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 November 05, 2005
Diesel Saga 1 - Did you know that the Hindenburg Airship had diesel engines? Read on, it has to do with your future diesel plane.
The Hindenburg had 4 Daimler-Benz 1,100 HP diesels, to carry 50 passengers plus a big crew. It was over 800 ft long, and over 140 ft diameter at its largest section. And it needed as much fuel to cross the Atlantic as a Boeing 747: kerosene, in both cases. But a 747 can carry 7 times more passengers and goes some 7 times faster. Its predecessor the Graf Zeppelin, by far the most successful airship – it made 74 return trips to Rio de Janeiro, several round the world trips with passengers, never had an accident and ended as scrap metal – had 5 diesels: 12 cyl., 570 HP Maybach. Visit http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Graf-Zeppelin-Hamburg-Amerika-1937_i421193_.htm
Other aircraft using diesels were flying the German Junkers 2-stroke, Jumo 200-series with opposite pistons and double geared crankshafts, the most fuel efficient engine ever designed. Visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_Jumo_205. and http://www.enginehistory.org/Diesels/CH4.pdf They were the Dornier 18 flying boat, the Junkers 86 bomber, the Blohm & Voss Ha 139 flying boat (German equivalent of the PBY), and the superb Dornier 26 4 engine flying boat with a range of 4,400 miles, Visit: http://www.warbirdsresourcegroup.org/LRG/do26.html Engine power went from 500 to 1,000 HP. Projects were in development at the end of the war aiming at much higher powers.
Why was the aero diesel concept abandoned after WW2?
The most obvious reason was that it was essentially a German technology and that the German engineering teams, plus most of their blueprints, test benches and results, and labs had been captured, destroyed, or dispersed. Also both the allies and the Soviets were obsessed by taking control of what was obviously superior, and of a strategic nature, in German know how: rocket engines and their fuels, rocket missiles, possible nuclear research, turbojets, and high speed aircraft. Diesels would have been of interest for commercial airliners, but in that field the apparent superiority was American with the superb Wright and P&W radials, and to some extent British with the remarkable Bristol Hercules sleeve-valve radials. Also the Atlantic scene had changed: Before the war, there were no airfields; therefore the obsession with flying boats and airships that do not need one, and with ultra long range planes which the Germans were thinking of. After the war, airfields were in place in Gander, Goose Bay, Shannon, Reykjavik, the Azores… PanAm’s DC3s could fly across the Atlantic in three 1,500 NM legs. It was a long trip, but reliable; surplus DC3s were a dime a dozen; and gasoline was cheap… So the aero diesel engines were moved in the drawer of “wrong time, wrong specs” technology, together with airships and mega-flying boats.
However, Mercedes-Benz had already developed a diesel sedan, and went on after the war, being for a long time the sole manufacturer of such diesel passenger cars. They were quickly discovered by European taxi drivers who for a long time were the sole supporters of that technology. Why?
This will be my next story on the aerodiesel saga.
posted at 6:33 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.
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.