Austro Engine (Outside Exhibit 18), part of the group that owns Austria’s Diamond Aircraft, is exhibiting its new diesel and rotary engines for light aircraft and drones at the 2012 Farnborough International Airshow. The company is actively talking to other airframers about finding new applications for its AE series of diesel engines, which will include the in-development AE500.
Aircraft diesel engine
Diamond Aircraft founder and CEO Christian Dries yesterday revealed plans to develop a fully aerobatic, tandem two-seat military trainer version of the D-Jet that he said will have ejection seats and sell for less than $3 million.
Of the many companies that have attempted to tackle world markets with a new-technology piston engine for light singles and twins, only Thielert in Germany has demonstrated some success. For that it can thank in some measure Diamond Aircraft, an Austrian company that has established a firm niche as a supplier of all-composite light aircraft, including the DA 42 twin-engine aircraft on display here in the static park.
When Charles Lindbergh began planning one of the first truly long cross-country solo flights in 1927 everyone understood the risks inherent in a 3,000-mile journey in an airplane powered by a single 223-hp Wright J5 engine. Failure meant he’d probably end up as a shark snack. Luckily, he didn’t have the boss on board.
Beginning with the 2008 model year, Cessna 172 buyers can pay $15,000 more for a 155-hp, two-liter turbocharged Thielert diesel engine-powered Skyhawk instead of the current avgas-burning 180-hp Lycoming version. Cessna dealers told AIN that the factory diesel Cessna 172 will retail for $298,500, including Garmin G1000 avionics and integrated GFC700 autopilot.
Record high fuel prices have served to concentrate minds on how to keep operational costs from spiraling. This cannot be other than good news for Thielert Aircraft Engines, which is recording burgeoning sales of its Centurion engines. With avgas difficult to obtain in some parts of the world, the general aviation market has been eagerly turning to diesel power both for the easier access to jet fuel and the need to cut costs.