...The Avgas Alternative...

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But while many potential customers are drawn to the technically advanced TwinStar, the launch hiccups have shown Diamond that there's also a market for something a little more conventional. Earlier this year, the company flew a Lycoming 0-360-powered version of the TwinStar and is accelerating its development. In fact, said Maurer, he expects the avgas version to be ready about the same time as the diesel and at the same price. "We'll introduce both aircraft and let the customer decide," he said. The gas-powered TwinStar uses more fuel but also has noticeably better performance than the diesel. Maurer said that with all that extra horsepower (360 combined vs. 270 for the diesel) the gas TwinStar makes full use of the high-lift wing and lightweight construction and can climb faster than 2,000 feet a minute on two engines and about 900 fpm on one. One reviewer has described it as a "hot rod." To fly as far as the diesel it has to carry more fuel, but the extra weight is compensated for by the lighter engines and the fact that gasoline is also lighter than kerosene. Aircraft -- they're all about compromise.