Diesels for Cessnas

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At AOPA Expo, both Thielert Aircraft Engines and SMA are promoting their diesel engines for light general aviation airplanes as efficient and greener alternatives to avgas-fueled powerplants. On Thursday, Thielert said Van Bortel Aircraft in Arlington, Va., will install the Centurion 1.7 diesel aircraft engines in brand-new Cessna 172 Skyhawks, which Bortel will then resell worldwide. Van Bortel has already retrofitted several Skyhawks, one of which is at the static display at the show in Palm Springs, Calif. Meanwhile, SMA said it recently delivered 18 of its SR305-230 diesel engines to U.S. distributors for installation in Cessna 182Q/R models. SMA received an STC for the re-engine modification in late July.

According to SMA, a firewall foreward kit costs about $85,000 (including installation), though it is working to reduce this cost. Tule is also pursuing an STC for M/N/P-series Cessna 182s. SMA's other U.S. distributors are working on obtaining similar approvals for the Piper Dakota and Maule M-9. So far, 31 aircraft worldwide are flying with the SMA diesel engine.