige shadow headrests which incorporate roll bars.
  • The BMW has its trademark kidney grille and it is an exquisite grille made up of small letter ‘z’s.
  • The front of the car has McLaren styled scoops although smaller in size, giving this Zagato roadster a racer look.
  • The lights are shaped finely and compactly and they are attractive to look at, directly above the headlights are razor-light LED’s.
  • The lights are twin and circular shaped.
  • The bonnet has been made with three-dimensions to it and has V lines from the BMW logo at the front creating the letter V, and gives the car further impressiveness about it.
  • Beautiful leather finish on the interior seats and roll-bars and side doors.
  • There is a small lip at the front of the car and this fits in with the look of the car and it adds to the cars racing appearance.
  • The alloy wheels are 19″inch in size and star-shaped with five spokes and include a matte finish to complement the rest of the paintwork on the body.
  • A meshed grille is present on the front of the car and are contained within the air scoops and above the lip at the front.
  • The seating is low and the driver sits down in a race like position inside the cockpit, making this car a real roadster.
  • There are futuristic concept styled indicators on the wheel archs, yellow at the front and red at the back.
  • The rear of the car has eloquent matte finished exhausts, one on either side, however BMW decided to be subtle in this aspect as they do not protrude from the car.
  • The lights on the rear of the car are one long strip with a black tint all across this strip and the lights cannot be seen, providing the roadster with a sense of mysteriousness about it.
  • There are also sporty looking scoops on either side of the car, behind the front wheel archs and on the bonnet on either side.
  • A curvaceous line is visible occurring from the rear of the door and reaching to the rear of the car.
  • The rear of the roadster features a diffuser ensuring smooth airflow.
  • Long wheel base.
  • The roadster is based on the  Z4 sDrive35is there are no specifications as to the engine under the bonnet or top speed, however estimates are that it has a 3.0-liter six speed engine. With this engine it would take a time of 4.7 seconds to go from 0-60mph and the top speed is said to be the same as the Z4 sdrive35is which has been electronically-limited at a maximum speed of 155 mph.

The rear is smartly created, it is smart, prim and proper with no sharpness about it and smooth curves around the edges, it is sculptured rather than chiseled. BMW had this to say about it: “Taken as a whole, the rear of the BMW Zagato Roadster has a very broad, low-slung appearance, giving the car a wide stance and planted muscularity on the road. Beneath it, the dark diffuser gives the BMW Zagato Roadster a squat, powerful stance. The body-colored surfaces between the tailpipes draw the final lines in the distinctive, low-to-the-road and broad-set looks of the rear end.”

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The interior is particularly worth mentioning in some detail, BMW says that the exterior and the interior both compliment each other well by blurring the two together: “The BMW Zagato Roadster consciously allows the boundaries between inside and outside to blur.” The interior is beige in colour and there is evidence of fine stitching everywhere, use of curvaceous brown lines on the inside of the doors and lights for both driver and passenger above the windscreen; attached to the windscreen is the rear-view mirror in a neat way.

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The left hand drive steering wheel and the seats make use of the colour beige and black and the armrest between the driver seat and passenger seat is beige and can be flipped up to conveniently store whatever is necessary; it leads forward to the idrive dial (controlling the on-board computer/display) and the gear shifter which has been richly doused in the beige colour too, providing this car with an expensive look to match its exterior outfit. The idrive display is hidden in the dashboard and rises from out of nowhere for the driver to view. 

The gear shifter allows you to drive the car in manual although the car is an automatic. There is also a switch which can be used to put the car into park, other switches that can be accessed with ease are the sport and comfort mode switches placed close to the gear shifter. There is a cd-slot to listen to music as you cruise along in this wonderful machine. The Zagato roadster has a start/stop engine button which is neatly placed to the right of the steering wheel on top of a metallic finished strip, alongside this button are four large dials which allow you to control different functions such as fan heating or cooling all laid on top of the same metallic strip. The Speedometers are large and shaped in a futuristic racing style, yet again an attractive feature of the car.

BMW says of the interior colours featured and the ‘Z’ for Zagato: “The interplay of colors and composition of details bathes the interior of the BMW Zagato Roadster in a sumptuous ambience, while the brown “z” embroidered into the seats is a further clue to its origins.”

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BMW also go on to mention the interior design and say “The interior itself boasts the clear structuring one would expect from BMW and invites the driver to give the machine around him a thorough workout. Details such as the sweeping horizontal lines along the inside of the doors and the full-length center console lend a rarefied sense of exclusivity to the sporty promptings and driver focus of the interior.”

