Plane & Pilot
Thursday, December 1, 2005

Straight Talk From Thielert Aircraft Engines

Its new diesel aircraft powerplants are bringing Jet A to GA

Straight Talk From Thielert Aircraft EnginesThe diesels are coming…the diesels are coming—to general aviation, that is. And the company that’s leading the charge isn’t one of general-aviation engines’ “big two.” No, it’s a relatively small company that has its sights clearly set on relieving your dependence on avgas.

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Thielert’s newly certified 135 hp, Centurion 1.7, turbocharged, four-cylinder, liquid-cooled engine is the first diesel engine to be part of the type certificate of a new OEM aircraft. The engine is available on both the Diamond DA40 single and the incredibly cool DA42 Twin Star and is in flight testing on the Robin DR400.

For the lucrative retrofit market, Thielert has gained a supplemental type certificate (STC) to re-engine many Cessna 172 models and is expecting to have approval for a similar package for the Piper PA-28 family this summer. The option to swap old O-320s for the new Centurion 1.7 may well be attractive to flight schools and other high-use operators because of the considerably lower hourly operating costs (the company states up to a 50% reduction in operating costs in the United States because of lower fuel consumption and fuel costs).

But Thielert has another engine up its sleeve. The company has developed a 350 bhp V8-engine version of the Centurion 1.7. Named Centurion 4.0, this more powerful, FADEC engine will run only on jet fuel and is expected to show up both in new aircraft and as a retrofit in older aircraft. It’s running and being tested in other aircraft, including High Performance Aircraft GmbH’s TT62, which made its maiden flight earlier this year. The Centurion 4.0 already received its EASA certification on October 28, 2004, but is still awaiting FAA certification, which the company hopes to obtain by spring 2006.


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