Plasma CD Ignition     

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last update:
April 17, 2016

Read about the latest technology demonstration from Light Speed Engineering.

click here: GOING FAST ON LESS GAS by Bill Walker

For a link to the April 8th General Aviation News Sun 'n Fun Today, click here:  You can find the article on page 30.

All dual systems should have this warning feature.

New Ignition Indicator Lights for Dual Plasma CDI Installations 

This simple application of 2 LED warning lights will alert the pilot when one of the systems is disabled either by the power switch, a failed breaker, or in the event of an internal problem.

Since the engine runs extremely well on one PLASMA CDI alone, a failure in the power supply, for example, might go unnoticed.  These ignition indicator lights give the pilot immediate notice that the engine is running on only one ignition system.

Click here for installation instructions.
follow this link to the Manual Diagrams Page for a pdf version.

"Will the GA industry ever see the kinds of radical improvements in efficiency and reliability that have come to other forms of transportation?"

Read AOPA editor Dave Hirschman's article and the ensuing discussion on the possibilities. 
Follow this link:

or go to and click on Editor: Dave Hirschman.

2008 Copperstate FuelVenture

Klaus Savier flies top scores in the Delaminator:

Best MPG (60.3 mpg @ 164 mph) and best overall score.

This event is similar to the CAFÉ 400 of the 80’s where fuel efficiency, speed and the ability to carry a payload is measured over a 400 mile course.

At the first annual Fuelventure, the competitors flew a 401 mile course with carefully weighed airplanes and a payload of up to 200 lbs / seat. The aircraft were weighed again after landing to determine the total fuel used and were scored with the following formula. 
                  mph^1.3 x mpg x payload^.6

This is not only a fun and very educational race, it also demonstrates the real world usefulness of airplanes and the effectiveness of modern technology.

The Delaminator uses two LSE Plasma III CDI ignitions and a proprietary, timed sequential, high pressure Fuel Injection system on a modified Continental 0-200 engine.

Click here to hear what FuelVenture is all about on AvWeb's podcast.

The Intersection of Speed and Efficiency
by Klaus Savier

As a result of the ever-increasing fuel cost, I decided to demonstrate the efficiency of the Delaminator, a highly optimized Vari EZE, a grocery getter and 25-year-old “Technology Demonstrator” for Light Speed Engineering.

This airplane is well known for winning all kinds of races since 1984.  From the CAFÉ efficiency races in the late 80’s to the AirVenture Cup race in 2007, where it won the 400 mile race from Dayton to Oshkosh at an average speed of 254 mph.   In 1990, two closed course world records were set in the C1-A weight class for the 1,000km and 2,000km distances at over 200 mph. They are still standing.

The Delaminator’s configuration for this endurance flight was identical to that used in the AirVenture Cup:

-         Same LSE Composite 64x86 Propeller,

-         Dual Plasma III CDI,

-         Our own Timed Sequential High Pressure Electronic FI,

-         No extra tank- standard 29-gal Vari Eze fuel system,

-         About 25 pounds of luggage: minimal tools, no spare parts.

On Monday April 7th, just prior to Sun ‘N Fun, the weather looked great for a non-stop flight across the country, coast to coast, 2000 miles.  I hopped in the Delaminator as early as I could bear and set out for Florida.  The tailwinds were good but not quite as strong as predicted so I had to slow down a little to increase my range.  It took 8 hrs and 58 min for the total distance of 1985 statute miles, SZP, CA to PFN, FL via ELP TX to avoid the restricted area.

Total fuel used was 25.8 gallons of the 29.2 carried in the standard tanks, leaving more than an hour worth of fuel remaining.  Average fuel flow for the entire flight was 2.87 gph.  Average speed was 220.6 mph.  Tailwind average was around 30 mph at 17500 ft.  The density altitude was above 19000 ft.  Of course, I was on oxygen for the entire flight.

Now for the technical run-down on engine configuration and the methods used to achieve this level of efficiency.  In the Delaminator, the maximum manifold pressure available at 17500 is almost 16”. See picture 1 and note the fuel flow of 4.2 gph at peak power giving a true airspeed of 204kts, resulting in 55.9 statute mpg.  As shown in picture 2 taken during this cross-country flight, the throttle was reduced by almost 1”.  While our custom FI automatically adjusts the mixture for all engine conditions, it can be biased just like the Plasma CDI timing. The automatic mixture adjustment was thus manually leaned to almost 300 degrees past peak EGT, where slight roughness occurs.  Manual increase of timing advance returns some power lost under these conditions and eliminates any lean misfiring.  As a result of these settings and lean burn, all temperatures are near the low limits, oil pump outlet temp is below 150 F and the cylinder head temperatures are all below 300 F.  See picture.  While leaning this far on the lean side of peak reduces power significantly, it is slightly more efficient to reduce power by leaning rather than by closing the throttle because the pumping losses of the engine are lower.