BMW have mentioned that the Zagato Roadster is like its partner the Zagato Coupe` by being able to drive well at high speeds and also intended for these speeds.

The best quote from BMW on the Zagato Roadster is the following from the official press release: “The taut hallmark BMW surface treatment and Zagato’s clearly defined distribution of visual mass lend the BMW Zagato Roadster an athletic appearance – poised and eager, demanding to be driven.”

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Whether the Zagato Roadster will go into production remains to be seen although BMW have not ruled it out as yet! The same is to be said about its counterpart the Zagato Coupe`. Everyone will be wondering if their is soon to be another collaboration and many including myself will be keeping are eyes open for the next showstopper from these two companies.

The Zagato Roadster and the Zagato Coupe` may be celebrated pieces, yet they are still a matter of argument, as to whether they are different pieces when compared or whether the Roadster is the Coupe` with the roof off, some argue that they have different features and that what makes them different, others say there features are similar and they look alike. I personally would add to the debate by saying that the Zagato Coupe` is not as attractive as the Zagato Roadster and the roadster is exactly what it should be, which is a fine specimen of a roadster!

The Zagato Roadster was launched in California and it seems only right to provide some additional information about BMW’s presence in America:

BMW own the Rolls-Royce brand as well as the MINI brand and the figures for the car dealers in the USA are as follows:

“The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 114 MINI passenger car dealers, and 32 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.”

BMW of North America, LLC has been around in the United States since 1975 and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars began distributing vehicles in 2003.

“The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars.”

In South Carolina, is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing plant, for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. BMW in 2010 announced that it would spend $750 million to expand operations at the Spartanburg plant. This investment will produce around 240,000 vehicles a year, making Spartanburg the largest car plant in the United States through its number of employees. All signs that BMW are doing well and BMW will be wanting to continue to develop their standing further in the USA.

I’ll conclude by saying that this BMW Zagato Roadster is an exclusive concept model and if it does not go into production, it will, many would hope, have some influence on the design of future production models.

See Below for a Video of The designers of the BMW Zagato Roadster – Karim Habib, head of exterior design at BMW and Norihiko Harada, Chief Designer Zagato, where they touch upon the relationship with Zagato, the six week deadline, the launch for Pebble Beach and the design of the Zagato roadster.

   

Feel free to leave comments!

Raj Mehta

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A look back to: Mazda’s Rotary Engines and Hydrogen Initiative

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Mazda began in 1920, and had two transformations in name before they were officially called Mazda in 1931 although the cars still had the Mazda name on license plates before then. And they have become a successful company in many terms.

Mazda have gone it alone when it comes to engines, since 1967 Mazda have been producing cars with Dual Rotary Engines, in fact 1967, saw Mazda manufacture the World’s first dual rotary engine car, which went on sale. The car was called Cosmo Sport (S110). The rotary engine was invented by a German named Felix Wankel in 1957.

Cosmo Sport (S110)

“The Cosmo Sport recorded more than 3 million kilometers of road tests over six years. Its futuristic styling and superb driving performance delighted sports car enthusiasts throughout the world.”*1

First Two-Rotor Engine

The double rotary engine became a success for its role as provider to smooth driving, A year on 1968 saw Mazda deciding to expand from the Cosmo Sport car, and began installing double rotary engines in (large-volumes) coupes and sedans. 1970 saw Mazda begin exports of their dual rotary cars to the United States, which was a country with strict emission policies. Mazda were a keen contender to meet the standards, and did so, this was a result of Mazda’s aim since 1966 to reduce emissions, which saw the successful introduction of their exports within the U.S.

“The Model R100 (called the Familia Rotary Coupe in Japan) became the first product to be exported to the U.S., and equipped with the thermal reactor system, it met the current emission standards. Meanwhile, in the Japanese market, Mazda launched the first low-emission production vehicle in November 1972. This was the Luce AP, powered by the Type 12A (2 x 573cc) rotary engine, it came equipped with Mazda’s Rotary Engine Anti-Pollution System (REAPS).”*1

Mazda continued in the 1970’s to commit to their efficiency of fuel consumption, they developed a project dubbed the ‘Phoenix Project’ which aimed to become more fuel-efficient within one year by initially 20% and then with the final aim to reduce the consumption by 40%. With a Research and Development team backed by the entire company and a team who were so dedicated to a greener future from so early on, Mazda managed to accomplish these targets set by the ‘Phoenix Project’, it was cheers all around for Mazda and their green car vision.

