Wilksch Airmotive has completed initial development testing of a new two-stroke diesel engine for light aircraft. The UK company says that it plans to unveil details of the new powerplant in the middle of September.

Mark Wilksch, founder of the Milton Keynes-based company, says that the first flight of the 90kW (120hp) engine took place in November 1997, fitted to a Piper J-3 Cub.

The UK Civil Aviation Authority issued a one-month test flight permit on 19 November, 1997 and similar approval this year on 19 February. Wilksch is believed to have conducted "four or five" flights.

The company says that the diesel is initially being targeted at the kitplane market, and certification under the European Joint Airworthiness Requirement for very light aircraft. One option for the engine is as an alternative powerplant for the Europa, powered by the turbocharged 85kW Rotax 914. Europa Aviation has looked at the engine, but says that Wilksch may have to trim its weight slightly.

Wilksch aims to certificate the diesel for larger aircraft in 1999, under US Federal Aviation Requirement FAR 23. The project is being assisted by UK Department of Trade and Industry funding.

Other companies are developing diesels for light aircraft, including Socata/Renault of France, Zoche of Germany and Teledyne Continental Motors of the USA, but these have outputs exceeding 150kW.

Source: Flight International