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World’s helicopter leader ready to try diesel

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The largest helicopter maker in the world has announced it is committed to developing a diesel-powered helicopter in the next five years. Eurocopter displayed an example of a possible diesel piston-engine design at this week’s Heli-Expo in Houston. The company says the efficient powerplant could replace turbine engines in its light, single-engine helicopters…

Diesel engines have proven to be very successful in the auto industry over the past decade. Gone are the days of noisy, gutless, smoky motors. Today’s diesels are quiet, efficient and the power-to-weight ratio is so good, diesels are used in racing. Diesel-powered cars from Audi and Peugeot have dominated the iconic 24 Hours of LeMans in recent years…

“Specific fuel consumption is cut by 40 percent,” he said compared to existing turbine engines used in the company’s smaller helicopters.

Currently all of Eurocopter’s helicopters are turbine-powered. Turbine engines are incredibly reliable and provide a large amount of power for the weight of the motor. But they are also quite thirsty for fuel. The cost of fuel for a small helicopter can run several hundred dollars per hour. Any reduction is obviously welcome news to helicopter operators.

Eurocopter has said its EC120 (pictured above) would be a likely candidate for the diesel engine. Currently, the helicopter is powered by Turbomeca Arrius turbine engine…

RTFA. Interesting tech in the 2-stroke diesel Eurocopter exhibited. Jason Paur asked the same questions I would have – and apparently got the right answers.

Usually, I’d suggest a twin turbo to cut lag time. But, the EcoMotor is dual-piston, 2-stroke and might not need the extra timing boost.

Thanks, wok3

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Written by Ed Campbell

February 25, 2010 at 12:00 pm

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