“The success of the Phoenix Project was reflected in the sporty Mazda RX-7 (called the Savanna RX-7 in Japan) which was launched in 1978. As suggested by the project name Phoenix, it proved to the world that the rotary engine was here to stay.”*1

The rotary engine to date remains one of Mazda’s legacies and has seen many improvements and upgrades to see Mazda successfully becoming a champion of the rotary engine; some of these improvements have been the implementation of catalytic converter systems which provided lean burn and purified exhaust emissions.

Lean-Burn Rotary Engine

“Through fundamental engine improvements and newly developed systems, including the reaction-type exhaust manifold, the high-energy ignition system, split secondary air control, and the two-stage pellet catalyst system, Mazda finally completed the Lean-Burn rotary engine and launched it onto the market.” *1

Mazda went even further in 1982, when the company introduced a Turbo-charger for their rotary engines (The Cosmo RE Turbo), this was a first for rotary engined cars and again it was Mazda who had brought it to everyone’s attention and to the market!

It came with an electronically controlled fuel injection system, which provided the speed to make the Cosmo RE Turbo at the time, the fastest commercial vehicle in Japan, proving that rotary engined cars were special!

Mazda and their continual plans of advancements in the industry, soon after produced the “Impact-Turbo,” which was developed exclusively for the rotary engine and was crafted to ensure that the engine response and output was even better than its predecessor.

Mazda had developed the rotary engine and led to its advancements by example! Thanks to Mazda and the R&D team they came up with the most superior of rotary systems which were called the “Dynamic Supercharging system” (1983),  and the “Twin Scroll Turbo System” (1989).

In 1989, the Twin-Scroll Turbo evolved into the Twin-Independent-Scroll Turbo, which had a more simplified configuration. When this new turbocharger was coupled with other improvements in the engine, it provided more outstanding low-speed torque and improved responsiveness.

“Since 1983, Mazda has used a dual fuel injector system which features two injectors in each rotor chamber. Generally speaking, a small nozzle is more desirable at low speeds as it can atomize fuel more effectively for more stable combustion, while a large nozzle is better at high speeds as it can provide larger volumes of fuel to boost performance. Mazda’s electronically controlled fuel injection system was developed to control the supply of fuel to these nozzles over a wide range of engine operations. For the dual-rotor 13B-REW and the Triple-rotor 20B-REW rotary engines, both put into mass production in 1990, the dual injectors were further evolved into air-mixture injectors, which achieved more than double the degree of fuel atomization.” *1

As Mazda continued to develop their rotary engines to levels of extreme excellence, a pattern appears, a pattern that is of fuel efficiency and low emissions! 1990 saw Mazda’s refinement of their engines with the Type 20B-REW Rotary Engine and the Sequential Twin-Turbo, this progression from the 1960’s through to the 1990’s demonstrated Mazda’s commitment to R&D and they relied on their knowledge from early on through to the later period of the 90’s to establish themselves as leaders in the world of rotary engines, so much so that they even entered their road cars into race competitions.

“During development of the triple-rotor rotary engine, extensive road tests for performance and durability were carried out, including participation in international sports car races such as the famous Le Mans 24 Hour Endurance Race. All of which demonstrated how a mere production car could compete in the world of motor sports.” Mazda made racing history by entering the first rotary engined cars: here’s a link to where you can find out more about Mazda’s rotary engine race history, a few first place finishes against top competitors such as Porsche and Mercedes. http://media.ford.com/pdf/rotary6_e.pdf

“Mazda Chief Executive and President Takashi Yamanouchi recalled the victory of Mazda’s rotary engine at Le Mans 20 years ago, and called the rotary engine ‘iconic.'” *2

Mazda, it seems, have overcome all obstacles throughout the 60’s through to the 90’s and through to 2000, they are known for producing the World’s only rotary engine plant! Quite an achievement!

The latest and unfortunate ending to this story is that in June 2012 Mazda are said to be ending production of their Rotary engine cars!

Mazda will stop producing vehicles with its signature rotary engines in June next year because of poor sales and the costs of meeting emissions standards.

