Aircraft Diesel Manufacturers
The last couple of years development in aircraft engines has been more or less concentrating on diesels. We have seen one off installations to fully developed production lines. A number of companies are active on this market primarily due to major concern of long term availability and the relative high price of AVgas (Europe).
More and more diesel engines will become available for the General Aviation market. When AVgas finally is becoming a thing of the past, we need those new engines and having one type of global fuel for piston and jet engines will make our life much easier.
A number of companies currently esigning, producing and selling aircraft diesels are:
Austro AE 300 Diesel Engine
- Austro Engine GmbH, AE 300 2.0 l, 170 hp @ 560 Nm, 4 stroke 2000 hr TBO. Based on a diesel car engine and developed with Diamond Aircraft for use in DA-40, DA-42, DA-52 and DA-50 aircraft, launched mid 2008, flying since 2007 and can be retrofitted in existing DA-40 and DA-42 replacing the TAE engines. The AE 300 is an inline four cylinder, 2.0-liter piston engine which uses Jet A1 or diesel fuel to produce 170 hp (127 kW). Read more about the engine specifications here.
The engine is liquid cooled, with a double overhead camshaft (DOHC). Every cylinder has four valves which are actuated by the cam follower. All components are controlled by an EEC system. Equipped with an electrical starter, an alternator, a water pump, an oil pump, a coolant system, an intercooler and an oil cooler.
The propeller is driven by a directly integrated gearbox with an integral torsional vibration damper. US FAA Approved. This engine delivers more power on LESS fuel compared to a Thielert/Centurion engine.
- AVWEB March 2011: "Austro Engine GmbH, best known for its work supplying powerplants for Diamond airplanes, announced this week it plans to develop a new 280-hp six cylinder diesel engine for the general aviation market. Austro will work in partnership with Steyr Motors to develop the engine, based on the Steyr Monoblock Motor M1. That engine features an integral crankcase and cylinder head that has proven robust in marine and special vehicle applications around the world, according to the company. The new engine is intended to power two Diamond aircraft now in the works: the DA-50 Magnum, a single engine five seat airplane, and the twin engine Future Small Aircraft (FSA) intended for personal and utility applications."
Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbHCenturion Aircraft Engines AG, Centurion 1.7 (135 hp) and 2.0 (135 hp and 155 hp, S model) and Centurion 4.0 (350 hp) 4 stroke, used mainly in Diamond Aircraft DA-40/42 and the US army in their drones. This engine is quite expensive, high maintenance and has very high operating cost due to design shortcuts, low TBO of the gearbox (300h and upgrade to 600h available) and shortcut management decisions.
- Centurion Aircraft Engines received the Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the installation of the Centurion 2.0s kerosene piston aircraft engine with 155 hp in the Cessna 172. On May 21, 2010, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) issued the STC. Centurion is the firm which took over the insolvent Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH a year ago. This means that the Cessna models 172 F to S are now certified.
- Continental Motors annouces at Airventure 2014 a 300 hp diesel aircraft engine. These are based on the Centurion range of engines but wit different name plates: CD100, CD200 and CD300. The announced CD300 is based on the Mercedes-Benz OM642 also used for the Centurion 4.0. Its weight is 560 lbs and it delivers 300 hp possibly going up to 350 hp. Certification is expected in 2016.
- SMA Safran Group, the SR305-230 engine, 230 hp air cooled 4 cylinder, certified and STC available for retrofit.
SMA SR-460 Diesel Engine JUL 2012: Oshkosh, Cessna unveiled the C-182 NXT with this engine and it has about 35 % lower fuel consumption than its AVgas cousin. Cessna now (2012) sells a Turbo Skylane JT-A with this remarkable engine!
JUL 2013: SMA has a SR460 six cylinder diesel available (2013) delivering about 330 to 400 hp weighing 595 lbs, maximum ceiling 25000 ft and sea level power up to 10000 ft with two turbo chargers!. The fuel system is also different: where the SR305 uses a Bosch high pressure fuel pump, the SR460 uses six camshaft driven pumps, one for each cylinder. This is a simpler system with less parts and enables to precisely inject fuel per cylinder. The engine is about 1.5 times larger in all aspects. More info on the website of: SMA Engines.
- Deltahawk, 160 hp, 180 hp and 200 hp, 2 stroke piston ported models, turbo and supercharged, flying and working together with LoPresti Speed Merchants for a diesel powered Cirrus SR20, STC expected in 2010. Lambert Aircraft (Wevelgem, Belgium) develops an installation for their Mission 212 four seat aircraft and expects it to be flying early 2012.
