…How About FADEC, Instead


If you can’t fly the jets at least you can have single-lever power. The major players from at least five engine manufacturers all seem to agree on one thing — FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) is the way of the future and if you plan on flying far into the future it will likely be with FADEC on board. For many manufacturers it will solve the problem of fuel availability — if 100LL ever does go away, FADEC will deal with whatever you put in the tanks, mixed grades and all, and figure it all out from inside your engine. Honda/Continental (gas/100LL), Superior Air Parts (100LL), Bombardier (gasoline) and SMA (diesel) all intend to introduce engines in the 200-hp ballpark over the next few years (the final decision on the Honda engine should be made near the end of this year). All will offer FADEC standard. Thielert’s newly certified 135-hp turbo-diesel runs with FADEC (on the Diamond TwinStar), as does Continental’s IOF 240, 125-hp engine (on the Liberty XL2). Bombardier’s new entries, expected to enter the market in 2005, will have FADEC. Rated at just 135 hp, the Thielert puts out enough power to seek STC or factory installation on Cessna 172s, Piper 28s, the Diamond DA40 and DA42, OMF’s Symphony and more. While current certification standards set a life limit at a relatively low 1000 hours for Thielert’s offering, industry insiders expect that limit to sharply increase, first to 2100 hours with an end goal of 3000 hours, as operational experience proves the engine’s longevity overseas. The replacement cost should match that of an overhaul for similarly powerful engines.