“Mazda spokeswoman Michiko Terashima said research and development on the rotary engine will continue, but production is now not making sense when considering the costs of meeting safety and emissions standards for new vehicles.”*2

“Mazda Motor Corp. said the latest edition of the Mazda RX-8 will go on sale targeting sales of 1,000 vehicles, but will end production in June 2012. The RX-8 is the only model in Mazda’s lineup with the rotary engine.” *2

Whether Mazda will re-start their rotary campaign, is what many green-car fans will be hoping for! This remains to be seen!

However there is always the Hydrogen initiative which could easily become Mazda’s new future even if rotary engines are not to be used within them!

Mazda’s Hydrogen initiative which started in 1993 with the HR-X2 and was unveiled at the 1993 Tokyo Motor show, the HR-X2 concept car featured a Hydrogen rotary engine. This car adopted metal-hydride to carry hydrogen fuel safely. Since then Mazda have produced a hydrogen-fuelled rotary engine concept at the Tokyo Motor Show in 1991. This car was called the RX8 Hydrogen RE and is a car which can also run on petrol. Since the 1980’s Mazda have been working on Hydrogen operated cars and the RX8 Hydrogen RE epitomizes their work in all its glory!

Mazda’s hydrogen engine has been developed to generate power by burning hydrogen. It is a very clean power source as it emits only water vapor rather than the gas carbon dioxide which is linked to Global warming.

“Mazda succeeded in commercializing the world’s first hydrogen rotary engine when it started leasing the RX-8 Hydrogen RE in February 2006. The vehicle provides a natural driving feel without sacrificing handling or acceleration, and offers enjoyable driving without pumping out harmful exhaust gases. The marriage of hydrogen and the rotary engine has made it possible to realize an “ultimate eco-car.”*1

Since 1991 through to 2008 Mazda have produced 12 MODELS which are hydrogen operated! There initiative is going strong and the Hydrogen Mazda green cars looks to be further prevalent in Mazda’s future! Exciting stuff!

I’ll conclude with a quote from Mazda’s Hydrogen Rotary Engine Initiative:

“The hydrogen rotary engine is a visionary power unit, leading towards a hydrogen-based eco-friendly society.”*1

SOURCES: *1 – MAZDA.COM

*2 – http://www.impomag.com/news/2011/10/mazda-stop-making-rotary-engine-vehicles

