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Wed, Mar 13, 2024

ANN Flies The Deltahawk Diesel

Recent Trip Covered A Total Of 818 Nm, At An Average 148 Kts True Airspeed And A Total Fuel Burn Of 45 Gallons Of Jet A

ANN had an exceptional opportunity this week, with a chance to get a little operational experience flying an aircraft equipped with the Deltahawk DHK180 aviation diesel engine. 

The experience was fascinating... and keep in mind that the aircraft we flew was an experimental test vehicle with a prototype engine in an airplane that was normally equipped with 30 more horsepower than what was listed for the DHK180 -- and we didn't seem to be missing it much. So... solid data is yet to come... and will have to wait until the engine matures to a production version... which shouldn't be long now.

The startup was interesting... pretty much revolving around allowing the glow plugs about ten seconds to fire up and be ready to complete the start process... which requires a little experience with how to handle the throttle. Though the overall experience is less difficult than a hot-start in an IO-540 or IO-550. There is still a slight low amplitude, high-frequency vibe in idle... but it all but disappears with power application and cruise operation is surprisingly smooth. And for 30HP less than the engine it replaced, the DHK180 pushed an elder Gen 1 SR20 along at over 140kts with about 75% power. 

Throughout the flight, there was a ready response to throttle input, temps seemed to be within the instrumentations' expected parameters, and the overall impression was confidence-boosting... no weirdness, no untoward vibration, and while the motor definitely runs differently from the average piston, the operational requirements didn't take long to understand and adapt to.

The flight down from Racine, WI, the day before, covered a total of 818 NM, at an average 148 Kts True Airspeed and a total fuel burn of 45 gallons of Jet A -- nonstop. That's efficient traveling... though I think one of the more significant markets will be flight training due to the direct operational efficiencies and a hoped-for TBO that should knock down ops costs significantly.

Pretty impressive... More info to come.




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