Industry News

September 2010 Issue

Aircraft Diesels: Still No Slam Dunk

Despite having an overwhelming advantage in fuel volume and availability, aircraft diesels have yet to overcome a persistent pattern of market failure.

When Continental announced in May that it planned to develop a diesel engine for the light aircraft market, it was boldly going where many have gone before. Unfortunately, the many have had their diesel entries ground to a bloody pulp by a fickle market more interested in speed than economy and unconvinced that dieselís supposed longevity is worth the higher purchase price. A historical fact: Depending on how you define commercial success, there has never been a commercially successful diesel engine for aircraft. The Thielert/Centurion line launched in 2005 comes closest, but the company went belly-up and although itís building engines again, it remains insolvent

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