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Soloy Intros Cessna Skylane Diesel Conversion

Turbine conversion specialist changes focus to pistons

By James Wynbrandt

July 28, 2017 - Soloy Aviation (Booth 18, Main Aircraft Display Area), known for its turbine engine conversions, has introduced its first compression-ignition engined Cessna 182 Skylane, here at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. The plane is powered by a 230-hp Safran SMA SR 305-230E diesel.

“Our previous business model was taking out piston [engines] and installing turbines, but we have seen the need [for a conversion] in the lower price segment,” said Tony Uhl, Soyloy’s assistant managing director, international sales, and technical representative.

Depending on the power setting, the 230-hp engine burns between six and 12 gph. On the nine-hour flight here from Olympia, Washington — which included an hour of holding over Wittman Regional Airport during the Bonanzas to Oshkosh arrival — the Skylane used a total of 80 gallons of biofuel, and eight ounces, or one-quarter quart of oil. Biofuel was used because, “We want to do something good for the planet, we want to leave a green footprint,” Tony said. The biofuel, a drop in replacement for standard jet fuel, requires no airframe or engine modification.

A prototype of the system was shown last year here, and in the interim, Soloy has added a new electronic engine monitoring system, received EASA certification, and is awaiting FAA validation of the supplemental type certificate (STC) for the Skylane installation. It expects approval by year’s end.

In addition to reduced fuel burn, the Safran SMA engine, with a 2,400-hour TBO, requires about half the maintenance and costs associated with a piston engine.

Potential customers for the conversion include government agencies conducting surveillance and observation missions, flight schools seeking to reduce fuel costs, and piston operators without regular access to 100LL fuel. In addition to the engine, the conversion kit includes a newly engineered, high-efficiency cowling, and Electronic International MVP-50 engine monitor.

Soloy anticipates kit deliveries will commence in Q1 of next year. Installation time is estimated at 100 to 120 hours. List price for the 230-hp engine is $200,000, but at AirVenture, the company is offering introductory pricing of $179,000 for the kit, and taking deposits for the conversions. 

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