July 30, 2008
By Alton K. Marsh
Powerplant Developments, located in England but managed by former Superior Air Parts chief Tim Archer, will deliver a pre-certification 100-hp diesel engine to Tecnam, the Italian builder of light sport aircraft.
In addition to the Gemini 100, Powerplant Developments will also deliver two 125-hp Gemini 125 diesel engines. Both are two-stroke, six-cylinder engines. They are estimated to burn three to four gallons per hour. When in production, the Gemini 100 will cost $18,000, while the turbocharged Gemini 125 will cost $23,500.
Tecnam will test the engines on various models, including the recently introduced Eaglet for the trainer market.
The basic engine design can be expanded to 600 hp, and there already is interest from an undisclosed customer for a 360-hp variant of the Gemini.
The company hopes for a 2,000-hour time between overhaul and thinks that can be eventually expanded to 3,000 hours. There will be no interim expensive maintenance required at 300 and 600 hours, as is now the case with another diesel engine on the market. In addition, all parts of the engine can be reused for up to three engine overhauls.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
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The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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