In the late 1980’s a group of enthusiasts was working on the development of a six place amphibian in Sidney B.C., Bob Masters and Al Wilson were heading up the development of the Ford V-6 for Hugh Thomas’ new design.
In late 1994, Firewall Forward took over the operations of Canadian Airmotive Inc. of Delta BC and the manufacturing of the Honda Civic based CAM 100 aircraft engine. This engine rounded out the small plane end of Firewall Forward’s engine line-up and gave the company a solid entry into the kit built market.
As demand for automotive conversions increased, Firewall Forward mandate was to build custom aero-engines and Propeller Speed Reduction Units (PSRU’s) for the burgeoning non-certified aircraft market. The team brought together a wide variety of experience and expertise.
Bob Masters attended the Aero Industries Technical Institute in Los Angeles, and has accumulated over 10,000 hours primarily in flying boats and helicopters. He subsequently formed R.L. Masters & Company Ltd., a consulting engineering firm specializing in gasoline and diesel engine development, repair, and build up.
“A manufacturer has a moral obligation to research, test and prove his product before putting it on the market. When the safety of life and limb, as in the case of aircraft engines, depend on the integrity of that product, nothing short of total dedication to its development is acceptable.
Unfortunately, reports of component failure after relatively few hours in the air are all too frequent. Some are as low as 300 to 400 hours. One must draw one’s own conclusions regarding the quality of an engine with repeat problems.
It is not uncommon for some manufacturers, having recognized a design fault, to correct it and supply upgrade kits to correct the problem. That is as it should be – but is it proper or even ethical to charge the customer for such an upgrade kit? If a T.B.O. is set at a given number of hours, the customer should expect with reasonable care that the engine would in fact give good service for that period.
At Firewall Forward our selection of an alternate engine was made after exhaustive research. Consumer reports, automotive repair shops, and owners led us to a clear choice. HONDA was far superior in all categories. Owners with a quarter of a million miles of trouble free service were common.
Feedback from CAM 100 owners in the field has proven to be a continuation of the same performance and reliability as the HONDA line of motorcars. On the strength of these field reports our warranty of 5 years or 500 hours has been offered with confidence.
The HONDA Motor company spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing it’s line of engines founded on the winning cars in International racing. This excellence of design and engineering is now available to the flying public in the HONDA based CAM Series engines. ‘Ask the pilot who fly’s one!'”
R.L. Masters President
Director of Research and Development
Al Wilson, a long time friend and colleague of Masters, has 47 years experience as a machinist, shop foreman, and part owner in Wilson and Proctor Ltd., specializing in repair and maintenance of internal combustion engines. He has been involved in racing and speed-boat clubs.
Present Company Structure
With the passing of Bob Masters and the retirement of Al Wilson, the company is now in the hands of Archie Dobbins, a pilot and aviation technician, with a background in mechanics and electronics technology. Tooling and technology have been moved to an aircraft maintenance facility in Central Ontario, and Al Wilson continues to be involved on a consulting basis.
Firewall Forward Aero Engines provides continued support for all of the engines and PSRUs currently in use all over the world. The Camdrive 500 has become the flagship line of the company since re-introduction in 2013 of the new Camdrive 500+ PSRU. Competitive pricing, ease of installation and much higher power handling has made the Camdrive 500+ the most popular solution for high performance aircraft powered by V8 engines. The committment to quality and innovation continues as Bob and Al would have wanted.