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 May 24, 2006
Socata to move Trinidad production to Romania and introduce the TB2X with SMA diesel.
EADS Socata is planning to transfer production of its TB20 and TB21 piston-engine aircraft to Romania and revamp the product line with the addition of a third variant – currently known only as TB2X – to be powered by an SMA diesel-cycle engine. Socata is in talks with the Romanian government and hopes to have an agreement in place this year, says the group's vice-president general aviation, Jacques Lordon, adding that the target for first aircraft deliveries is 2007. Socata would subcontract work to Eurocopter Romania, which would share the production with its Romanian state-owned partner IAR at its Brasov site. Production of the range of piston-engine aircraft – principally the TB20 and TB21 types with retractable gears – now takes place at Tarbes in south-west France, and is only in response to specific orders. Socata’s vice-president of marketing Andrew Knott says there could be a market for as many as 100 of the revamped aircraft a year. He adds that other improvements would probably include an avionics upgrade. He predicts that the aircraft’s customer base would mirror that of the company's turboprop line, with around 80% of sales in the USA.
Remark: At this time one Trinidad SMA has been flying with success for quite some time. It is the only retractable single equipped with diesel flying so far.
posted at 9:45 AM
Important announcement from GolfAlpha Aviation. Owners of specific airplane models listed here are the first concerned.
GolfAlpha Aviation & Associates at Atlanta (USA) Peachtree-Dekalb Airport (GAA) asks all aircraft owners who may consider converting their planes to diesel to contact them. GAA proposes to syndicate the interest of several owners of the same airplane model, numerous enough to create a potential market that justifies funding the STC. GAA will put them in contact with aero diesel customer service licensees and aircraft shops which are qualified and experienced in engine exchange, modification and conversion. GAA will then organize equity funding for converting a demo plane, demonstrating its ability to fly under Experimental Regulations, then converting owners aircraft to be operated under same conditions, then finally undertaking the FAA test programs leading to an STC for the diesel converted aircraft model. Once that stage is completed, all aircraft owners that joined the bandwagon at the start will own an STCd diesel airplane and the stockholders funding the STC will control its market.
As our readers know, aircraft models the conversion of which is are already STCd worldwide are: Cessna 172 US included, and Piper Cherokee, and Cessna 182 except the US. Several projects are envisioned or already in progress to convert other models. GAA intends to concentrate on 4 diesel manufacturers: Thielert-Centurion, SMA, Wilksch and DeltaHawk, and on a list of twins and fixed-gear singles including notably Piper Aztecs, Cherokee 6, Pawnees, Navajo and Chieftains; Cessna 150, 152, 177 fixed gear, 185, 205, 206, and Skymasters; Aero Commanders Twin-pistons; Beech Dukes and QueenAirs; SOCATA Morane-Saulnier Rallye.
If you are interested, contact them care of DieselAir Newsletter, or Leonard Harris, GolfAlpha Aviation at: firstname.lastname@example.org
posted at 9:37 AM
Thielert announces major new products.
Hamburg/Berlin, 16 May 2006 – The German company Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH, a subsidiary of the listed group Thielert AG, today announced the launch of a major product offensive at the Berlin Air Show (ILA). In addition to the integration of the Centurion 4.0 350 bhp jet fuel piston engine into further aircraft, the product range is to be rounded off with a new engine. The new Centurion 3.2 will generate 230 bhp and closes the gap in the output class between the successful Centurion 1.7 and the Centurion 4.0. "We are pursuing our growth strategy by consistently expanding our product range. The acquisition of Superior Air Parts, Inc. in March already saw us win new customers in General Aviation. New engines and engine integrations will enable us in future to cover the entire spectrum of piston aircraft engine technology," states Frank Thielert, CEO and founder of Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH. The global customer service for these jet fuel engines will also be continuously enhanced. Today, there are already some 111 service centers in 97 countries, and the service centre network is constantly being expanded. Thielert aspires to new supplemental type certifications for the integration of its powerful 350 bhp Centurion 4.0 into several models built by the American aircraft manufacturer Cessna.
The conversion to the fuel-efficient jet fuel engine is being offered for the single-engine Cessna 206 and the twin engine Cessna 340, 414 and 421. "The Cessna 206 and 414 are, as are the 340 and 421, widely used workhorses in General Aviation. We are catering to the request of numerous aviation companies of finally being able to refuel with standard aviation jet fuel/ kerosene. In conjunction with the low consumption, the direct running costs are also reduced by around 60 per cent," explains Frank Thielert. As with the Centurion 1.7 for the Cessna 172, Thielert will also be offering a pre-assembled Firewall-Forward-Kit, in which the engine is already integrated into the frame and connected to the peripherals. By fitting the Centurion 4.0, the Cessnas acquire a new attractive dimension compared with conventional engine configurations. The Thielert engine offers enhanced safety thanks to shorter take-off runs. The low consumption of, on average, 45 liters (12 Gal.)/hour per engine permits a longer range and optimized payload, and this at a higher cruising speed. The design of the engine pods for the twin-engine models is impressive with its aerodynamic efficiency and effective styling. It is not necessary to modify the cowling of the Cessna 206. Thanks to the lighter-weight propellers, converting the Cessna 414 to the jet fuel engine has virtually no impact on the weight.
