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DeltaHawk Showcases Diesel Engine

New technology is more efficient, affordable for GA

By Megan Esau, EAA Assistant Editor

July 24, 2018 - DeltaHawk is boasting a low-cost, lightweight, fuel-efficient alternative for avgas-driven general aviation engines with its DH180A4, on display in booths 166-167 and 177-178 at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018.

DeltaHawk’s engine uses diesel technology to burn Jet A fuel, which is available worldwide, at up to 40 percent more fuel efficiency than a gasoline engine.

“It’s a really big deal in [other countries] where avgas is about $15 a gallon right now,” said Dennis Webb, director of marketing and certification of DeltaHawk, which is based in Racine, Wisconsin. “But even here it’s important.”

The DH180A4 is the antithesis of the qualities people typically associate with diesel, such as heavy and noisy.

“The key for aviation is lightweight and compact,” Webb, EAA 1089093, said. “To make a successful aviation diesel, you have to be able to figure out how to do that, and then you add to that the reliability concerns and the FAA regulation concerns.”

Compared to a traditional gasoline/avgas engine, the DH180A4 is smaller, rounder, and has a small aerodynamic profile.

“So we have a lot less drag, and it looks cooler,” Webb said. “The front end of most propeller aircraft are kind of blocky with big holes for the engine; ours looks more like a turboprop.”

The DH180A4 has a fuel burn of 7.5 gph at 135 hp and is expected to be certified by the FAA in 2019. Webb said another edge DeltaHawk has over the competition is that its engine was purpose-built for aviation, rather than being an automotive or likewise conversion.

“This was designed by pilots for pilots to be very reliable, very easy to maintain, and to have a long life,” Webb said. “Besides what we’re trying to do from a reliability and a performance standpoint, we’re really focused on lower weight and lower cost, and I think the aviation community will be pleasantly surprised when it’s released where we are price-wise compared to competitors.”