4 August 1998

The interest in aviation diesel engines has been increasing over the last few years. Now, it has taken a step forward, with the announcement of a new aero-diesel engine development program by Textron Lycoming, Williamsport, PA and Detroit Diesel Corporation, Detroit, MI. Under the terms of a recently-signed agreement, the two companies will share responsibility for the design, development, certification and manufacture of aero-diesel engines, should performance, reliability and market targets be met.

As part of its ongoing research and development, the feasibility of diesel powerplants has been under study at Lycoming for more than a decade. The new program will study the applicability of a 200 horsepower, turbocharged engine for general aviation applications. A prototype engine has been placed in a Lycoming test cell for evaluation.

Jim Koerner, Lycoming president, said there is a strong appeal for aero-diesels in remote areas, and countries where aviation gasoline is scarce. "The wide availability of jet fuel makes diesel engines attractive as powerplants," he said. "Plus, the increased fuel efficiency fits well with aircraft engine design goals. With new lighter alloys, we can also see significant reductions in the dry weight of these engines, long known as efficient, but heavy."

A timeline for program development and certification will be established once further technical feasibility and intense market research studies are conducted. Both Detroit Diesel and Lycoming said they are pursuing the aero-diesel program with full production as a goal.

Source: Diesel Progress