French diesel aero engine developer Societe de Motorisations Aeronautiques (SMA) has signed a series of partners in Argentina and Brazil in preparation for the retrofit of the SR-305 engine in general aviation aircraft throughout South America.

The four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine runs on Jet A1 turbine fuel rather than aviation gasoline (avgas) and has been developed by SMA partners EADS, Renault Sport and Snecma. Jet fuel is typically more readily available than traditional 100-octane low lead (100LL) avgas.

The engine received European Joint Airworthiness Authorities certification in April last year and is undergoing US Federal Aviation Administration clearance.

The engine has been selected by Maule Air to power the M-7 and the Cirrus for the SR21, and in trials has been experimentally fitted to a Cessna 182 and an EADS Socata TB-20 Trinidad.

Latin American partners now include Brazil-based Planestate Aircraft and Nacional Aero Taxi, as well as Argentina's Latin d'Aviation. Planestate will provide line maintenance and install retrofit kits, while support services will be offered by the other partners.

SMA, which is also negotiating with potential US-based partners, eventually plans to produce up to 2,000 engines a year, 70% of which will be for retrofit and forward fit in North America.

The engine, which generates 170kW (230hp) take-off power at 2,200rpm, weighs 180kg (400lb) and consumes 0.21 kg/h/kW (0.35lb/h/shp) of fuel.

Together with a time between overhaul target of 3,000h, this low fuel consumption is expected to reduce direct operating costs by up to 40% compared to current pistons, according to SMA.

Source: Flight International