Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, kicks off a fresh flying season, but we were underwhelmed by the lack of fresh products. Still, there were some head turners. The first came from Piper, announcing a deal with Wisconsin-based DeltaHawk to try out the company’s Jet-A and SAF-burning engines in the popular PA-44 Seminole twin-engine trainer, pictured above on display in Piper’s show exhibit.

DeltaHawk will get an STC to install the 180-horsepower four-cylinder engines on the Seminole. The STC will cover both new aircraft and retrofits. “Our advanced diesel engine technology has been developed to meet the evolving needs of the aviation industry, and we see tremendous potential in integrating it into Piper’s PA-44 Seminole,” said DeltaHawk CEO Christopher Ruud. No time frame has been stated, but we’re watching.

As the unleaded avgas drama continues to unfold, GAMI’s George Braly told an attentive press that his 100-octane unleaded fuel G100UL will be commercially available likely within the next couple of months for any fuel distributor or retailer who would like to start selling it.

Moreover, refining company Vitol has made a “large quantity” of the fuel and is in the final stages of preparing it for delivery. Robert Emmett, Vitol’s project manager for the avgas project, is a Bellanca owner and pilot and said it’s something his company is enthusiastic about getting on the market. It’s likely the first retail sales of G100UL will happen in California where court settlements and the political environment are pushing a switch to unleaded aviation gasoline.

Over in the Textron exhibit, the refreshed Cessna turbocharged T182 got some attention. Production of the T182 was paused in 2013 and Textron announced its revival in 2022. The company had some words for those wondering about the future of Textron piston singles. “Textron Aviation’s investment in the Cessna piston aircraft lineup demonstrates the company’s continued enthusiasm and support for pilots worldwide,” it said in a news release. The T182 was sporting a freshly designed interior, plus integrated overhead air conditioning. Aviation Consumer flew the new T182 for an upcoming report.

In the avionics department, Garmin was showing off a new ship’s radar interface on its GTN 750Xi GPS navigator. The big news there is a streamlined user interface that promises to take the guesswork out of properly using a radar. There’s a higher-level skill set required to properly use a ship’s weather radar—so much so that Garmin has an entire pilot course dedicated to the task. But the simplified interface comes from new automation built into the GTN 750Xi GPS navigator, including an Auto Mode that automatically controls the radar’s tilt and gain commands. Garmin was showing off the GTN 750Xi radar interface with the company’s latest GWX 8000 StormOptix Doppler radar.

Over in the uAvionix booth, the company was showing off a new and long-awaited interface for the budget-priced AV-30 small-screen EFIS that finally allows for a real navigation interface, including an electronic HSI with vertical and lateral course guidance. The interface uses the $695 AV-HSI ARINC 429 adapter necessary for conveying vertical and lateral guidance from IFR GPS units and conventional VHF nav radios that use a digital connection to outboard indicators. Additionally, the AV-HSI allows two AV-30s to be connected so that their key settings will sync between displays—items like heading and baro setting.

Dynon was showing off a its largest EFIS display yet—a 12-inch SkyView HDX touchscreen system. It joins the 7-inch and 10-inch displays in the HDX lineup. The new 12-inch screens are aimed at the experimental market, for now. For those with the panel space to accommodate them, they’re price at $5490 each and are expected to be available in May 2024.