All posts by André Teissier duCros

At last major news on the diesel aircraft market!

I have been silent on this site for several months simply because nothing significant was happening in the aero diesel arena (which we follow here since 2002).

No new engine  nor new diesel plane getting certified (interesting new designs came out, but none of them demonstrated significant progress in terms of Specific Fuel Consumption compared with earlier diesels)

no significant change in sales volumes (Diamond maintained its leadership on the market, but its annual production never reached a breakthrough figure and only contributed to maintaining an almost flat curve of world sales for piston engines),

no progression of diesel planes sale which would really show that diesel was changing the market of small piston-engined planes  (The world’s Nr. 2, Robin Aircraft, did progress from confidential to less confidential sales, while the following competitors did not emerge on the market…)

Yes, Cessna and Piper do offer now their basic trainers (172 and PA28) with a Continental diesel CD100 engine, but at such prices that sales have remained confidential.

Yes, Mooney developed an interesting and beautiful 2-seater plane using the same CD100, but certification still is far down the road.

Until  now: Continental Motors, world leader by far, has boosted its diesel replacement time to 2100 hours from 1500 hours for the 135HP and 1200 hours for the 155HP. Gearbox and timing chains now have a TBR doubled, to 1200 hours.

It doesn’t seem that important. I can tell you it is. Because… Continue reading

The Higgs engine is a diesel, 2-stroke, directly derived from the Lycoming O-360.

The Higgs engine on test bed.

The Higgs engine on test bed.

The Higgs engine is a converted Lycoming 360 engine. It is a 2 stroke jet burning engine. Higgs is validating the technology at the moment. Previous experience was acquired with a 35 c. i. (600 c. c.) V4 diesel, with which Higgs demonstrated on test bench a power of 41kW (56 HP) on Jet fuel, while the engine weight was 17.55kg (38.6 Lbs.) which if confirmed on a demo plane will be remarkable, especially on such a small engine.

New concept V type engines have gone through the concept stage and Higgs is now busy with detail drawings, planning to start cutting metal in Feb 2016.

Continue reading

Aurora’s Pilotless Twin is a customized DA42 now completing flight tests.

Elaine Kauh writes in AVweb:

The sight of an otherwise normal-looking light twin flying around the patch with no one in the cockpit has just put a new spin on unmanned aerial systems. Aurora Flight Sciences of Virginia announced it completed a series of test flights of its Centaur Optionally Piloted Aircraft in June as part of a project with the Northeast UAS Airspace Integration Research Alliance (NUAIR Alliance) of Rome, New York. The tests took place at the alliance’s headquarters at Griffiss International Airport and are the first of their kind at a federally designated UAS test site. The Centaur, a specially equipped Diamond DA-42, demonstrated taxi, takeoff and landing in a videoreleased by the alliance.

DieselAir Aurora pilotless DA42

The Centaur’s ability to fly with or without a pilot opens the twin to a broader range of uses, and converting the aircraft to “unmanned flight mode” can be done in under four hours with two people, according to Aurora Flight Sciences. Control equipment carried in the Diamond’s cargo space allows the aircraft to “effectively deploy itself” and fly beyond line of sight of ground operators, according to the company’s website. “This aircraft is coming into high demand from a range of customers, both military and commercial interests, in the U.S. and abroad,” Aurora chairman and CEO John S. Langford said in the company’s announcement.

Our comments: Aurora Flight Sciences, 350 employees in Alexandria, VA, is an unusual company… Continue reading

Superior Air Parts will offer the Gemini diesel 2-stroke as option on the Legend Cub. The story and our comments.

Oshkosh, WI (July 20, 2015)  —Scott Hayes, VP Sales and Marketing, Superior Air Parts, Inc., announced that the American Legend Aircraft Company now offers the 100-horsepower, Gemini Diesel engine as a factory option on its popular line of Legend Cub light sport aircraft.  “We are really excited about offering the Gemini Diesel engine on our Legend Cub,” stated American Legend Aircraft Company President, Darin Hart. “With its high torque, very efficient fuel burn and the ability to run on Jet A, diesel or bio-diesel fuels, the 100-horsepower Gemini will be an extremely popular engine option for Legend Cub buyers around the world.” Hart said that the Gemini Diesel would be offered as an option on the factory-built wheeled and float-equipped models, as well as the kit-built versions of the Legend Cub.  “We are extremely proud that the American Legend Aircraft Company, a leader in the LSA industry, has selected the 100-horsepower Gemini 100 uniflow diesel as an option on its factory-built and kit aircraft,” Hayes said. “We just introduced the engine this past April and to already have a mock-up mounted on a Legend Cub here at Oshkosh is a tremendous testament to the growth opportunities this engine brings to the LSA segment.” Hayes also said that a Legend Cub fuselage with a full mock-up of the Gemini 100 diesel installation was on display at the Superior Air Parts booth during Oshkosh AirVenture.

