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 April 26, 2010
GA Industry and EPA Prepare to Get the Lead out of Avgas: With my comments.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has formally begun the regulatory process required by the Clean Air Act that may ultimately result in standards mandating the general aviation industry’s transition to unleaded aviation gasoline (avgas). The EPA has issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), which is a key opportunity for the GA community to comment on this possible new environmental standard and the development of a plan for identifying, evaluating and transitioning to an unleaded fuel. This is particularly important given the technical complexity and safety implications of removing lead from aviation gasoline because there is not a high-octane replacement unleaded avgas available today that meets the requirements of the entire GA fleet. In the ANPR, the EPA recognized the complexity by stating, “Converting in-use aircraft/engines to operate on unleaded aviation gasoline would be a significant logistical challenge, and in some cases a technical challenge as well.”
Remark: Research for such a replacement has been going on for some 40 years for a 100 Octane no-lead gasoline. Many possible substitutes are known, whether different fuel compounds or additives. Each of them faces a practical impossibility: either cost, or too corrosive notably for the higher performance engines, or too toxic to handle.
The agency also acknowledged that a joint effort will be critical in the likely case that engine modifications will need to be developed and certified. “Given the potentially large number of affected aircraft and the potential complexities involved, a program affecting in-use aircraft engines would need careful consideration by both EPA and FAA and the two agencies would need to work together in considering any potential program affecting the in-use fleet,” EPA wrote.
Remark: 30% of the US fleet of piston-engined airplanes which represent 70% of Avgas consumption needs such a no-lead 100 Octane fuel. The remaining 70%, which fly less and less and use less performing engines, could be refitted to fly with a 95 Octane fuel (Mogas possibly). We expect that a significant fraction of these airplanes, the average of which now exceeds 40 years and which fly very little now, will be scrapped. This means several tens of thousands of planes on the US Register.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the Experimental Aviation Association (EAA), the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA), the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) and the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) have devoted more than 20 years of research and development to identifying a viable alternative to the 100 “low lead” avgas formulation used today by most piston-powered aircraft. The industry stakeholders look forward to continuing their work with the EPA and the FAA on establishing a realistic standard to reduce lead emissions from GA aircraft along a transition timeline that balances environmental benefit with aviation safety, technical feasibility and economic impact upon the GA industry.
Remarks: We are not sure yet whether EPA and FAA will finally agree on phasing out leaded Avgas in 2015 or 2017. But we are sure that phasing out will not be delayed further. Meanwhile, outside USA/Canada, Avgas availability is getting worse and worse, and General Aviation is getting ready for a single fuel for all airplane engines: Jetfuel. We can appreciate this by the fact that the fleet of diesel planes is bigger and developing faster outside North America.
posted at 11:56 PM
News of April 12, 2010
Centurion has delivered the first clutches designed for extended operation of up to 600 hours to its customers, while the life span of the fuel feed pump has been doubled. Extension of the hours of operation for transmissions and engines will follow in the second quarter. The 155 HP Centurion 2.0 S is now available as a retrofit kit for Cessna 172 models. With the development of new markets and expansion of its network of dealers Centurion Aircraft Engines has delivered more than 360 engines in 2009. Starting in April Centurion will deliver its new clutches designed for 600 hours of operation to its customers. These will now be built into all new engines and supplied as replacements with every 600-hour maintenance check. "We anticipate approval for the 600 hours of operation by September," says Centurion chairman of the board Jasper M. Wolffson. Extension of the hours of operation time for transmissions and the Centurion 2.0 engine is also on the verge of completion: Thus transmissions designed to operate for at least 600 hours will be available in new engines and as replacements with every 600-hour maintenance check in the second quarter of 2010, while Centurion 2.0 engines will hopefully be certified for a life span of 1,500 hours instead of 1,200.
Remark: The old 1.7 liter 135 HP is certified for 1,000 hours but is getting phased out as the last ones are replaced by the 2 liter; for the 2 liter 135HP, confirmation of a certification to 1,500 hours is imminent. For the 2 liter 155HP present certification is for 1,200 hours and as flying hours accumulate should be extended to 1,500 in the not too far future.
As well the life span of the fuel feed pump has been doubled to 1,200 hours. In the next step it will be adapted to the extended engine life span of 1,500 hours, so that in the future this part will no longer have to be replaced during the entire life of an engine. Centurion has been working incessantly for more than one year on lowering operating costs for its customers by extending the hours of operation for components such as clutches and transmissions as well as the Centurion 2.0 engine. "Under the direction of Prof. Kappler our development team has carried out outstanding work," notes Wolffson. "And it was particularly important for us to not make any compromises when it came to safety." With the Centurion 2.0 S the company launches a further innovation on the market: With immediate effect the 155 HP engine will now be offered as a retrofit kit for the Cessna 172. At identical weight the Centurion 2.0 S generates 20 HP more than the Centurion 2.0. "Those who were already excited about the flying performance of a Cessna 172 with the Centurion 2.0 will certainly be inspired by the Centurion 2.0 S," assures Wolffson. The Robin DA 400 will also be equipped with this engine, and the STC is expected soon. With approvals in Brazil, Eastern Europe and Asia, Centurion has been able to develop a number of important new markets since AERO 2009. The Centurion 2.0 is now certified in a total of 60 countries worldwide, and is serviced by over 33 dealers and more than 300 service centers. "Establishment of the sales company Centurion proved to be a success on the market and at the same time improved cooperation with both customers and dealers," summed up Wolffson. In 2009 more than 360 engines could be sold, including an order for Shandong Bin Ao Aircraft Industries, the Chinese joint venture partner of Diamond. More than 2,600 Centurion engines have to date completed more than 2 million flying hours in general aviation.
posted at 5:40 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.