Aircraft Review

September 2012 Issue

Cessna’s New Diesel: SMA SR305’s OEM Debut

For a 16 percent price premium, the new 182 NXT will displace the Turbo Skylane. An early glance suggests that the numbers pencil out.

If SMA’s Jet-A burning piston powerplant looked promising when it appeared in 1998, it soon became the little engine that couldn’t. A decade ago, interest in aerodiesels was lukewarm at best and SMA found no major OEM takers, either. But at AirVenture 2012 this year, Cessna’s announcement to offer the SMA diesel in the Skylane might finally get the SR305 out of the starting blocks. We knew Cessna was interested in diesel engines because two years ago, then-CEO Jack Pelton told us the company had tested all of the above-ground diesels, which included the Thielert and SMA offerings and we’re sure they at least examined the Austro and Delta-Hawk. Although it seems obvious why Cessna picked the SMA in hindsight, it wasn’t always that way.

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