In General Aviation, engine-propelled aircraft are categorized into three output classes. They are equipped with engines that generate outputs of around 150 bhp, 230 bhp and 350 bhp. With its Centurion 1.7 and Centurion 4.0 jet fuel engines, Thielert already offers engines for the lower and upper output classes. Thielert has now announced that it is also looking to cover the middle output class. The new engine will go by the name of the Centurion 3.2. It generates over 230 bhp (172 kW) and, like all Thielert engines, will be based on the latest diesel technology and reliable automotive components. "The Centurion 3.2 will also be turbocharged and liquid cooled. In addition to the transfer box, the well-known fully electronic engine control system (FADEC) is to be used again, which permits user-friendly flying by means of single-lever controls," announces Frank Thielert. The development and certification of the Centurion 3.2 will ensue over the next 36 months, continues Thielert. The maiden flight is expected to take place in late-2007, with series production expected to start in 2009. The engine will be suitable for aircraft such as the highly popular Cessna 182.
The company has been pushing ahead with the further expansion of its international network of authorized service centers by training up technicians. Both service mechanics from aircraft manufacturers and independent service engineers have been trained at the engine plant in Lichtenstein/Saxony and at the new training centre at Superior Air Parts, Inc. in Dallas/Texas. These are now authorized to carry out services and warranty work on the Centurion engines. Aviation companies from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and other countries in Europe have been incorporated into the worldwide service network on the basis of contracts. As such, the number of CENTURION service centers has risen within the space of one year from 60 in April 2005 to its present total of 111 in May 2006.
Two further distribution partners for the Netherlands and Hungary have been acquired in the form of Vliegwerk Holland bv and Hungarian Aircraft Technology & Services Ltd. In their respective countries, these partners will now be looking after both the service side and also the distribution for the CENTURION engines. This sees the number of distribution partners representing Thielert worldwide rise to eleven.
posted at 9:35 AM
News of May 14, 2006
You must read Jim Cavanagh in Aviation Consumer, May 06: Why 100LL wont die
Jim explains in very convincing terms that Avgas will survive a very long time simply because there is a market for it, and it is a profitable business. And it will remain so for decades: It is for the same reason that you can still buy Zippo lighter fluid even though everyone uses a throw-away gas lighter. You pay $50 a gallon but on a very small amount! He fights the notion that there would be a need for alternative engines and fuels because of an unfounded fear that Avgas would disappear in the US. He describes in detail the processing actors from refinery to airport who have a role in producing, shipping, distributing and selling Avgas. He explains very well why Mogas is not the answer: it often causes camshaft corrosion, carburetor gumming (for older planes), and engines suffer of the inconsistency of available Autogas, changing from supplier to supplier and with the season. So what you save on fuel, you pay and then some at TBO.
Jim shows a very interesting graph of wholesale fuel prices since 1986: From 1986 to 2006, Avgas went from $0.9/Gallon to around 1.80 while JetA went from 0.45 to 1.85 and Auto Fuel from 0.85 to 1.90. These figures show therefore that Avgas is the fuel the price of which has increased the least, while JetA price increased the most. This is not surprising. The lower the initial price, the higher is the incidence of higher oil prices. They also tell you that retail margins on Avgas are incredibly high…
As for Avgas market, it is mostly in the US of course, and Jim correctly explains why aero diesel is taking off first overseas, where Avgas prices are truly forbidding, or where Avgas disappears.
He comments on diesel saying that it will not impact significantly on the US fuel market for at least another 5 years, and this is again right: Even if you had 2,000 diesel aircraft flying in the US in 5 years (and you won’t: ask for our world market forecast) its impact on Avgas market would be negligible with over 230,000 airworthy piston aircraft in the US.
However, Avgas is also disappearing in US regions where the demand is too low in absolute volume and the shipment cost are getting too high: American Northwest, Hawaii, Caribbean islands, US Pacific islands… and of course the rest of the world. So that diesel will, as Jim says, grow much faster overseas than in the US. Then the US will catch up. We see this happening in the 2010-2020 decade. Meanwhile if you are one of the smart Americans who buy a diesel now, expect its resale value to hold very well.
posted at 11:32 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.
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.