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 November 17, 2006
SMA expands presence in U.S. diesel-engine market
SMA has delivered 12 of its 230-horsepower SR305-230 direct-drive diesel engine to two installation centers in North America and appointed Luc Heugas as senior vice president of sales and marketing. Heugas announced that there are now 31 SMA diesel-engine airplanes flying at locations around the world. SMA's four-cylinder engine is approved as a firewall-forward kit for late-model Cessna 182 aircraft. Applications have been submitted to expand the approved model list to include 182N and 182P models. Heugas cited outstanding economy, reduced maintenance costs, single-lever FADEC engine control, reduced part number count, and approval for full-power operation as reasons to install the engine. During a cross-ocean flight from Paris to Oshkosh last summer, fuel costs for the SMA 182 were 31 percent less than fuel costs for the avgas-fueled Cherokee 180 that accompanied the 182. Heugas noted that SMA is looking for companies to develop supplemental type certificates for engine installations. Three distributors for SMA are now in place — one each in California, Texas, and Florida. The company will have six distributors by August of 2007. "We are certain that engines will be assembled in the United States," said Heugas. The present price for the full firewall-forward engine and propeller kit for STCed 182 installations is $80,000 to $85,000.
posted at 8:42 AM
Van Bortel begins installing Centurion aerodiesels on Cessna Skyhawks
Hamburg - The core product of Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH, the Centurion 1.7 diesel aircraft engine, will now be installed in brand-new Cessna 172 Skyhawk aircraft. Van Bortel Aircraft, Inc. from Arlington, USA will be responsible for replacing the conventional engines. Van Bortel will then sell the diesel Cessnas worldwide. As the world's largest Cessna reseller, Van Bortel will be supported in its activities by Cessna Aircraft Company (Wichita, USA). Van Bortel is currently presenting its new product at the AOPA Convention in Palm Springs, USA. The cooperation will give general aviation pilots a further opportunity to purchase a brand-new aircraft with state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient and easy-to-operate diesel engine technology. Thielert has been offering retrofit kits for older Cessna 172 for the past three years. At the AOPA in Palms Springs the world's largest Cessna reseller Van Bortel Aircraft, Inc. announced that starting from now brand-new Cessna 172 Skyhawks would be equipped with the Centurion 1.7 piston aircraft engines. To this end the conventional, air-cooled gasoline engine will be replaced by a state-of-the art Centurion 1.7 diesel engine that can also run on the standard aviation fuel kerosene. As of now, customers can therefore purchase the Cessna 172, the world's most frequently sold aircraft, with a kerosene engine and thereby become less dependent on conventional aviation gasoline, the availability of which is declining dramatically worldwide. Equipped with the latest technology such a single lever control, the engine also features a constant speed propeller, full authority digital engine control (FADEC) as well as a turbo charger for improved performance at high altitudes. "We are proud of our cooperation with the world's largest Cessna reseller," says Frank Thielert, Managing director of Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH. "The installation of our Centurion engine in brand-new Cessna Skyhawks presents buyers with yet another chance to switch over to the new generation of diesel-powered aircraft." Van Bortel has already put the first retrofitted Skyhawks into operation and uses them for demo flights. "We are amazed at how little fuel the Centurion engines use compared to the 180-bhp avgas engines," explains Howard G. van Bortel, president of Van Bortel Aircraft, Inc. "We are highly impressed by the quality and engineering of both the Centurion engine and the retrofit kits. Up to now no Skyhawk has been able to climb to 12,000 feet so quickly." Jasper M. Wolffson, Head of Sales and Service at Thielert, is also very enthusiastic about the cooperation: "The cooperation with Van Bortel Aircraft is opening up new sales channels for Thielert as well as further opportunities in the general aviation market."
