KATE SARSFIELD / LONDON
German maker uses automotive expertise to develop unique piston powerplant family for retrofit market
Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) of Germany has secured European Joint Airworthiness Regulation JAR 22-H approval for the first of a family of piston engines using diesel fuel. The 80kW (110hp) demonstration model, the TAE 110, is being used as a test bed for future models including the 95kW TAE 125 and 240kW TAE300.
The TAE powerplants are derivatives of car engines, based on the company's experience in the automotive engine development and component market, with a specially designed gearbox and a three-blade, constant speed propeller, made by MT Propellers of Germany.
The 84kg (184lb) turbocharged TAE 125 four cylinder variant is targeted at FAR-JAR 23-certified aircraft including the New Piper PA28 and Cessna 172. Over 50h of flight testing is now completed on a Piper PA28 Warrior III at TAE's Liechtenstein base, with JAR-E certification slated for the first quarter of next year. An off-the-shelf basic TAE 125 is priced at E19,500, ($16,500) while the fully equipped customised version will cost around c40,000.
With distribution partners Piper Germany and Rheinland Air Services already appointed, TAE plans to expand its network internationally to include Africa, China and the USA, following the delivery of 100 engines.
A further boost to TAE's market share is likely with the service entry of the TAE 300, now on the drawing board and set for 2003 certification. The engine will be targeted at the Piper Mailibu and Cessna 182 engine retrofit market.