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Engines and Propellers

In addition to this list, I have compiled a table with Light Engine Weights and other technical data for the engines below.

Really Light Engines (below 20 kg/44 lbs)

  • Solo 210 - very lightweight single cylinder 2-stroke from Germany (14-20 HP, 12 kg). Also see Extrem Paramotors France which have set up a nice combination of a Solo 210 and 3-blade Arplast prop.
  • Lark - lightweight single cylinder 2-stroke from the UK, available with electric start and generator (14-20 HP, 12 kg).
  • Raket 120 - originally for go-karts, now for aircraft (14.9 HP, 6.8 kg).
  • JPX - developed for drones the 2-cylinder D-320 is now offered with belt drive reduction for paramotors (24 HP, 34.2 lbs).
  • König - small, radial, 3 and 4 cylinder, 2-stroke engines with high power to weight ratio.
  • Kawasaki 440 - light opposed twin 2-stroke. Used with a 3 bladed 52" warp prop in some models of the Quicksilver MX ultralight.

Light Engines (above 20 kg/44 lbs)

  • HKS-700E - relatively light 4-stroke twin made by HPower (60 HP/116 lbs)
  • Rotax - most widely spread 2-stroke engines, from two to four cylinders. (Rotax Owners Association.)
  • Zenoah - small one and two cylinder 2-stroke engines. Also see their US Dealer.
  • Two Stroke International (2si) - heir to the Amw and Cuyuna 1 to 4 cylinder 2-stroke engines.
  • Hirth - small one and two cylinder 2-strokes (F-33 single is 22 HP/ 35lbs; F-23 and 2702 two cylinders are 40 HP and heavier).
  • Mid-West Engines - their rotary engines have a very good power to weight ratio and thus offer a real (if costly) alternative to 2-strokes with the reliability and lower consumption of 4-stroke engines.
  • Wankel Rotary GmbH - the other manufacturer of rotary engines. Besides a 37 HP single rotor and a 75 HP twin rotor engine, Wankel offers the Twinpack (TM) engine that combines two twin rotors onto one single crank shaft. (Rotary Engine Website.)
  • Briggs & Stratton - this manufacturer of Go-kart engines offers an interesting 4-stroke 20 HP engine, the Vanguard, which has been sucessfully used in the DA-11 high efficiency airplane.

Heavier Engines


  • Sport Prop Propellers - extremely light carbon props, ideal for ultralight airships.
  • Arplast - great props made in France for paramotors and more.
  • IVO Prop - popular composite propellers.
  • Warp Drive - an other popular manufacturer of light composite props.

Warning! Materials and ideas listed here are in part unproven and may be hazardous to use in the construction of experimental hot air balloons and airships. Building and flying experimental aircraft involves significant risk and may lead to serious injury or death. Always obtain professional advice when building or flying human-carrying balloons and airships!

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