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 December 14, 2010
Teledyne-Continental Bought by Chinese Interests aiming at developing the diesel technology inherited from SMA Engines.
Avweb is announcing today: Teledyne Continental Motors has been sold to Technify Motors, a subsidiary of AVIC International, a Chinese-based holding company with diverse business interests in the aerospace sector. The sale price, according to AVIC and Teledyne Technologies, was $186 million and terms of the sale included a commitment to remain in Mobile, where Continental has been on the former Brookley Air Force base since the 1960s. The sale will result in an infusion of new capital to rapidly develop the diesel technology Continental bought from SMA last spring, for both the Chinese and the international market, according to Teledyne's Jason VanWees, Teledyne Technologies' vice president for business development. He said that once the sale has cleared regulatory hurdles, it should become final by the end of the first quarter of 2011. Until then, Teledyne will continue to oversee TCM. VanWees said Tuesday that AVIC executives met with Mobile city officials recently and committed to keeping TCM on its large Brookley site, where it shares a complex of former military facilities with a number of aerospace companies on what is now Mobile Downtown Airport. He said AVIC is also impressed by other business interests in the Mobile, including a potential EADS plant to build A330 tankers for the U.S. Air Force and an expanding ThyssenKrupp steel mill. Although TCM's business has fallen off dramatically since 2008, it has remained in the black, but only through aggressive cost control. TCM's sales represent only a tiny fraction of Teledyne's $1.8 billion in revenues but, according to VanWees, as the corporate parent has acquired more technology companies, aerospace manufacturing is not considered its core competency. Of the 34 acquisitions Teledyne has done, most are in the electronics and instrumentation segment, with a smattering of defense-related businesses. "You have to an international strategy. We're not an aviation company," VanWees added. He said that with its extensive business relationship with companies like Boeing and Honeywell, AVIC represents a much better fit for TCM. One immediate goal, says VanWees, is an infusion of capital to rapidly develop the diesel technology TCM bought last spring from SMA. Although no one is sure of the timing, the Chinese general aviation market is seen as a significant growth opportunity and the diesel engine could be pitched into that market in the two- to five-year time frame. "We've been talking to the OEMs and most of them would like to have a diesel engine," VanWees said. As for keeping the plant in Mobile, VanWees said AVIC has made a strong commitment to do so. "This is Chinese ownership, no doubt. We've got a great low-cost lease at the former Brookley. How are you going to build a fully FAA certified manufacturing facility in China? Why do that?" he said. VanWees told AVweb that the current TCM management team will remain in place and that neither company expects any changes before March and perhaps not after that, either. Although capital will spur the diesel development, VanWees said TCM will continue to face the challenge of high-mix, low-volume manufacturing, because the stability of the business depends on the legacy aftermarket. But the growth will likely come in the international market with new products. "I don't think the plant is ever going to look like a car plant, where you have only a bunch of robots touching things," VanWees said. Nonetheless, TCM has invested in new manufacturing and quality control technology and is expected to continue to do so.
Andre’s remark: This is momentous news. AVIC is the spearhead for Chinese development in General Aviation. The Chinese Aviation Agency made it clear that China will never make 100LL available for the now emerging piston-engined market. Chinese think tanks analyzing the aviation engine arena are fully aware that diesel is the future. SMA has a proven, certified technology which is now recognized. As well, The Sunward Aviation private venture has taken an equity position in DeltaHawk Engines (U. S.) Diamond is already in China with his diesel planes. The writing is on the wall…
posted at 12:57 PM
News of December 06, 2010
The Finch (ex-Robin) Ecoflyer is the well known Robin DR400 equipped with a Centurion-Thielert diesel engine. It has been flying successfully for quite some time. It had the honor of AOPA Magazine, follow the link and read the report. It is a four-seater flying at cruise economy of 118 knots on 24 liters (6.4 Gal.)/hour. 37 of them are flying now, mostly operated by flight academies. 35 of them have the Thielert 135HP and 2 of them now have the 155HP. If you consider that the only new, OEM-diesel airplane available on the market now are the Diamond DA40 and DA42, and if you look at the prices, you will see that the Ecoflyer is by far the lowest priced, and constitutes today the sole practical choice for a flight academy ready to go diesel.
The Ecoflyer is certified in Europe. This means that its FAA certification, which has been in progress now for some time, should be confirmed any moment now: The Robin is an old, proven design. The Thielert is certified. If any US flight academy wants to get on the list I suggest they contact Finch Aircraft right now...
posted at 1:53 PM
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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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