News, facts, and comments on the coming revolution for piston-engine aircraft.
In 1998, one diesel engine flew on a converted airplane for the first time since 1945. Today, close to 4,000 singles and twins are flying. This is the beginning of a worldwide trend which will eventually allow a rebirth of the piston-engined aircraft, around new specs and new missions.
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News of August 18, 2005
Aviation Consumer's report on Diamond and Thielert misses the point
I am surprised to read Aviation Consumer's report. Once again, all aviation media still consider that the issue with converting to diesel is that, OK, you will save on fuel costs. This leads them to the unavoidable conclusion that savings at European costs where Avgas is $8/gallon and Jetfuel only $5 justify the high conversion costs, but not with US costs. Diesel is for Europe, not for the good ol' US of A. Wrong! Once converted, your plane becomes a different plane, with an increased market value because of vastly superior performance.
I know I am repeating myself, but let me again discuss this on our eternal Cessna 172, which is a plane I love, by the way.
My experience is that, facing a longish cross country flight, one saves more time by flying non stop than by flying faster and refueling more often. Which is why I have a 182 instead of a more economical 172: With only 40 gallons on board, counting 2 hours reserves for an IFR cross country flight (one hour for regulations plus one hour for the alternate), a 172 is left with only 2.5 useful hours of flight to "get there".
Now put a diesel on a 172 and what do you have?
At full cruise speed, you now have 6.5 hours of autonomy, meaning 4.5 hours with reserves. That's plenty enough for real IFR.
The ceiling is 17,500 feet. You can fly higher, which is better for thunderstorm avoidance (a common passtime in the US Dixieland: the Atlanta-Chattanooga corridor is called Thunderstorm Alley down here).
At a higher altitude, thanks to your turbodiesel that maintains power much higher, and to a constant speed propeller, your groundspeed is faster.
And you don't fear fire on board anymore.
And now comes the real surprise: Suppose you are down to 10 gallons, and, at the end of your trip, you run into unexpected adverse weather: Below minimums everywhere, or a sudden, massive storm front. On your old 172 you can start sweating...
But with your diesel, you reduce speed to around 90 knots and - surprise! - you burn only 2 Gallons/hour. This means you can still fly some 400 NM to escape any weather. Which is ample! Not that you would actually need to do it, but your peace of mind would stay there. Which also is a safety factor.
In other words, what you have is a different plane, that can deliver much more than the old one, besides actually costing you less on fuel.
Therefore it will command a higher market value, which is how you will get your money back. Here a remark: You did notice that market prices for used aircraft have gone up during last 20 years. And people tell you of inflated prices because of liability insurance costs which restricted for ten years the supply of new planes. This is true but there is another factor: With modern avionics, notably GPS, the same old airplane can deliver much more than 20 years ago.
Now, Aviation Consumer, what do you answer to that?
posted at 3:36 PM
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Every month: news, facts, and comments on the coming revolution for piston-engines aircrafts between 130 and 400 HP: Retrofitting a diesel engine to run on Jetfuel or Kerosene, reduce Gallons/Hour by some 30%, eliminate ignition systems (magnetos, spark plugs) and their problems, eliminate mixture control, increase TBO to 2,400-3,000 hours, increase performance between 6,000 and 12,500 ft., and drastically reduce Operating Costs.
The letter is intended for piston engines aircraft owners, manufacturers, fleet operators and FBOs, re-manufacturers of engines for these aircrafts, manufacturers of engine components and ancillaries, and all professionals acting in decisions of engine exchange or refitting at TBO, in North and South America, Pacific Rim, African continent, and all parts of the world were Avgas, Mogas, Kerosene and Jetfuel are available.
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