Teledyne Continental Plans Certified Diesel Within Two Years

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With the future of 100LL avgas looking ever more iffy, Teledyne Continental's new president, Rhett Ross, says the company is planning to aggressively develop a diesel or heavy fuel engine for certification in late 2009 or early 2010. "We are kicking off a major aerospace engine project this year with some realistically aggressive targets," Ross told AVweb's Paul Bertorelli in a detailed podcast interview last week. Ross says TCM would like to ground demonstrate a prototype later in 2008 or early 2009, probably in the 300-horsepower range, thus making a nice fit with the company's IO-550 series that dominates the high-performance gasoline engine market. TCM is no stranger to diesel engines, having developed a four-cylinder prototype under NASA's GAP program. That engine flew just once, but was then shelved awaiting market developments. Ross said he believes that general aviation will be forced out of the 100LL option and that a Jet A piston engine will be one response to that. The company's PowerLink FADEC will be another. Although TCM's initial foray will be a high-horsepower, heavy fuel engine, Ross says the company will eventually introduce smaller engines as well.

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Podcast interview with TCM's Rhett Ross