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RNOcommctr
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Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:24 am

Here at RNO we just had an Alert I involving a single-engine Diamond Star-- no electric, no communications (landed safely). I had never heard of this aircraft type and when I checked on the internet, I was amazed to find out that it is powered by a turbo-diesel engine! I believe it's a German plane; therefore perhaps more prevalent in Europe. I can't think of too many airports in the U.S. that have diesel for sale. I would assume diesel is more readily available in Europe because more cars there run on diesel?

Another angle to the story-- if the aircraft cannot be repaired here, is there any legal way to fly it out of a tower-controlled airport like RNO? I assume the light gun was used by the tower in clearing him to land. The ops officer said the pilot would have been better off landing at an uncontrolled airport, but I figure the pilot wanted the safety precaution of full ARFF capability.
Active loading only, ma'am, keep it moving!
 
PNEPilot
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:28 am

I believe the "Diesel" runs on Jet-A
 
A10WARTHOG
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 7:54 am

Here is a great article about the Diamond Star. If you have not already read it.

http://www.aopa.org/pilot/features/feature.html

 
PPGMD
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:33 am

Another angle to the story-- if the aircraft cannot be repaired here, is there any legal way to fly it out of a tower-controlled airport like RNO?

Should just need permission to depart. Though I believe that the Star has a glass cockpit, which should be inop if the electric is out, which means they would probably need a waiver to fly without the required instruments for VFR flight.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
pilotpip
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 8:33 am

There is an STC to put a diesel engine on your cessna 182. As mentioned, Diesel engines are able to run on Jet-A.

Diesel engines are believe to be the future of GA. In reality, the engines are efficient, and develop more power at lower RPM than a comparitive gasoline powered engine. Also, 100LL accounts for a very insignificant amount of the fuel refined in the world and that AOPA article A10warthog linked mentiones that there are many places in Europe where 100LL is over $8 per gallon. Refineries recently stopped producing 80 octane aviation gasoline and many believe it's in the cards that 100LL will be gone in the near future. Diesel engines, using Jet-A, could be the answer.
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c172akula
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 12:55 pm

Keep in mind it may not have been a diesel powered version of the Diamondstar. Most of the models in North America still run on good ol'100LL. I was under the impression that there were only demo models of the diesel engines operating in North America, for the most part.

The Diamondstar I rent takes the avgas. 40 gallons of it. Fun plane to fly!
 
liamksa
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 2:45 pm

I strongly believe diesel is the way of the future for GA aircraft. Advances in technologies and materials have the brought the weight of the diesel engine down around its gasoline counterpart for a similar power / torque output, but for a much lower fuel burn.

Here's the Centurion 1.7 in the DA40. Note the gearbox.

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Photo © Mikko Maliniemi


Here's a C172 with the Centurion 1.7 retrofit.

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http://www.centurion-engines.com/c17/c17_start.htm
 
brodiebrazil
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 2:58 pm

It's probably the same article as A10 linked to, but the Diesel Diamond Star is featured on the cover of this month's AOPA magazine (which i just got yesterday)
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:18 pm

"I believe it's a German plane; therefore perhaps more prevalent in Europe."

Close...Austrian actually...

Greg
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L-188
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Mon Nov 08, 2004 6:19 pm

Austria was part of Germany for a while so don't let them give you a hard time.....

But it should be noted that the Dimonds are Canadain.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
USAFHummer
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Tue Nov 09, 2004 12:25 am

They are built in Canada, but the company is Austrian...

Greg
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baw2198
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:16 pm

Jet A is actually just highly refined and filtered diesel. I think Jet-A also has a higher BTU rating then just plain truck diesel, kindof like buying 93 octane vs. 89. The DA22 is actually the one with the diesel conversion, not sure about the smaller DA20. The DA42 Twin Star actually has 2 german? made diesels with a TBR of 3500 hours. Its in the article above.
"And remember, Keep your stick on the ice"--->Red Green
 
Contact_tower
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RE: Waddington

Tue Nov 09, 2004 9:44 pm

The reason that most stateside Diamond Aircraft are 100LL powered, and that most new aircraft are still 100LL powered, is that the savings in fuel cost is much lower then in Europe.

That said, due to problems with the Thielert Disel engine on some conversions, and the high installation cost, many private/clubs have chosen petrol engines modified to take normal 95oct car petrol.
 
PPGMD
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:18 am

many private/clubs have chosen petrol engines modified to take normal 95oct car petrol.

We have a similar program stateside (though I don't see it that much around here) called the MoGas STC.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
phollingsworth
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Wed Nov 10, 2004 12:51 am

Jet A is actually just highly refined and filtered diesel. I think Jet-A also has a higher BTU rating then just plain truck diesel, kindof like buying 93 octane vs. 89. The DA22 is actually the one with the diesel conversion, not sure about the smaller DA20. The DA42 Twin Star actually has 2 german? made diesels with a TBR of 3500 hours. Its in the article above.

Not quite, remember that Jet A has a lower viscosity and lubrosity than diesel. This can quickly lead to lifeing problems in certain components, like 20,000 psi high-pressure fuel pumps. Also, 93 octane gas is actually less energetic than 89 octane gas, the benefit arrives from the fact that you can compress the chamber more and potentially extract more work from the fuel.

