Thielert Chugging Along
Thanks in part to Diamond Aircraft's willingness to take a chance that diesel engines could catch on in the U.S., Thielert AG is undergoing a major expansion and enhancing its product line after record sales and profits in 2006. Diamond uses the 1.7-liter Centurion engines in its twin-engine DA42 and in a version of its DA40 single, and sales have been brisk. According to a company news release, Thielert has secured a second "major" aircraft manufacturer to supply engines for factory installation and also has some "minor" original equipment manufacturers interested. The long legs of the diesels have not gone unnoticed in military circles and Thielert is the sole engine supplier to General Atomics for a new surveillance drone for the U.S. Army. Thielert was founded on the fuel-sipping appeal of its Mercedes-based 1.7-liter, 135 hp in-line four. But the company announced in November that the 1.7-liter engine would be replaced by a more robust 2.0-liter mill that was designed to "meet the requirements of the U.S. market." Despite its larger displacement, the new engine puts out the same 135 hp as its predecessor. As part of the development of the new engine, Thielert designed and built the block. The company says the 2.0-liter engine will be used in new installations and will eventually replace all the 1,500 1.7s currently in use.