Africair Diesel news from President, Lynne Keller:
For more than a decade, the Africair Group of Companies, including Tropical Aviation Distributors (TAD) and Propel Aviation Sales & Services, have been retrofitting Cessna Skyhawks with diesel/Jet-A powered piston engines. The engine manufacturer was known as Centurion Aircraft Engines prior to its acquisition in 2013 by Continental Motors, and is now called Continental Diesel. Africair’s personnel have performed in total over 60 retrofits, installations and upgrades to Jetfuel on mostly Cessna 172s in Egypt, South Africa, Germany, and Guadeloupe, and have exported retrofitted aircraft from Miami to Iraq, Ethiopia, Angola, Libya, Colombia and other countries. Propel is an EASA and FAA Certified 145 Repair Station, and an authorized Cessna Service Station based at Tamiami Airport in Miami, Florida.
The Africair Group employs 8 technicians that have completed the Continental Diesel factory training course and 6 pilots with significant time in the Continental Diesel equipped products. The group has supplied technicians and pilots for in-country training for months at a time to support program implementation around the globe. Africair’s employees speak French, Creole, Portuguese, Spanish, German, Arabic, Hindi, Farsi, and Swahili and has liaison offices in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nairobi, Kenya, and a team of Field Service Engineers based in Abuja, Nigeria.
“Our most recent success stories, continues Lynn, include supplying in 2013 a fleet of six new Skyhawks to the Angolan Air Force (picture above) which are utilized for ab-initio training for their pilots. In July of 2014, Africair delivered three new diesel 172s to Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa, which will be heavily utilized for years to come. Later this month, Abyssinian Flight Services in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia will take delivery of their 7th and 8th retrofitted Skyhawk. Africair specializes in customized support for their diesel aircraft and can arrange all international sales logistics, disassembly and containerization, shipping, reassembly, in-country technical and flight support, and unparalleled after sales support. Cessna Skyhawks converted from Avgas to Diesel are logging thousands of hours all over the world. The fleet of four-cylinder power plants has accrued over 4 million hours and is flying in 2,400 aircraft worldwide. Africair, TAD, and Propel are uniquely qualified to retrofit, upgrade, or support any diesel-equipped aircraft. With the backing of AVIC Corporation, and the support of Continental Motors, Continental Diesel has brought new stability to an outstanding line of diesel engines. As the market leader for diesel and AvGas aircraft engines, Continental Motors Group has chosen to bring all of their diesel engines under a single brand as of July 2014. The Diesel engines previously referred to as “Centurion” are renamed “Continental Diesel” abbreviated as “CD”. The former Centurion Diesel 2.0S is now the CD-155 and the former Centurion Diesel 2.0 engine is now the CD-135. Continental’s newest diesel V6 will start the CD-300 series of engines, with the first product rated at 310HP. As Continental Motors continues to expand their diesel offerings, our companies will be there ready to install, service, and support whichever model you are interested in.”
As always with aero diesel, the CD retrofit is extensive and involves the engine exchange plus adding return fuel lines, relocating the main battery, installing backup batteries for the systems, modifying the instrument panel, installing the FADEC-controlled power lever, replacing the fuel ports and caps, and other modifications. The Africair Group is a Continental “Master Installation Center” and has completed far more retrofit installations than any other facility in the world.
DieselAir asked what about the price? Lynne says: “As for the new 2014 Skyhawks we have converted, you can expect the base purchase price of aircraft ($365,000) as well as the conversion cost ($90,000) making it a total cost of $455,000. For new units from the factory, we offer a $25,000 or greater credit for the standard equipped Lycoming engine depending on market value. If you factor in the engine credit the price comes out around $430,000-$420,000. As for the pre-owned Skyhawks it all depends on the year and condition. For example, we have available now in inventory a 2000 “S” model with less than 1000hrs total time on the airframe and a fresh conversion priced at $295,000. We also allow buyers to customize and spec out the aircraft to meet their specific needs so the prices can vary.”
About Diesel Air
In 1998, one diesel engine flew on a converted airplane for the first time since 1945. Today, close to 4,000 singles and twins are flying. This is the beginning of a worldwide trend which will eventually allow a rebirth of the piston-engined aircraft, around new specs and new missions.
DieselAir Research, Inc., the publisher of The DieselAir Newsletter, offers strategic intelligence services to the aircraft industry, its suppliers and its customers who ambition to benefit from this global change of paradigm which will mean new markets, new concepts, new services, new materials and components… You may be interested in our services if your firm designs and/or manufactures aircraft and components, aero engines, avionics, propellers and engine components, fuel systems or additives, advanced materials, or industry specific machinery for manufacturing of these; or provides aviation services such as fuel production or distribution; flight training, aircraft chartering, maintenance and operations (FBO’s); or airport management and design, traffic control, hangar, materials handling and storage equipment; or consulting and financial services for these industries; or advertising, sales promotion, trade shows, specialized publications.
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