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 March 04, 2012
Will Steyr Motors be the first one introducing a 300HP aero diesel?
Many readers ask me when shall we finally see a certified 300HP+ aero diesel on the market, able to equip a Cessna 206, A Bonanza, a Mirage, a Cirrus SR22 and even possibly a helicopter? We know that it will take several years. Until now, possible contenders seemed Centurion and SMA Engines, although none of them has the resources to complete this development now. Two other serious firms now seem able to beat them.
Various announcements from Diamond Air, Steyr Motors and Austro Engines indicate that they jointly attempt to develop a redesigned marine Steyr Monoblock Motor into a 280HP 6-cylinder engine and later a 440HP engine.
The other actor is TEOS Powertrain Engineering, a joint venture of two French manufacturing firms well known in race cars and aviation engines: Mecachrome, and D2T Powertrain. TEOS undertakes developments in diesel, gasoline and hybrid powerdrives for aviation and other markets.
Eurocopter, the world leader in helicopters and a subsidiary of the EADS Group, is following closely both developments, and regularly confirms interest in a diesel helico, even though projects take more time than expected. A few months ago, EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti was quoted by Aviation Week saying that the engine for the demonstrator already has been chosen, but said little more beyond that it will weigh around 550 pounds and deliver 300 kw of power while burning about 220 grams – 0.07 gal. – per kilowatt hour. The goal is to cut fuel consumption by 40% below that of a comparable turbine-powered helicopter, had said Olivier Jouis, Eurocopter’s director of environmental matters. However, cutting fuel consumption by 40% is vague: Compared to what? To another aero diesel?> To a gasoline engine? Jouis acknowledged in Aviation Week report that there are plenty of technical challenges to be overcome. Getting the tolerances right for airborne applications is “not trivial,” he pointed out, nor is design of the reduction gear, which will have to endure the stresses associated with the torque and vibration of a piston diesel engine. Jouis said that the engine will have “more than eight cylinders” to minimize the vibration and torque stresses. Meanwhile, France-based turboshaft specialist Turbomeca has shelved its plans for such an engine.
One thing is sure: Helicos are working tools which fly a lot, and which are hampered by their turboprop engine in terms of SFC. Turboshafts are very compact. Their power-to-weight ratio is very favorable. However, their fuel consumption is high. For relatively small power requirements, a diesel engine is much better from that standpoint. Any diesel would allow helicopters longer and more flexible missions, if the weight is right and if the vibrations can be kept in check. So, the helico market might play a major role in activating the birth of the certified diesel of more than 300HP.
Stay tuned as usual!
posted at 12:37 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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