Diesel-powered vehicles and equipment play an increasing role in general and business aviation services. New diesel engine options in general aviation aircraft as well as trucks and off-road equipment are used by fixed base operators (FBOs) to service and maintain aircraft and enable airfield operations. All rely largely on diesel technology.
The general aviation (GA) industry - smaller non-scheduled aircraft - provides a growing alternative to scheduled commercial air transportation and provides unmatched transportation flexibility. An estimated 65 percent of GA flights are conducted for business and public services that need transportation more flexible than the airlines can offer. General aviation also provides important public services such as remote location access, emergency medical evacuation and contributes to safe food and pesticide control through aerial application.
To serve a growing general and business aviation sector also requires upgrades to ground service equipment by fixed base operators (FBOs). At every airport in the U.S., FBOs use fueling trucks, tug and tow tractors, sweepers, snow removal machines and other service vehicles to provide essential fueling and aircraft marshalling and maintenance services for general and business aviation aircraft and the airfield. Many of these vehicles are powered by diesel engines, relying on the power, performance, reliability, durability and economical operation offered by diesel technologies. Ensuring proper maintenance, training and servicing of new technology diesel engines ensures maximum uptime and readiness.
General Aviation Aircraft: Diesel?
Facing dwindling supplies and high costs of .100 low-lead avgas, general aviation manufacturers have been seeking a suitable replacement fuel and technology that meets the ultra-high safety and performance standards of general aviation: reliability, proven, available and safe along with the right combination of power and performance and low operating costs.
That's why the GA industry around the world is exploring clean diesel power.
Leaders in general aviation like American Champion Aircraft, Cessna, Continental Motors, DeltaHawk Engines and Lycoming all have recently announced the development or introduction of new diesel engine options coming in the U.S.
Aircraft and engine manufacturers are reporting the new diesel engines have lower fuel consumption and increased range and better performance at altitude - some very significant improvements that are being welcomed by the general aviation industry. The same attributes that have made diesel engines the power behind virtually all modes of surface transportation now has the potential to transition the future of the aviation industry. Major aircraft and engine manufacturers' strong commitment to diesel engines is an important step in the future expansion of diesel technology in a new arena. Some analysts predict the wide spread adoption of diesel engines throughout general aviation and even suggest that the increased fuel efficiency and lead-free emissions from new diesel engines may be the biggest change in light aircraft engines in many years.
For both business and personal travel, general aviation means going where you want to go (not just where the airlines go), when you want to go. The payoff is greater transportation flexibility and productivity than any other mode of travel can provide.
Like a car truck or even construction machine, safety and ownership and operating costs for general aviation aircraft are of paramount concern.