With so many machines and vehicles necessitating engines to operate, engines are available in a wide range of types. For boats in particular, the engines that power such apparatuses fall into one of three categories: outboard, sterndrive, or jet engine variations. In this blog, we will provide a brief overview of each engine type, the kind of propulsion they use, and how they work.

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A piston is part of a reciprocating engine with the purpose of transferring the force from the expanding gases in the cylinder to the crankshaft. In steam  reciprocating engines, valves are necessary to control the entry and exit of gases at the proper time in the piston’s cycle to ensure the engine is functioning properly. Piston engines mounted on aircraft have utilized several different types of valves over the years.

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Jet engines are complex machines. By definition, they’re “any of a class of internal-combustion engines that propel aircraft by means of the rearward discharge of a jet of fluid, usually hot exhaust gases generated by burning fuel with air drawn in from the atmosphere.” Originally adapted from the piston engine, the first jet engine to incorporate a turbine design dates back as far as 1921. English inventor Frank Whittle patented his design in 1930, began testing in 1937, and achieved first flight in 1941. While development for Whittle was slow due to lack of interest, independent work in Germany was significantly faster with a patent issued in 1935 and the very first flight a turbojet-powered aircraft, the Heinkel HE-178, by 1939.

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