Stung by the bankruptcy of Thielert Aircraft Engines in Germany, Diamond Aircraft is aggressively pushing the Austro diesel engine as a replacement for its DA42 and DA40 line and to prove it, they brought one to AirVenture. A number of Diamond diesel aircraft were stranded AOG when Thielert went under in April of this year. Although Thielert is struggling to recover and the bankruptcy court reports that 24 bidders are interested, Diamond is moving rapidly forward with the Austro engine. The mock-up on display here at OSH is a 2.0 liter variant of a Mercedes developed 170 horsepower automobile engine. Its turbocharged and has the direct injection typically found in modern European diesel engines.
The most eye-opening development is the gearbox, which is stouter than that used on the Thielert and which uses a torque coupling rather than an automotive-type clutch to isolate the prop from crankshaft power pulses. Diamond hopes the Austro will be certified in Europe before the end of 2008 and in the U.S. sometime next year. If that happens, the engine could find its way into Thielert-equipped DA42 Twin Stars within months. Diamond says its exploring favoring engine purchase terms with owners currently flying the Centurion 1.7 and 2.0 Thielert models. For more on the Austro, tune into this exclusive AVweb AirVenture podcast.