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 December 25, 2005
UK: Wilksch Airmotive Ltd. is gearing up to produce twenty 2-stroke aero diesels per month by 2007.
These are the highlights of a phone interview with Martin Long, Head of Sales & Marketing, who has been working with Mark Wilksch since the origins of this small innovative firm (contact him at email@example.com), and with David Lambourne, Managing Director, a more recent recruit. Mark Wilksch and Martin Long were previously design engineers with the famous Cosworth Engineering firm, designer and manufacturer of race car engines. David has been with Wilksch for 18 months, was for 14 years a Design Liaison Surveyor with the UK Civil Aviation Authority, and for 11 years as a development engineer with Rolls-Royce Aero Engines before that. Wilksch (http://www.wilksch.com/) originated as a development company in 1994, and is now becoming a production site capable of significant production volumes. The firm has now 15 employees, will break even from a cash flow point of view when selling 10 engines per month at some time in 2006 and plan for 20 engines/month by 2007. He feels confident they will make it because the response of the UK market to diesel is very strong: Jet fuel price is 1/3rd of Avgas here. Worldwide interest is growing fast and Wilksch Airmotive have already sold to customers in 10 countries.
The Wilksch WAM family of 2-stroke, inverted, liquid cooled engines consist of two 3-cylinders: WAM 100 and WAM 120 (for 100 and 120 HP) and one 4-cylinders of 160 HP. A 5-cyinder is also being considered for the future. They run at around 2,750 rpm max. The propeller is driven direct (no gearbox). Wilksch claims a very light weight for its engines: typically 2.3 lbs/HP for 120 HP and 2.2 for 160 HP including mount, propeller, silencer, heat exchanger, oil and coolant. Including all ancillaries, the weight goes up by 60 lbs. Martin expects he can demonstrate, when comparing identical aircraft equipped with either the DeltaHawk 160 HP or theirs, that they have an advantage of around 50-55 Lbs. In the case of a Thorp, they can already make the comparison with an O-200 since they own and operate two Thorps, one with 120 HP diesel and one with a 100 HP conventional engine: The weight is almost the same. With diesel, the Thorp burns 15 litres (3.5 US gallons) per hour.
3 Wilksch engines are flying today on Thorp T211, Pietenpol Aircamper and Europa aircraft. Several more aircraft are in the final stages of build and should be flying early next year. These include 2 more Thorp,s 2 Europa aircraft, a Long EZ and several RV9s. There should be 9-10 aircraft flying with a Wilksch by mid 2006. The prototype, 2 cylinder engine flew in 1997. Wilksch Airmotive is currently working on PFA approval for several installations and EASA certification. Funding: The company has been funded by private investors and was awarded DTI Smart award, and will be self supporting within 6 months. The company has just refinanced to enable certification and WAM 160 to go ahead. A significant proportion of the additional finance has been provided by the same small group of private investors, faithful to the project. It is planning to sell 8-10 units/month by the middle of next year. Current order book is over 30 WAM 120s and 11 WAM 160.
Sales in the US: Wilksch has two orders from EAA members and is about to ship their first engine to the U.S. The firm is actively looking for distributors in the U.S. A/P training is simple and will take one week in Gloucester (there are definitely much worse places in the world) and must be done in the UK for the time being. Wilksch is also looking at maintenance support requirements for the future and is talking to a Part 145 organization about possible co-operation. Also Indus Aviation has delivered its first Thorpedo two-seater in June, after receiving US special light-sport aircraft certification. The all-metal aircraft, an updated version of the 1960s-vintage Thorp T211, is assembled in Dallas, Texas using components manufactured in India by Taneja Aerospace & Aviation. A version of the T211 powered by the 120hp WAM-120 is expected to be available by 2007.
posted at 1:40 PM
News of December 01, 2005
A very interesting Pirep that came on our Forum from Jeff, regarding the Cessna 182 SMA conversion
All comments on Avgas/Jet-A weight I read are interesting but I am sorry to say that in a Diesel conversion, the superior weight of JET-A is not an issue.
We have been flying a 1980 C-182-Q retrofitted with SMA-230hp for six months (over 130 hours flown) and our conclusion is that it really transforms the capacity of the aircraft and the way the aircraft can be used. Let me give you an example with one of our typical trips: We regularly fly high altitude (11,000-12,500 ft due to mountain) 400-450 NM route in Mexico. Lets assume 3 pax + load (20 lbs per pax + 120 lbs on the back), meaning Pax: 3 times 180 = 540lbs, and Load: 3 times 20, +120 = 180lbs. With a standard C182 for such a route I used to fill the tank full, giving me: Avgas load: 88 gal times 6 = 528lbs. Total load: 1,248lbs. Empty weight: 1,860 lbs MTOW: 2,950 lbs. Max payload: 1,090 lbs.
Take off weight is in our case: 1,860 + 1,248 = 3,108 lbs, meaning an over weight of 158lbs. If you have to take off to a high density level (typical in Mexico with high temperature), forget it. If you have to climb to 12,500 to pass over bad weather condition or mountain, you can forget it as well unless you have turbo.
Now come back to my regular fly with the C182-SMA. For such a fly I fill only 55gal (route will required 36Gal + 14gal utile reserve). Note: Do not forget that in case of problem at the end of the flight I can set-up the power at 40% giving me 90kt and 2 hours of safety margin at 4gal/hour, demonstrated! So, now I have a Jet-A load: 55 times 7 = 385lbs, Pax + load: 540 + 180 = 720lbs. Total load: 1105 lbs. Empty weight: 1,910 lbs
MTOW: 2,950 lbs. Max payload: 1,040 lbs. Take off weight in or case: 1,910 + 1,105 = 3,015 lbs. The over weight versus 2,950 Lbs is still 75lbs. (Remark from Andre, Publisher who has a 182Q: That’s peanuts.) But now the big differences is that you have a 230hp turbo which is similar to the most modern Lycoming Turbo C182 with 3,100 MTOW. SMA did not perform the MTOW increase in its STC because of the cost (structure test analysis) but I can guarantee that the C182-SMA at 3,015 takes off without any problem over 6,000 ft and still climbs at 450 ft/min at 11,000 ft.
Conclusion: Your 182 retrofitted with the SMA Diesel engine will not just reduce your DOC but completely change your aircraft performances and increase your safety. That is why it is not correct to just compare retrofit cost to price of Avgas overhaul or manufacturing exchange. Now apply this to a Piper Arrow or a Saratoga (when a 300hp diesel will be ready) and you will understand why Diesel retrofit could completely change aircraft specs, and create a new market.
posted at 4:15 AM
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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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