Industry News

June 2012 Issue

Austro’s Aggressive Play: Fast Track Development

It wants to get the AE300 to a 2000-hour TBO sooner rather than later and at least two higher-horsepower models are percolating in the R&D shop.

If new aircraft manufacturing ventures require a degree of faith to succeed, Austro Engine GmbH, grafted on to the side of the Diamond Aircraft factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria must be the industrial equivalent of the Vatican. It’s not that Austro has no chance of success—the reverse may very well be true—but that it’s investing heavily for a future that many in the industry can’t yet draw into sharp focus. The uncertain future of avgas—it seems to be all but dead in Europe and approaching life support in the U.S.—should make diesel engines a natural for strong growth. But with aircraft sales in the tank, that growth has failed to materialize. Gasoline powerplants still outsell diesels by a wide margin and some diesel projects—DeltaHawk, for instance, and Thielert’s slow-as-50-weight-oil life extension efforts, have a forever-over-the-horizon quality. The exception is Austro.

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