First Flight: Diesel GA Aircraft Engine "Performed Flawlessly"

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DeltaHawk, a private company in Racine, Wis., last Saturday successfully completed its first flight of a manned aircraft powered by its turbo-diesel 90-degree V-4 general-aviation aircraft engine. The engine has been in development for seven years and is the only U.S.-designed and -developed reciprocating engine capable of burning jet fuel that is known to be flying -- according to DeltaHawk's Web site. The 300-pound, 160-hp powerplant, burning jet fuel, was mounted in a Velocity RG that achieved a top speed of 140 knots. The manufacturer says the engine can burn a range of fuels available throughout the world, while providing better fuel economy than traditional avgas engines. "The flight proceeded exactly as expected with the engine performing flawlessly," the company said in a news release. The diesel engine also runs with fewer parts, easier maintenance, and full power output up to 10,000 feet, the company said. The engine is currently being delivered to experimental aircraft developers and unmanned aerial vehicle customers for flight-testing, and the company says it will be available to experimental aircraft builders in early 2004. The company will also seek prompt FAA certification.