Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) has completed modifications to its Centurion 4 diesel engine to power the High Performance Aircraft TT62 twin pusher aircraft. TAE is to unveil the variant of the Centurion 4 (formerly TAE-310) for the TT62 at the Aero 2003 Friedrichshafen air show this week, where High Performance is expected to be named the launch customer for the 230kW (310shp) V8 Jet A-fuelled piston engine.

The all-composite TT62 is driven by two rear strut-mounted propellers and TAE has added a 90° angled gearbox to power axles driving Kevlar belts. TAE is in the process of manufacturing prototype parts for the new variant, which has not received a designation. Ralf Czyrnik, manager special projects for TAE, is confident that the first Centurion 4-powered TT62 will be flying by the end of the year.

TAE says it is speaking to Australian manufacturer Gippsland Aeronautics about producing a diesel-powered version of its eight-seat GA-8 Airvan utility aircraft and that either manufacturer could be the launch customer. The engine could be used to power anything in the 230kW range and Chemnitz, Germany-based TAE has received interest from "every major original equipment manufacturer" in the piston market, says Czyrnik. The engine has a fuel consumption of around 29.5 litres/h (7.8USgal/h), which is around 40% more fuel efficient than an aviation gasoline alternative, the company estimates, and with Jet A around 30% cheaper than the cost of avgas, this results in a reduction in running costs of around 70%. TAE predicts sales of around 120 Centurion 4s in 2004, rising to a full production rate of 600 by 2006.

High Performance Aircraft is close to completing the prototype of the TT62, which will also be unveiled in Friedrichshafen.

Source: Flight International