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 May 06, 2007
Niger, Africa: Roger Krenzin on the SIM Diesel Cessna 182
'You want to put jet fuel in that little airplane?' the air traffic controller at Ryan Field in Tucson, Arizona, asked incredulously when I requested taxi instructions to the nearest FBO that had jet fuel. Kevin Rideout and I were flying a Cessna 182Q equipped with the French 230 hp SMA diesel engine conversion, so my answer was a resounding yes! Long-time SIM pilot Jim Rendel had asked me to help Kevin, SIM pilot in Niger, Africa, ferry the aircraft from Porterville, California, to JAARS in early January 2007. It would be there several months undergoing modifications before proceeding to Africa in the spring. After a day and a half of ground school in California and a basic flight checkout, Kevin and I crossed the U.S. in 17.7 flight hours. We experienced true airspeeds of 145 knots at 9,000' pressure altitude, ground speeds of over 170 knots, and 10.5 gallons per hour fuel burn. A warning light en route had us switching the throttle to a manual backup mode, followed by a precautionary landing in Chanute, Kansas. We then had to wait there until a technician from the factory arrived with a replacement engine control unit. Fortunately, the remainder of the flight went smoothly. We at JAARS are privileged to help SIM with their venture into this new technology, and we will be watching closely as they put the airplane into service. Pray with them for wisdom and success in the implementation of this aircraft in their program in Africa.
Questions answered by Roger:
Q. Why would SIM want such a small plane?
A. Avgas in Niger costs over $16 a gallon, whereas Jet A is just $6. Until higher horsepower diesel conversions in larger aircraft are available, the best option for SIM at this time was the Cessna 182. In a year and a half of service, SIM believes they will recover the conversion ex¬pense in fuel savings.
Q. What STCs are there for this conversion?
A. The European STC was obtained in September 2003. Approximately 40 aircraft with the conversion are flying in Europe and Africa. The FAA STC certification came in July 2006. The plane purchased by SIM, N5318N, was only the second with FAA certification, the first being the prototype. The conversion is done by Tule River Aero-Industries, Porterville, CA. The SIM aircraft is the first diesel in mission aviation.
Q. What are the pros of this aircraft?
A. Reduced fuel consumption: 10.5 gallons per hour at full throttle at 9,500 feet compared to 12 gph at 65% power with the original engine; higher TBO: 2,000 hours now, and they are hoping for 3,000 hours in the future; and the ability to maintain over 200 horsepower to 10,000 feet turbo¬charged.
Q. What are the cons of the diesel conversion?
A. A higher empty weight, thus a reduced useful load; the center of gravity is further forward; Jet A weighs 6.84 pounds per gallon instead of 6
pounds per gallon for avgas, thus some of the advantage of the reduced fuel burn is offset by the higher weight of the fuel; some mounting bracket failures for the intercooler in the engine compartment, which we suspect are due to insufficient bracket thickness with high vibration in certain conditions, particularly at initial startup when cold.
by Roger Krenzin, JAARS pilot and mechanic. The ConRod, February 2007
posted at 10:35 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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