About Us

Jabiru Titan Tornado
Ben Krotje taxis the first Jabiru-powered Titan he and Pete built.

Jabiru North America, LLC, a family-owned and operated business, is the world’s largest distributor of Jabiru brand aircraft and aircraft engines. In the late 1990s, Pete Krotje (pronounced like “Karate”) and his son, Ben, turned their hobby of building and flying Experimental aircraft into a business when they became a dealer for Titan Aircraft at Brennand Airport in Neenah, Wisconsin. Their early ultralight aircraft were powered by two-stroke Rotax engines. After a few failures, they began to explore the freshly-introduced four-stroke Jabiru 2200 as a more reliable option. Pete received his first Jabiru 2200, s/n 22A319, in 1998, and it was a huge success on his Titan Tornado. By 1999, the Krotjes were a dealer for Jabiru engines and ran a builder-assist company that specialized in the Titan Tornado, early Jabiru aircraft kits, and later the Esqual, a Spanish composite low-wing lightplane that would evolve into the present-day Arion Lightning.  

A pair of J230-SP Special Light Sport Aircraft fly in formation over Shelbyville.
A pair of J230-SP Special Light Sport Aircraft fly in formation over Shelbyville.

Jabiru USA Sport Aircraft was established in 2001 by the Krotjes as a full-service Jabiru center, offering sales & service of Jabiru aircraft engines and airframe kits. By 2004, the business outgrew the small facility in Neenah, so the family moved south to their present location among the rolling horse pastures of Shelbyville, TN. In 2005, Jabiru USA began manufacturing turn-key Jabiru Special Light-Sport Aircraft. Together with Jabiru PTY LTD, Jabiru USA is one of the top 10 Light-Sport manufacturers (ByDanJohnson.com) in the USA. Today, Jabiru LSA owners fly all over the USA for pleasure flying, traveling, and flight training, enjoying one of the best safety records in the Light-Sport industry. Over 3,000 of the 7,000+ engines produced by Jabiru are flying in the USA on Light-Sport and amateur-built aircraft. 

In January 2016, Jabiru USA split into two new companies, Jabiru North America and Sport Aircraft Services.  Jabiru North America is the sole North American distributor for Jabiru engines and aircraft, as well as a manufacturer of firewall-forward kits for a variety of experimental-amateur built aircraft. Sport Aircraft Services, LLC is owned and operated by Ben Krotje as a full-service maintenance facility for Jabiru engines and experimental and light-sport aircraft.

The Jabiru engine is light, powerful, and efficient. Many would even call it a thing of beauty. It’s different from any other type of aircraft engine. To give our customers added knowledge and experience with it, we offer periodic Jabiru engine maintenance and installation seminars at our Shelbyville facility and in various locations around the country. Our goal, with the seminars and our everyday service, is to give builders and owners of light aircraft outstanding support.


Jabiru Aircraft PTY LTD of Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia

Jabiru was started in 1988 by Rodney Stiff and Phil Ainsworth to develop an affordable, reliable and efficient light aircraft to make flying possible for more people. In October of 1991, the type certificate for the first Jabiru aircraft was awarded, but only one month later, the Italian engine manufacturer that was chosen for the Jabiru ceased aircraft engine production. Unwilling to compromise the reliability of a four-stroke for the light weight and power of a two-stroke, the undaunted Jabiru team decided to design their own engine for their new aircraft. Thus, the unique dual mission of engine and aircraft manufacturer was born.

Since then, Jabiru has built thousands of aircraft and engines, with aircraft manufacturing centers in Australia and South Africa, as well as a growing fleet of light-sport and experimental aircraft in the U.S. With its light weight, simplicity and ample power, the Jabiru engine is a popular choice for kitplane builders in the U.S. and in many areas of the world. In 2009, Rodney Stiff was awarded the Dr. August Raspet Memorial Award by the Experimental Aircraft Association “for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of the design of light aircraft.” To learn more about Jabiru Australia, visit www.jabiru.net.au.


Our most common question: What is a “Jabiru,” anyway?

“Jabiru” (jabuh-roo) is a common name for the Black-Necked Stork, a large bird native to Australia. The Jabiru mycteria is a different species of stork native to Central and South America. Jabiru storks are quite impressive, standing 5 feet tall with a wingspan between 7 and 9 feet, but we still think our airplanes are prettier than their namesake.

Female Jabiru flying over the Northern Territory of Australia. Attribution: Djambalawa at en.wikipedia