TECNAM To Test Gemini Diesel


Italian manufacturer TECNAM will be testing a series of diesel engines on its P92 Eaglet LSA and under-development P2006T light-light twin, Tim Archer, CEO of engine-maker Powerplant Developments, told EAA AirVenture 2008 attendees Wednesday. Under a memorandum of agreement between the two companies, Powerplant Developments will supply both a 100-hp and a 125-hp turbocharged version of its Gemini diesel engine platform. The engines will be used for evaluation purposes, with two of the 125-hp turbo versions possibly a part of TECNAM’s FAR Part 23 certification process.

“We are anticipating the Powerplant Developments’ Gemini engines will bring an exceptional level of performance and capability to TECNAM aircraft owners,” Paolo Pascale Langer, TECNAM’s managing director, said in a statement. In response, Archer added, “We couldn’t be more excited and proud that such a well-established aircraft manufacturer like TECNAM has shown such a high level of confidence in the Gemini engine program.”

During his briefing, Archer admitted he had been “too optimistic” about his company’s overall development program schedule, which presently is 6-8 months behind schedule. However, he noted Powerplant Developments this week was shipping a prototype engine to a government/military contractor to be used aboard a long-endurance unpiloted vehicle presently under development. In addition to TECNAM and the unidentified contractor, Archer said his company was in negotiations for future engines with more than one airframe manufacturer.

Powerplant Developments’ Gemini 100 and 125 engines are based on the Junkers Jumo series of aircraft diesels first flown in the 1930s. In the 100- to 125-hp output range, the diesels are a three-cylinder, six piston design, using a two-stroke cycle and liquid cooling. The 100-hp version weighs 156.5 lbs ready-to-run on a test stand, while the 125-hp turbocharged version slated for TECNAM’s P2006T light-light twin checks in at 201 lbs wet. The company says its 100-hp Gemini 100 is roughly the same height and width as similar-output aircraft powerplants from other manufacturers, but is shorter. The Gemini 100’s projected retail price will be around $18,000, with its TBO initially set at 2000 hours. The engine, which turns at 4000 rpm, will be geared down to turn a propeller at 2500 rpm. Its projected brake specific fuel consumption is .38.