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

RE Chronicle
1588
  • Ramelli invented the first rotary piston type water pump.
1636
  • Pappenheim invented a gear type pump.
1769
  • James Watt invented the first rotary steam engine.
1799
  • Murdock also invented a rotary steam engine and succeeded in generating power.
1901
  • Cooley manufactured a rotary steam engine in which both inner and outer rotors rotate.
1908
  • Umpleby advanced Cooley’s steam engine into a rotary type internal combustion engine.
1923
  • Wallinder, Skoog, and Lundby announced their joint research on the rotary engine.
1938
  • Sensaud de Lavou further advanced the rotary theory.
1943
  • Maillard devised a compressor by applying the rotary theory.
1951
  • Felix Wankel collaborated with NSU to promote his rotary engine research and development.
1957
  • Wankel/NSU built a prototype DKM rotary engine.
1958
  • Wankel/NSU built a prototype KKM rotary engine.
1959
Jul.
  • Wankel completed the type KKM250 rotary engine.
1960
Jan.
  • Wankel/NSU tested their rotary engine in public.
1961
Jul.
  • Mazda made a technical contract with NSU and Wankel.
Nov.
  • Mazda completed its own first prototype rotary engine.
1963
Apr.
  • Mazda organized Rotary Engine Research Department.
1964
Sep.
  • A prototype sports car powered by a rotary engine is unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
1967
May
  • Mazda announced the completion of the rotary engine.
    The Cosmo Sport was introduced into the domestic market.
1968
Jul.
  • The Familia Rotary Coupe was introduced.
1969
Apr.
  • Mazda exported rotary engine cars for the first time (to Australia and Thailand).
Oct.
  • The Luce Rotary Coupe (front-wheel-drive) was introduced.
    Mazda’s rotary engine car cleared the US Federal Government emissions test.
1970
Apr.
  • Mazda received award from Japanese Mechanical Engineering Society for the commercialization of the rotary engine.
May
  • Export of rotary engine cars to Europe (Switzerland) started.
  • The Capella Rotary (powered by 12A unit) was introduced.
Jun.
  • Export of rotary engine cars to the United States started.
Dec.
  • Cumulative production of rotary engine cars reached 100,000 units.
1971
Sep.
  • The Savanna Rotary was introduced.
Oct.
  • Capella G-series, the first rotary-powered automobile with an automatic transmission, was introduced.
  • Cumulative production of rotary engine cars reached 200,000 units.
1972
Jan.
  • The Capella Rotary Coupe completed 100,000km endurance run, through eleven European countries and with its engine fully sealed.
Nov.
  • The first series production car with full emission control package, the Luce Rotary was introduced.
1973
Feb.
  • Mazda’s rotary engine car cleared the U.S. 1975 emission standards, and this fact was confirmed by EPA test.
May
  • Luce AP (REAPS-2) was the first vehicle approved under the anti-pollution incentive tax in Japan.
Jun.
  • Cumulative production of rotary engine cars reached 500,000 units.
Dec.
  • The Luce AP Grand Tourismo powered by 13B engine was introduced.
1974
Jul.
  • The Parkway Rotary 26 was introduced.
1975
Apr.
  • The Roadpacer was introduced.
Oct.
  • The Cosmo AP was introduced featuring a low emission rotary engine with 40% improved fuel-efficiency.
1977
Jul.
  • Cosmo L Landau top was introduced.
Oct.
  • Luce Legato was introduced.
1978
Mar.
  • The Savanna RX-7 was introduced.
Nov.
  • Cumulative production of rotary engine cars reached 1,000,000 units.
1981
Nov.
  • The New Cosmo and Luce Rotary were introduced.
1982
Sep.
  • The world’s first turbo-charged rotary engine model was added to the。。Cosmo (929) series.
Oct.
  • The turbo-charged rotary engine model was added to the Luce (929) series.
1983
Sep.
  • The RX-7 was face-lifted and the world-first turbo rotary engine model was added.
1985
Oct.
  • The RX-7 was entirely redesigned.
1986
Apr.
  • Cumulative production of rotary engine cars reached 1,500,000 units.
Sep.
  • The Luce was entirely redesigned.
1990
Apr.
  • The Eunos Cosmo debuted featuring the world’s first three-rotor rotary engine (20B-REW).
1991
Jun.
  • The Mazda 787B achieved overall win at the 59th Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Oct.
  • The HR-X concept car (with hydrogen RE) was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
Dec.
  • The RX-7 was completely redesigned (with a 255PS 13B-REW unit).
1993
Oct.
  • The HR-X2 concept car (with hydrogen RE) was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
1995
May
  • First public road trials of a hydrogen RE vehicle in Japan.
Oct.
  • The RX-01 concept car (powered by a type MSP-RE experimental engine) was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
1996
Jan.
  • The RX-7 was face-lifted (engine output increased to 265PS).
1999
Jan.
  • The RX-7 was face-lifted (engine output increased to 280PS).
Oct.
  • The RX-EVOLV concept car with the RENESIS experimental engine was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
2001
Oct.
  • A design prototype of the Mazda RX-8 (powered by the RENESIS) was unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show.
2003
Apr.
  • The Mazda RX-8 (with the RENESIS) introduced.
2003
Oct.
  • RX-8 Hydrogen RE (development vehicle) was unveiled.
2004
Oct.
  • RX-8 Hydrogen RE trials began on public roads with approval from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.
2006
Feb.
  • RX-8 Hydrogen RE launched on limited release basis
Mar.
  • Mazda Delivers First Rotary Hydrogen Vehicles to Corporate Customer Fleets
Apr.
  • Mazda Delivers Two Rotary Hydrogen Vehicles to Hiroshima Government Authorities
Jul.
  • Mazda to show RX-8 Hydrogen RE at Norway’s ONS2006 Exhibition
Oct.
  • Mazda Delivers RX-8 Hydrogen RE to Yamaguchi Government
2007
Feb.
  • Mazda Hydrogen Vehicle Takes Part in Cold Weather Testing in Hokkaido, Japan
Mar.
  • Mazda Delivers Hydrogen Rotary Engine Vehicle to Japan Automobile Research Institute
Nov.
  • Mazda to Participate in Norwegian National Project HyNor by Providing Hydrogen Cars to Norway From Summer
2008
Jun.
  • Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid Gains Government Approval to Begin Public Road Testing in Japan
Oct.
  • Mazda Hydrogen Rotary Vehicle Takes to the Road in Norway

TIMELINE CONCLUDES

FIRST PROTOTYPE ROTARY ENGINE

COSMO SPORT

Savanna RX-7

RX-8

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