October 2009 Issue
First Word: 10/09
Diesel With a Full Count, Electric On Deck
People who fly tend to be a bit cultish. We can remain devoted to products we love for the one redeeming value while tolerating the abuse of 100 failings. Weíre fans. Thatís a plus if youíre talking new technology. When the real-world operating experience of the Thielert-powered DA42 turned nightmarish, there was outcry and backlashóbut there were still devotees. Granted, outside avgas enclaves like the U.S., customers will put up with quite a bit to burn diesel. For some itís go diesel or go bankrupt, sooner or later. Diamond Aircraft is now staking a hefty piece of the bank that they can win back and gain fans by reinventing the aerodiesel on their own as the Austro. The Austro is not a shined-up Thielert (now Centurion) engine. Itís built on the same bones, but its construction is beefier. Aviaton Consumerís editor, Paul Bertorelli spent some time poking around that engine at the Diamond factory in London, Ontario. His impression is that that Austro believes that Thielert modified the original Mercedes block, head and injection system in ways that reduced durability. Modern, over-the-road diesel engines have head bolts as big as your fist a for a reason. Diesels pound the hell out of themselves and everything theyíre attached to. Heavy structure isnít an option you can skimp on.
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