Thielert Troubles Delay Turbodiesel Skyhawk
Chalk it up to bad timing. Seven months after Cessna announced
it would sell a model of its storied 172 Skyhawk with a Thielert
turbodiesel engine, the planemaker has put the program on hold due
to ongoing strife at the troubled German engine supplier.
Introduced with much fanfare at AOPA Expo
2007, Cessna's 172TD was to feature a Full Authority
Digital Engine Control (FADEC) equipped Thielert Centurion 2.0
liter engine, producing 155 horsepower. Cessna noted the
Jet-A-fueled model would appeal not only to efficiency-minded
pilots in the United States, but also to users in countries where
100LL is tough to come by.
It was a great idea... but Cessna hadn't counted on Thielert's
recent woes. As ANN reported, Thielert
Aircraft Engines AG filed for insolvency in a German court April
24, and ousted company founder and CEO Frank Thielert, along with
former CFO Roswitha Grosser, due to errors with the Thielert's
financial statements from 2003-2005, which rendered those
statements "probably incorrect and possibly void," according to
For the moment, the future of Thielert as a company is
unclear... making it an unwise bet for Cessna to deliver planes
equipped with the company's diesel powerplant to
"We continue to watch the Thielert situation closely," Cessna
spokesman Doug Oliver told ANN. "At this point, we have decided
that we will not deliver 172TD aircraft during 2008, and we have
informed our customers accordingly."
No 172TD models were delivered to US customers, and the
planemaker was still in the process of obtaining a type-certificate
for the factory installation. Cessna had over 100 orders for the TD
model in the books.
With such strong customer interest, this certainly isn't
the last we'll hear from Cessna regarding diesel powerplants in its
planes... but for the moment, at least, the TD project is out of