Farnborough Air Show

Diesel in demand in fuel squeeze

 - November 27, 2006, 10:37 AM

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.

Thielert’s series of diesel engines has been approved for more than 25 aircraft models. Since the series was launched three years ago, over 200,000 flying hours have been accumulated.

Not surprisingly, it is flying schools that are leading the way in switching to the 135 hp Centurion 1.7 because significant savings can help to boost profits or permit cost reductions, so that they can be more price competitive. However, the U.S. Army insists that future unmanned air vehicles must be powered by multifuel engines and as a result selected the Centurion 1.7 for the General Atomics Predator A “Warrior,” which is to be produced in quantity. By incorporating a full authority digital engine control in the Centurion series, Thielert ensures qualitative mixture control so that only the desired amount of fuel is injected.

Thielert is to build a third production facility in Germany, a plant at Altenburg-Nobitz Airport that will also be involved with research, development and flight tests. Some of these tests will involve applications for the 350-hp Centurion 4.0 being offered as a retrofit for the Cessna 206 and 414, as well as other piston twin types.