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.
DieselAir Research, Inc., the publisher of The DieselAir Newsletter, offers strategic intelligence services to the aircraft industry, its suppliers and its customers who ambition to benefit from this global change of paradigm which will mean new markets, new concepts, new services, new materials and components… You may be interested in our services if your firm designs and/or manufactures aircraft and components, aero engines, avionics, propellers and engine components, fuel systems or additives, advanced materials, or industry specific machinery for manufacturing of these; or provides aviation services such as fuel production or distribution; flight training, aircraft chartering, maintenance and operations (FBO’s); or airport management and design, traffic control, hangar, materials handling and storage equipment; or consulting and financial services for these industries; or advertising, sales promotion, trade shows, specialized publications.
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News of October 22, 2005
Enters Mistral Engines: Rotary engines for Avgas, Mogas and Jetfuel...
MISTRAL Engines SA was founded in April 2001 to take over the development of a line of aviation engines based on rotary-piston engine technology (Wankel). The project was started by a Swiss aircraft and engine maintenance company in 1994, which recognised the opportunity to propose to General Aviation a resolutely new propulsion technology. Several prototype engines were built around a Mazda 13B rotary engine core, and were tested in the purpose-built facilities at the University of Applied Sciences in Fribourg, Switzerland, and on a propeller test bench at Gruyères Airfield. MISTRAL Engines is located in Geneva, Switzerland, where it operates its new test facility and develops its engines with an international development team and network of manufacturing suppliers. In addition, the company collaborates with several renowned academic and industrial partners : Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, Switzerland and Hartzell Propeller Inc. to name but a few. MISTRAL Engines, LLC. located in Daytona Beach, Florida, is the company’s US subsidiary. In addition to North-American commercial, administrative and legal activities, our Florida site is also devoted to engine installations in airframes and to flight testing with our partner Embry-Riddle. Presently, Mistral engineers are fine tuning their two rotors Jet-A engine, thanks to Mistral’s powerful Digital Engine Management (DEM), allowing very accurate low level settings of the proprietary ignition and direct injection systems. Official results including Jet fuel consumption and power ranges are expected within a few weeks. Whether the Jetfuel version of this engine is a diesel cycle (compression ignition) is not clear.
Mistral claims the following Design Benefits and Highlights:
* Extremely few moving parts, resulting in high reliability and lower maintenance & overhaul costs, as well as in a greatly reduced vulnerability to catastrophic failures
* No reciprocating parts, resulting in turbine-like smoothness for better comfort, lower cabin noise and lower airframe and avionics maintenance costs
* Single-lever digital engine control for reduced pilot workload, easy starts, optimal engine settings in all flight phases and higher overall operational safety
* Liquid cooling for faster warm-ups and elimination of shock-cooling problems, giving turboprop-like operations and improved reliability and engine life
* A very compact engine, allowing improved cowling aerodynamics
* High power-to-weight ratio Engine weight comparison chart [.pdf file]
* Multi-fuel capability (mogas + avgas, Jet-A capability in development)
* Low-propeller speed, noticeably reducing noise emissions on take-off as well as in cruise
* Designed for 3,000 hour TBO, simple and comparatively cheap overhaul
* Low maintenance and general operating costs
* Easy to install as it bolts onto standard Dynafocal or bed-type engine mounts
Accomodates hydraulic constant-speed propellers.
On their website Mistral publishes comparative curves of power/weight ratios according to existing families of engines and technologies which are most interesting. According to them, the heaviest engine would be the Thielert 135HP. SMA comes second, being comparable to 6 cyl. Turbo Lycomings in power/weight ratio. The Mistral rotary engines appear as lighter for powers exceeding 200 HP. The curves confirm what we said earlier: 4-stroke diesel power/weight ratio improves with absolute power, especially above 300 HP. 2-stroke is bound to be lighter.
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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.
The DieselAir Newsletter is a confidential publication available only as printed material sent by mail (airmail for overseas), to fully identified individuals or businesses involved in General Aviation. Forums and online content may be printed at discretion of the publisher.