The Legend Cub, a modern replica of the ibiquitous Piper Cub, will be OEM'd with the Gemini diesel 2-stroke.

The Legend Cub, a modern replica of the ubiquitous Piper Cub, will be OEM’d with the Gemini diesel 2-stroke.

DieselAir - gemini-diesel-engine

Superior Air Parts’ Gemini aero diesel: 2-stroke, opposite piston, 2 crankshafts.

“With an installed weight of just under 200 pounds, we expect the 100-horsepower Gemini Diesel to deliver performance comparable to the O-200 powered Legend Cub, but with greener operations, greater fuel efficiency and Jet A/diesel fuel flexibility,” Hart said. “We are especially excited to offer the diesel option to our owners who operate in remote locations or in parts of the world where 100 LL Avgas is expensive or difficult to find. The Gemini Diesel option will really expand the reach of Legend Cub aircraft.”

The Gemini Diesel offers a number of advantages over current diesel and piston engines, including:

  • Projected to have up to 20% lower fuel burn than conventional engines
  • Jet A is a global fuel solution with better availability, quality, consistency and pricing
  • Operators can fly the same range as a standard engine on less fuel or get more range on an equal fuel load
  • High power-to-weight ratio
  • Highly efficient, two-stroke power
  • Higher engine torque at lower RPM
  • Mechanically simpler design, with fewer moving parts
  • Retrofittable with many current piston engine designs
  • Greener operations with much lower emissions

About American Legend Aircraft Company

American Legend Aircraft Company continues to be one of the most successful manufacturers in the Sport Pilot category and is noted for its exceptional product support. American Legend is renowned for building a true Cub, one that is sensibly modern, competitively priced, and built to last. The Legend Cub, Super Legend and Legend AmphibCub at Oshkosh AirVenture 2015 were on display in booth numbers 358–359. For further information on the Legend Cub, visit:

About Superior Air Parts, Inc.

Superior Air Parts, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the Superior Aviation Group, is a leading manufacturer of FAA approved aftermarket replacement parts for Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines. In addition, the company manufactures the FAA certified Vantage Engine and the XP-Series Engine family for experimental and sport aircraft builders. See the Gemini Diesel along with Superior’s entire family of engines and FAA PMA parts at Oshkosh AirVenture 2015 at booth 257. For more information, visit:

Press release from Dale Smith, Media Relations Representative, Superior Air Parts, Inc. 904.400.1000,

Our comments:  These are important news for several reasons. Continue reading

Diamond Moves Ahead With Hybrid Drive

Paul Bertorelli reports in AVweb:

DieselAir - Diamond Hybrid

The Diamond DA40 Diesel-Hybrid.

Diamond Aircraft’s Austria headquarters is well along with a third-generation hybrid-drive electric aircraft design that it hopes will serve as a certification template for future electric aircraft. The new airplane is based on a DA40 composite airframe, but rather than a geared conventional prop driven by a diesel engine, the aircraft will have a single Austro AE300 diesel driving a generator to power a pair of small, high-output electric motors mounted on a canard. Diamond CEO Christian Dries told AVweb that the company is partnering for a third time with Siemens AG, the large German electrical conglomerate, to produce a workable hybrid drive. It’s the third such project Diamond has undertaken with both Siemens and EADS. In 2011, the company developed its first hybrid-drive concept and in 2013, it flew a proof-of-concept hybrid drive in an HK36 motorglider that it dubbed the E-Star. That aircraft, which accumulated about 20 test hours, also had a Siemens motor and generator, but a rotary powerplant rather than the diesel planned for the second project. “This airplane is based on serial production technology. Most likely this airplane will not come on the market, but this is a so-called certifiable program. That means in this airplane, we help the authorities set the standards for electric airplanes,” Dries said. Continue reading

DeltaHawk To Begin Engine Production

DieselAir - DeltaHawk engine photo

DeltaHawk’s V4, 2-stroke engine originated in 1996 and has accumulated significant experience by now.

On AvWeb, Mary Grady reports:

DeltaHawk Engines, based in Racine, Wisconsin, has sold a controlling interest in the company to the local Ruud family, and plans to start production on their four-cylinder diesel/jet-A engine design sometime this year. The investment enabled the company to immediately hire seven engineers and make plans to hire 100 workers by the end of 2016. The amount of the Ruuds’ investment was not disclosed. The engine has been in development since 1996. The company says that compared to competitors, the engine delivers 8 percent lower fuel burn and 45 percent longer range. Doug Doers, founder of DeltaHawk, will remain with the company as chief technology officer. Alan Ruud will take the CEO position. “Our experience in transitioning innovative ideas from R&D to full-scale production is a perfect fit with DeltaHawk,” Ruud said. “This company has great business potential and a keen focus on the pulse of the industry and their customers.” Ruud was the founder of Ruud Lighting, which was sold in 2011. See our Comments here. Continue reading