Industry News

June 2009 Issue

The Other Diesels: Austro’s Competition

DeltaHawk, SMA and Gemini are toiling away on aerodiesel projects. The coming test will be clean-sheet two-cycles against Austroís automotive derivative.

If economic recovery requires the restoration of confidence, we have a suggestion: Just bottle up the bounding confidence that the developers of aerodiesels have that Jet-A engines are the future and distribute it to the general population. Although the aerodiesel market has, at best, stumbled along looking for serious traction, the unswaying conviction of those in the diesel industry seems to be that Jet-A piston engines are an inevitability. According to our count, there are six active projects in the aerodiesel arena: Austro, Centurion (formerly Thielert), DeltaHawk, SMA, Gemini and Zoche. (Remember them?) Hereís an update on each. What we found most interesting about the current state of the aerodiesel market is that itís four to two in favor of purpose-built aircraft engines rather than engines adapted from the auto segment. The automotive crossovers are Austro and Centurion, both of which are adapted from widely successful Mercedes Benz automotive diesels. SMA, DeltaHawk, Gemini and Zoche are all clean-sheet designs developed specifically for aircraft. Thus far, the only remotely successful aerodiesel is the Thielert (now Centurion) 1.7 and 2.0 liter diesel series which Diamond enabled by adopting it for the DA42 Twin Star and the DA40 TDI.

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