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Engine INSTallation And INtegration

Periodic Reporting for period 4 - EINSTAIN (Engine INSTallation And INtegration)

Periodo di rendicontazione: 2019-07-01 al 2020-12-31

Nowadays, almost all General Aviation piston-powered aircrafts are powered by Avgas fuel. For decades, piston engines like Lycoming and Continental were allowed to use only this type of fuel, which is characterized by:
• high octane values;
• very low vapor pressure indexes;
• high cost because of its limited tracked and certified production;
• high performances.
The project is originated by the need to replace the Avgas piston engine with a Diesel engine that allows a reduction in fuel consumption and cost savings, but it also has a positive effect on the environment in terms of emissions, lower risk of fire during refueling, reducted noise and increased propeller efficiency.
In this perspective, TECNAM presented the project “Engine INSTallation And INtegration”(acronym “EINSTAIN”) – under the topic JTI-CS2-2014-CFP01-ENG-04-04 “Engine Installation Optimization“, issued in the first call for core partner and it has been assigned successfully the grant (no. 687132) for the implementation of the envisaged activities.
The project has the objective to study “Diesel” engine aircraft installation optimization studies in order to improve the global powerplant performance (cooling optimization, compactness, drag reduction and global weight saving).
In order to achieve this goal the SR460, a six-cylinders, air/oil-cooled turbo-diesel engine produced by SMA, was selected to develop a dedicated configuration on the TECNAM P2012 TRAVELLER aircraft.
The main advantages are reported as follows:
• The average fuel consumption will be about 45kg/hr/engine against an average of 130kg/hr of a turboprop engine;
• P2012 will be the first twin engine aircraft propelled both by "Avgas" and "Kerosene" variants;
• P2012 with SR460 will have a very competitive selling price, comparable to single engine turboprops with the same-passengers capability;
• An additional benefit of Diesel is based on the reduced fuel price.
Thanks to EINSTAIN project, TECNAM achieved knowledge and completed the design of the first twin-engine aircraft powered both diesel and Avgas.
A diesel engine is a novel solution for TECNAM that can open new commercial scenarios for P2012 (reference aircraft) and for brand new aircrafts. Operational flexibility and performance saving due to the innovation are main objectives, for design of new aircrafts and their competitiveness.
At the beginning of the project, diesel engine installation for General Aviation Aircrafts has been analyzed and developed, referring to P2012 Model.
Also requirements and data for aerodynamics and thermal exchange features have been set, starting the iterative loop for configuration optimization, taking into account weight issues too.
The Wing real scale hardware Mock Up, complete of Engine Mount and interfaces, Cowlings and ducts has been manufactured ready for Dummy Engine and Functional Engine Testing, respectively developed to check and to fix installation issues and ground test article.
The knowledge acquired in installation and performance modeling was transferred to P2010 CDI Aircraft (4 Seats, Single Engine Aircraft), whose permit to fly has been conveniently achieved within TECNAM DOA Privileges; once performed additional and dedicated CFD simulations and FEM Analysis, ground tests have been performed, thus enabling to perform flight test and numerical-experimental correlation between CFD and FEM simulation with real flight operation data.
After a long market analysis, made in cooperation with more than 70 dealers worldwide, TECNAM considers that the future of General Aviation will no longer count on gasoline-powered engines for different reasons including, but not limited to: gasoline price, limitations of AKI91 aviation gasoline on the TIO/TEO-540 turbocharged engine series, difficulty in fuel supply and complete absence of aviation gasoline in many worldwide countries.
For this reason, it appears evident that designing and certifying a new aircraft in the 21st Century needs to take into account these aspects. Actually:
“if an Airline Company wants to carry up to 9 passengers with single-pilot operations and with no access to AVGAS, simply have no choice on the market and no business”.
The selection of a good partner for engine manufacturing is essential and linked to the following requirements:
• An engine manufacturer that should have experience in heavy fuel piston engine certification under EASA;
• An engine manufacturer that has a big and capillary diffused after-sales service worldwide;
• An engine manufacturer that is able to provide a “born for aircraft” engine, suitable for wing nacelle installation, in comparison with all the other players mainly derived from automotive diesel engines and so high installation volumes.
It is evident that the above-mentioned points result in high investments and consequent high engine acquisition price. For this reason, TECNAM demonstrated that even where access to Avgas is available, the use of JET fuel-powered piston engine is still convenient in the medium/long term.

Following the main considerations:
• the spread between the avgas and Jet-A cost is different in USA and Europe;
•the diesel engine has generally lower fuel consumption in all the flight phases (average of 58lt/h against 83lt/h at same cruise power output: 260hp) and so lower emissions and absence of lead, actually burnt in all avgas fuels engines;
• the oil consumption is lower as well due to the modern technology and component sealing.

With the previous assumptions, also taking into account that diesel piston engines have consistent differences in purchasing price (generally +50% for the same rated power in comparison with an Avgas operated one) and in maintenance, an airline company can recover all the related costs in 3.000 flight hours (in USA) or 366hr (in Europe). This means that, after 3.000 hours (or only 366 hours in Europe), the airline company will have the investment of the diesel engine installation paid and will start increasing the profit which can be quantified in 57$ per passenger (USA) or 127€/passenger (EU) due to the lower operating costs, for every single flight2.
The possibility to offer the same platform powered by Avgas and JET fuel (diesel) engines will be the winning strategy for all worldwide scenarios.

The project is a significant experience for diesel engines in General Aviation.
Wider operative scenarios/runaways and airports allow diesel-propelled aircraft to connect people from remote areas to the main hub, thus have a huge social impact and a commercial opportunity for TECNAM.

P2010 CDI Achieved Type Certificate n. EASA.A.576 (Is.10) on Oct. 2020.