The diesels in the twin starts are Thielerts, which are Daimler A Class diesels that Thielert purchases and modifies to meet his production and type certificate.
 
PPGMD
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Wed Nov 10, 2004 2:00 am

The aviation diesels are being made to burn Jet-A in particular, they use the term diesel to mostly to differentiate themselves from turbines.
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
727200er
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Wed Nov 10, 2004 7:00 am

Actually they are called Diesel engines because they are. They are engines designed on the compression ignition model as defined by Rudolf Diesel. Rudolfs experiments did not use "diesel fuel" as there was no such thing at the time. Any compression ignition engine is a diesel engine, no matter what it burns for fuel.
"they who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only at night" - Edgar Allen Poe
 
PPGMD
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Nov 11, 2004 2:06 am

727200er,

Exactly what I was trying to say. At ERAU the Diesel conversion program that they were working on was called "JA for GA."
At worst, you screw up and die.
 
727200er
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Nov 11, 2004 10:42 pm

OK I just wanted to add that bit as, in the very near future, we may be seeing Rotary engines burning JetA, but they will use a standard spark ignition as opposed to being a diesel.
"they who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only at night" - Edgar Allen Poe
 
Fiatstilojtd
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 5:41 am




Quoting L-188 (reply 9):
Austria was part of Germany for a while so don't let them give you a hard time.....



Long Time ago....  Insane
 
speedracer1407
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:23 am

Rotary-powered aircraft? I googled it, and to my surprise, found that they do indeed exist (probably a big 'duh' most of you in this forum).

But I wonder how designers have overcome the inherent characteristics of rotary engines, most of which seem undesireable in light non-turbine aircraft duty.

1. Low Torque: The neccessarily short crankshaft (i think it might be called something different) in rotary engines, among other things, makes low-RPM, high torque operation really difficult to achieve, unless heavily turbo charged.

2. Longevity: High RPM, combined with the very small surface area of apex seals makes rotary engines prone to early wear and loss of compression, even if there are fewer moving parts to break individually.

3. Oil and fuel consumption: Most automotive rotaries to date have been less fuel efficient than piston engines of similar power (not size), and consumed lots of oil.

I suppose the low torque thing isn't as much of an issue with ducted fan propulsion. Is this the primary application for aviation rotaries? How well do rotaries really work in airplanes? Are they primarily used in light hotrods and weekend thrill machines, similar to their automotive applications? How would the use of Jet A, aside form producting more power, change the charactersitics of a rotary's power delivery?

O
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2H4
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 8:42 am



Quoting PPGMD (reply 13):
We have a similar program stateside (though I don't see it that much around here) called the MoGas STC.




I've always wanted to fly something with that STC, just so I could taxi up to the FBO, get out, and tell them I need mogas.  Smile



(sorry about that)


2H4


Intentionally Left Blank
 
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BALandorLivery
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 9:00 am

The DA 42 twin star is a remarkable a/c from what I have seen. I will commence my multi engine IR on it in the not too distant future and I can't wait.

The two diesel engines are VERY efficient and the a/c has excellent range.

It also comes with Garmin 1000 EFIS cockpit, has winglets, lightning protection system etc etc. The list of features is excellent for a light twin.

Yes it does run on JET-A1

Can't wait to get my mitts on it Big grin
 
LeanOfPeak
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 1:33 pm

Speedracer:

1) Gearing the engine allows the engine to rev higher, where it generates more power, while still allowing the use of an efficient propeller. The reduction on the Mistral engines (Flying on an Embry-Riddle Piper Arrow, for one) is almost 3:1.

2) Aircraft engines are generally overhauled pretty regularly anyway. Mistral claims a 3,000-hour TBO. I think I recall the first-gen Wankels being generally assumed to need apex seals around 50,000 miles, so it's not too far off if you assume the car averages 17 mph (Which many stuck in traffic would). Additionally, I am certain there have been material and design refinements towards improving durability since the first-gen engines.

3) I would also assume refinements have allowed the Wankel to not burn nearly as much oil as its reputation would suggest, or there's no way the RX-8 would pass 50-state emissions. As for fuel consumption, yes, I believe the engine to be a bit less miserly than its reciprocating counterparts.

However, trade studies are everything in aircraft design. There are three factors that counter, to some extent, a higher SFC. The rotary is very powerful for its weight. Particularly for small, powerful, short-range aircraft, lugging the extra weight of a conventional powerplant around could conceivably guzzle more fuel than using the higher-SFC rotary. The other two factors are that it is naturally a compact, comparatively-aerodynamically-shaped engine and that it is liquid-cooled, which means that the engine can be cowled more aerodynamically and that it does not need to be operated at higher power settings than are really desired during descent to prevent shock-cooling.

It's not a magic solution that automatically improves any airplane for any mission, but it will definitely have its applications.
 
troubleshooter
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RE: Diesel Diamond Star?!

Thu Feb 17, 2005 4:00 pm

Soon there will be a 4-Liter version of the Centurion available. Find more details here: http://www.centurion-engines.com/
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