DieselAir remark: Note that 1,500 Centurion aero diesels are flying today, and that total accrued flying hours reach the 300,000h figure. Therefore Centurion is the unquestioned leader on the world market. Also note that so far our Newsletter hasn't heard any negative report on any of the diesel manufacturers today, Thielert or other. Good ol' Rudolf Diesel is smiling in his grave: His engine remains not only the most fuel efficient, but also the most reliable.
posted at 4:38 AM
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. extends development contracts with Thielert
Thielert AG wins additional contracts from its US customer General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. (GA-ASI) for supply of its diesel aero engines. As part of the ER/MP (Extended Range/Multi Purpose) program for the US Army, the current contract for the year 2006 was increased by 50 percent. This increase consists of additional developments to the engine for the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) "Warrior". Thielert is the exclusive engine supplier for this program. "The new order from GA-ASI within the ER/MP program means continued growth for us in the defense technology market," said Frank Thielert, CEO at Thielert AG. "The Warrior UAV is now also under discussion for further military and civilian programs. Thanks to our diesel piston aircraft engines the Warrior is already able to fly using the single military fuel to be introduced in the future. In addition, our engines have civil aviation certifications and a high level of technological development with over 300,000 accumulated flying hours," added Thielert. Civil aviation certifications are becoming more and more important for drones like the Warrior because they are also used in civil airspace. In a study, the US General Accountability Office (GAO) approved the aviation-certified technology of Thielert engines as being fully ready to operate in US drone programs and gave them the highest "Technology Readiness Level". This is a unique selling proposition of Thielert diesel piston aircraft engines. In a further study, the GAO recommended the use of the Warrior UAV in all military services.
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, Inc. is one of the world s leading manufacturers of UAV. As part of the ER/MP UAV program for the US Army, GA-ASI was approved to develop the Warrior UAV. The Warrior UAV is the heavy-fuel version of the famous MQ-1 Predator, and will be used by the US Army for long-term observations, as a communications station and in supply missions.
posted at 4:04 AM
News from Wilksch Airmotive
I have received the following message from Wilksch Airmotive, the UK manufacturer of 2-stroke aero diesels of 100 and 120HP:
"Our Wilksch representative in Brazil Pedro Zanchetta has forwarded me an e-mail where you were asking about our progress and intentions. There seems to be a little confusion, so I would like to try and clear things up for you. We are very much aware of the emerging LSA market and are working towards becoming the first diesel engined aircraft in the LSA category. The Thorp T-211 has proven to be a very useful test bed for our engine and we have now the Full Permit to Fly here in the UK, the first diesel powered aircraft to have achieved this I believe. We continue to enjoy the improved peformance and very low operating costs, and it is still our primary aircraft. We are disappointed that the Thorp representatives in the US appear to not be aware of our engine, but this will be rectified. Some work is needed to make the airframe/engine combination meet the LSA requirements, but we are working closely to achieve this goal. There is also a Pietenpol Aircamper here in the UK, using a WAM-100 which has now achieved Full Permit status. The WAM-100 is a WAM-120 adjusted to give 100hp which can save weight by using a smaller cooling pack for the reduced horsepower. With many other customer project close to completion, we are very confident of our future in the marketplace.
We also continue towards the completion of the four cylinder 160hp WAM-160 project which will give you the power and performance of your traditional avgas burning aero engine, with no weight penalty and a much improved fuel burn. Many of the components for the 160 will be common to the 120 and have already been proven in service. This will be a great addition to our range of engines.
Our CI-Log engine display and data logging system has proven popular with our customers and gives us a great monitoring and diagnostic tool. An improved warranty is given to all those taking up the CI-Log option."
Your Sincerely, Kerry Ashcroft, Installations and Customer Support Engineer, Wilksch Airmotive Ltd
mobile: 07944 739234 - tel: 0870 170 9670 - fax: 0870 170 9678
DieselAir is especially interested in the WAM engines because, among the 100-120HP diesel engines, they will very probably be the first to be fully available in the US as experimentals and also to be certified. For a diesel in that range of power I think 2-stroke is the solution, otherwise the weight penalty compared with a gasoline engine is too high. The Cessna 172 Thielert, which looks like an excellent plane, does demonstrate this: With a 135HP Centurion 4-stroke, water-cooled, geared diesel it is heavier than with a 160HP O-360 (which it compensates by better performance at higher altitude.)
What Kerry says about the weight difference between their WAM 100 and their WAM 120HP is significant: As we have said earlier on this blog, the weight of a diesel engine is one thing, but its weight with cooling system and ancillaries is something else and varies with the actual power setting: if same engine, more power, more heat to eliminate.
posted at 2:35 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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