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 August 17, 2010
Forecasting the future of Avgas – An attempt
Here is the outcome of the global investigation we conducted thanks to many of our subscribers and to direct sources within manufacturers and labs. Your comments and contributions are welcome.
1. It is possible but very uncertain that a lead-free 100 Octane Avgas be introduced on the North American market between 2015 and 2018 by 2 or 3 aviation fuel brands.
2. Until then, regular 100LL will remain available.
3. It will be a blend of petroleum-derived hydrocarbons, and of synthetic hydrocarbons produced by the Fischer-Tropsch process from coal through the conventional gasification as first step, plus possibly from biomass.
4. It will not contain any kind of oxygenates (alcohol, ether…), nor any additive which might be considered as critical from environment point of view, notably organometallics, such as methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT), or tetraethyl lead (TEL) or any other.
5. The 100 Octane rating (or very close to) would be obtained through a complex blending of petroleum and synthetic hydrocarbons eliminating low Octane components. It will essentially result in an optimal blend of aromatic (toluene, xylene, trimethylbenzene …) and isoparaffin content from an Octane enhancement point of view.
6. Because this blend will be complex and will contain ingredients obtained from several sources, including synthesis (which is energy consuming), it will be costly, and will push the price of Avgas above $10 per gallon in 2010 dollars. But affluent pilots who are stuck with their recent Meridian or Cirrus will accept that for some time.
7. It will substitute to 100LL without need for modifications of existing high-performance engines because it will not contain corroding oxygenates.
8. Its high cost and therefore price will however accelerate the obsolescence of the present fleet of piston-engined airplanes.
9. It will be politically favored, as it will also remain acceptable for older airplanes and LSAs flying a low time, said airplanes remaining free to use any lower Octane gasoline which happens to be locally available, Mogas, 94UL or other.
10. Other airplanes, of models presently in production (Cessna, Piper, Cirrus... the 30% of planes which consume 70% of Avgas), flying a high time and equipped with turbochargers, will survive until certified 310-350HP diesels will appear as OEM on these models.
11. The Cessna 172 will during this period be OEM'd with a 150-180HP diesel aiming mainly at the flight academy market worldwide. Said diesel may be a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke.
12. The phase-out of 100LL gasoline will coincide with a dramatic reduction of the US fleet of piston-engined airplanes, which are well over 30 years old in average.
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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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