- Wilksch Airmotive, 120 hp 312 Nm 0,49 lb/hp/hr, 3 cylinder 2 stroke, turbo and supercharged, (mass 100 kg) and a 160 hp 4 cylinder (mass 115 kg), 120 hp model flying (WAM-120 wide bore 140 hp available) and 160 hp model almost ready. Liberty Aerospace will use a Wilksch Diesel in their XL2 aircraft. A number of engines are flying and development is steady but slow.
- Teledyne Continental Motors indicated (end of 2009) that they are busy developing "diesel technology with licenses and hardware from an outside source" with more info to come early 2010 (Mark Wilksch comes to mind here).
May 2010: TCM announced that they are working together with French SMA to introduce the SR305 in the US market. Testing is underway in a Cessna 182.
Dec 2010: TCM has been sold to Technify Motors, a subsidiary of AVIC International, a Chinese based holding company with diverse business interests in the aerospace sector.
May 2014: At the moment they seem to be reselling Centurion Engines.
- AVWEB JUL 2012: "Raikhlin Aircraft Engine Developments (RED) has developed a V-12 diesel for large singles, twins and whatever else can use 500 horsepower of takeoff power and 15.5 gallons an hour at cruise. Among the innovations is a dual redundant cam and valve setup on each bank of cylinders. Weight might be an issue in some applications, however. With all accessories it tops out at about 800 pounds, but Wadsworth said the company is banking on the fact that the "competitive" price of $170,000 and fuel efficiency will make it attractive for even light turbine conversions. Wadsworth said he expects a TBO of 2,000 to 3,000 hours after the initial 1,000-hour maximum imposed by EASA on new designs expires for this engine. The engine is being field tested in a Yak-52 with positive results."
- Superior Air Parts
Powerplant Developments Limited, Gemini-100, 100 hp 285 Nm 0,39 lb/hp/hr dry mass 71 kg, 3 cylinder 6 pistons 2 stroke opposed based on JUMO design, 125 hp turbocharged expected end of 2008. This engine was acquired by Superior from PPD and they expect to get into production mid 2015. More info at www.geminidiesel.aero.
- Engineered Propulsion Systems is developing a flat eight or 180 ° diesel engine of 4.4 liter displacement with an output of 350 to 400 hp called the Vision 350. It runs on JET and diesel and consumes about 12.3 gph at 60 % power. This midrange engine is suitable for Cirrus SR-22, Cessna 182 and the Expedition E350 range of aircraft. Their website (eps.aero) is being updated at regular intervals.
Here is a list of companies once active and now dormant or completely gone in the engine designing business:
- TEOS Powertrain Engineering is part of a consortium led by Eurocopter, with the goal of developing a high performance diesel engine for helicopter and aircraft applications. Their website has some information about this pre-project.
- FairDiesel Limited UK, "They have combined the concepts of barrel and opposed piston engines and applied them to produce an exceptionally well balanced lightweight diesel for a wide range of applications." This design looks very promising, FD is looking for investors.
- Diesel Air Limited, DAIR-100, 90 hp, 2 cylinder 4 pistons 2 stroke opposed based on JUMO design, model flying in airship, acquired by Howells Aero Engines Limited UK. No news since a couple of years, and no updates on the website since 2004.
- Zoche, radial diesel 2 stroke, been designing(?) for years (>18), nothing in production.
- Raptor Turbo Diesel
Vulcan Aircraft Engines, 105 hp 4 stroke 4 cylinder diesel with FADEC, dry mass is 81 kg. No news since 2007.
- ECO Motors, EM 80 and EM 100 hp 4 stroke 4 cylinder diesel with FADEC based on a car engine, dry mass is around 98 kg. No news since 2008.
- Costruzioni Motori Diesel of Atella, Italy has a 6 cylinder horizontally opposed, direct drive engine of 5.56 liter (GF56). Power is 310 hp at 2400 RPM with a 2-stroke diesel uniflow cycle with a weight of 220 kg. No news since then.
- BRD SrL of Italy A 4 or 6 cylinder opposed design, with direct injection, Common Rail, with or without out gear and liquid/air cooled. Ranging from 220 to 380 hp. Delivering 205 hp at 2300 RPM and weighing 185 kg, and of course consuming Jet A1.
The above list is only an indication of available engine manufacturers and might not be complete. Some might even have disappeared altogether due to financial problems but it gives an good indication on activity in this market.
As time will go by we will see more and more manufacturers emerge, some will succeed others will disappear in history but one thing is for sure: The future will be bright for the aero diesel engine!