For nearly two decades, the Africair Group of Companies, including Tropical Aviation Distributors and Propel Aviation Sales & Services, have been retrofitting Cessna Skyhawks with Continental Aerospace Technologies Diesel engines. Our first conversion was performed in Germany as we transformed a standard 2001 Lycoming-powered Skyhawk to embark on a demonstration tour throughout East Africa. Propel Aviation disassembled and containerized N390SP, a Cessna 172SP, and shipped it via sea freight to Hamburg, Germany.
Upon arrival in Hamburg, our team of technicians reassembled the aircraft, performed our first retrofit 1.7 engine installation under the guidance of the Continental Aerospace Technologies factory technicians, updated the graphics, and put the aircraft on the German aircraft registry.
Back then, the retrofit installations were not FAA certified, so we formed a German holding company and hired a qualified German CFI to fly the aircraft with our sales personnel.