Al Marsh

Has Lycoming got a diesel?

February 18, 2014 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

Lycoming isn’t saying much, but General Atomics Aeronautical Systems has said several times that it is testing a 205-horsepower Lycoming DEL-120 diesel engine on one of its military drones, the Improved Gray Eagle. Lycoming has said in the past that while it has shown interest in development of diesel engines, the time isn’t right. That hasn’t changed. AvWeb’s Paul Bertorelli says Lycoming may just be republishing the DieselJet FIAT 170-horsepower engine intended for cars as a 205-horsepower drone engine. The need for a new engine, he says, was driven by the sale of Thielert, the previous engine provider for the Gray Eagle, to China. The U.S. Army doesn’t want to depend on China for its military engines. While Lycoming’s (Fiat’s?) drone engine gives Lycoming additional experience, it may continue to wait until diesel engines for manned aircraft look like a good business decision. This all came up a few days ago after Andre duCros published an item  in his DieselAir newsletter.

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2 Responses to “Has Lycoming got a diesel?”

  1. Josh Says:

    While the diesel movement is great, a price point for GA aircraft of $70,000 to $130,000 isn;t going to have an effect at all. These things need to be going for 25 to 40k for the idea to do any good.

  2. curt Says:

    There has been so much news 10 years ago about TCM producing a FADEC controlled piston engine with water cooling, diesels …etc but nothing coming to the market! The problem I see is certification investment dollars then the actual price (as the previous post implies $70K to $130K is nuts). Coupled with the fact of a dwindling GA market riddled with liability!

    Recently, I took a tour of the Lycoming Engine Factory In PA. It was impressive the size of the facility! But on the down side is a company of that magnitude / capabilities producing an archaic 60 plus year old engines still. The automotive market has so much to offer us in terms of technology & safety but the dreaded Liability & Certifications costs are killing any progress! Very Sad!!!

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