“We’re excited about our expanding customer base,” said Rhett Ross, president of Continental Motors, commenting about the growing number of aircraft manufacturers that have committed to jet-A-powered diesel engines. The newest customer for Continental’s CD-155 engine is Cessna, which selected the 155-hp diesel to power its Turbo Skyhawk JT-A.
On the eve of EAA AirVenture 2014, aviation analyst Brian Foley released summaries of two key areas affecting the general aviation industry: investment capital and engine technology.
On the capital front, Foley said that there is no shortage of investors who are willing to put money into general aviation companies. However, there is a shortage of what these investors are seeking–entities that actually make money, that is, “a good $20 million in annual revenues and $5 million in profits known as Ebitda [earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization].
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems (GA-ASI) said that an improved version of the Gray Eagle UAV flew for 45.3 hours on a demonstration flight earlier this month. The Gray Eagle was developed for the U.S. Army from the Predator UAS. The Improved Gray Eagle is a higher-power, higher-mtow version that GA-ASI developed using company funds, although the U.S. Army paid for the demo flight, the first of two planned by the end of the year.
On July 28, the day before the opening of this year’s EAA AirVenture Oshkosh show, EAA chairman Jack Pelton and Mac McClellan, director of publications, flew a specially refurbished Cessna Skyhawk from Fond du Lac, Wis., to Oshkosh. The Skyhawk has been turned into a “RedHawk Training Aircraft” in a new venture by simulator manufacturer Redbird Simulations and its flight training division Redbird Skyport. AirVenture visitors can see the RedHawk at the exhibit near the main gate.
When Hawker Beechcraft announced on July 9 it was in negotiations that might result in its acquisition by Superior Aviation of Beijing, the most common response was, “Who?”
Superior Aviation is a Chinese aviation technology firm with a mission, according to Superior Aviation CEO Tim Archer, “to promote economic and industry development in the southern part of Beijing City.”
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.
Centurion Aircraft Engines’ Centurion 2.0s is now available in Europe as an upgrade through a supplemental type certificate (STC), which covers installing the 155-hp engine on the Cessna 172F through -S models. EASA issued the STC to Centurion on May 21. The 2.0s provides 20 more horsepower than the original Centurion 2.0. It is Fadec-controlled to keep engine parameters within range and is operated through a single lever power control.
With no fewer than four airborne-sensing versions of the DA42 on static display here, Diamond Aircraft of Austria is staking a major claim to the growing market for low-cost surveillance platforms. Since entering the market two years ago, the privately held company has already sold 12 DA42 MPPs (multipurpose platforms) based on the popular DA42 touring aircraft.
Two General Atomics Sky Warrior UAVs have been operating in Iraq since late April, well ahead of the drone’s formal system design and development (SDD) schedule. The Sky Warrior, a new version of the Predator-A, won the U.S. Army’s extended-range/multipurpose (ER/MP) competition. The substantial changes include a Thielert heavy-fuel engine, an autoland system and an improved, more mobile ground station.
The diesel-powered Diamond DA42 TwinStar made its first flight on December 9 from the factory at Wiener Neustadt, Austria. TwinStar’s Thielert Centurion 1.7 engines rated at 135 hp each are designed to operate on both diesel fuel and jet-A1. The composite-construction four-seat aircraft has a single-lever power control for each engine, fuel consumption of 67 pph at 180 kt and an option for an all-glass cockpit.
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