The best “no wind range” is normally achieved at best glide speed.  For the Delaminator, this is about 100mph when fully loaded.  Most of the trip was flown at 130 mph indicated at 17500 ft.  Prior testing has shown that the airplane achieves well over 80mpg at best glide speed.  Flying at 130 mph, the Delaminator still achieves over 60 mpg.  The tailwind brought the mpg to nearly 80 mpg.

While I could think of a faster airplane with a higher wing loading and a bigger engine, such a configuration could not come close to the efficiency demonstrated here at high altitude.  It seems that this combination of a highly optimized 0-200 engine and high aspect ratio wings offers a combination of efficiency and speed that simply cannot be beat.

 Klaus Savier   4-08

Picture 1

Picture 2



Cabri G2 Helicopter
Helicopteres Guimbal's new CABRI G2 
Photo credit: C. KERMAREC - Helicopteres Magazine

Plasma II CDI
Plasma II CDI

EASA Supplemental Type Certificate for Light Speed Engineering’s PLASMA CDI on a Lycoming O-360

Issued to Helicopteres Guimbal’s new CABRI G2

On December 10th, 2007, Helicopteres Guimbal received a Supplemental Type Certificate from EASA* for the Light Speed Engineering Plasma CDI as standard equipment on their new Helicopter, the Cabri G2.

This state-of-the-art helicopter received its Type Certificate on December 15th after years of development and testing.  

The modern design of the Cabri G2, powered by a Lycoming 0-360 engine, included the Plasma CDI from the beginning as one of many advanced concepts introduced with this aircraft. The Plasma CDI contributes to the excellent efficiency, reliability, reduced operating cost and superb performance of this all-new helicopter.

Over 20 years of experience with electronic ignition systems in experimental aircraft resulted in the current Plasma CDI design.

More than 3,500 pilots are enjoying significant fuel savings and improved performance made possible only by Light Speed Engineering’s Plasma CDI.

The certification by EASA confirms that the Light Speed Engineering Plasma Capacitor Discharge Ignitions are built to the highest standards, thoroughly tested and qualified for use in the rugged aviation environment.

This is the first STC issued for an all-electronic CDI without moving parts.

Reciprocal agreements between the FAA and EASA can facilitate further applications on certified aircraft in the future.

Review the website,, for further information on the Plasma CDI.


* The European Aviation Safety Agency is the European equivalent of the FAA.



Photo by
Tom Aberle
Phantom Biplane
Plasma CDI
251.597 mph
New Qualifying Record
2007 Reno Air Races
Chris Ferguson & Jeffrey Lo
Miss Gianna - Biplane
Plasma CDI
233.47 mph
Winner 2007 Reno Air Races
Klaus Savier
Vari Eze, Continental O-200
Dual Plasma CDI & 
LSE Prototype Electronic Fuel Injection System

Speed: 254.89 mph, 500 miles
Winner '07 AirVenture Cup,
Sprint Class



New "Skip Plate" Direct Crank Sensor Hardware for Plasma CDI


Light Speed Engineering, LLC has designed and tested a new crankshaft position sensor assembly for use on all aircraft engines.

Based on the existing Hall effect sensor technology used with the Plasma CD ignition since 1998, the new sensor board has a thicker mounting structure due to a skip plate installed on the sensor side.  The recessed sensors make the installation more robust and gap measurement much easier.  The main improvement is that the Hall effect sensors are now mounted flush or slightly below the surface and are potted in place.  This makes it impossible to damage the sensors should the gap not be adjusted correctly.  There is no change in electrical performance or in the sensors excellent reliability.

All Direct Crank Sensor boards will be shipped in this configuration.  Older systems can be upgraded in the field or by returning the sensor board with its wires and connectors attached, to Light Speed Engineering, LLC. Click here for shipping information.

Contact Light Speed Engineering, LLC for further details.

Direct Crank Sensor Skip Plate





New Lycoming Cylinders 
Ready for PLASMA CD Ignition Technology


On January 14, 2005, EAA Hotline published the following news release on the latest advances to ready experimental engines for new ignition technology.

New Aero Sport Power Engine Delivered
Sport Power recently delivered its first engine using Textron Lycoming's new cylinder enhancements for the homebuilt market to RV 6 builder Peter Cavallo. The Aero Sport Power IO-360-B1B 180+HP engine is fired by a Light Speed Engineering Plasma III CDI Ignition, with low-profile commercial spark plugs and a standard slick magneto mated to a new Series of Champion Iridium 14mm shielded plugs. This new cylinder eliminates the need for a spark plug adapter when using the Light Speed electronic ignition. Aero Sport Power specializes in manufacturing new custom built aircraft engines and overhauling specific models and accessories for experimental aircraft.
Copyright © 2004-2005 - Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc.

Click here for EAA Hotline newsletter.

Spark plug reducer bushings are not needed with these cylinders, providing additional cost savings on the PLASMA CD ignition system.






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Mail Address: P.O. Box 549 Santa Paula, CA 93061 U.S.A.
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