We see and hear a continuing focus on electric airplanes including here at one of your (I hope) favorite websites. We’ll continue to hear more about electric but the whirring motors are not the only innovation in powerplants. In true, another project with a completely different sound may be more meaningful in the short term and that statement is even more true outside the United States.
As our Sun ‘n Fun 2015 video shows, we have been following Superior Air Parts new Gemini Diesel 100 engine. The latest news in this development is a launch installation on an American Legend Aircraft Company airframe shown at AirVenture Oshkosh 2015 just three months after its debut. The two companies, both from Texas, parlayed their close proximity to one another to get the install done in a short time.
Recently Legend announced they would start making the diesel available to customers. My expectations are that such an engine will especially help Legend’s out-of-USA sales because in many part of the world avgas is hard to find at any price but diesels are good at burning many fuels, some of which will much more available. As Legend has ASTM approval, they can sell in a number of countries. Superior has announced they are pursuing ASTM approval for Gemini.
The Sulphur Springs, Texas company announced, “We began offering a 100-horsepower Gemini Diesel engine as a factory option on the Legend Cub. The new Gemini Diesel 100 from Superior Air Parts is a high-torque, highly efficient powerplant. Mounted on the Legend Cub, the Gemini Diesel offers numerous benefits never before available to Cub operators.”
American Legend observed that Gemini Diesel can run on a variety of available fuels including Jet A, diesel, and bio-diesel. “While many see diesel as the future of aviation,” Legend said, “it is indeed a nearly universal and increasingly available fuel today. The Diesel-Cub combination bodes to be an extremely popular option for Legend Cub buyers and in a growing number of locations worldwide.”
Superior Air Parts is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Superior Aviation Group, a leading manufacturer of FAA approved aftermarket replacement parts for Lycoming and Continental aircraft engines. The company sells a line of traditional engines often used on homebuilt aircraft. The diesel, derived from a British design, is a new foray for the experienced company.
Superior’s Gemini 100 uniflow diesel is a distinctive design employing six pistons in a horizontally-opposed arrangement of three cylinders functioning with a two-stroke operation. “Compared to same-class avgas engines, the Gemini is lighter in weight, yet higher in torque at lower RPM,” said Legend. They also believe maintenance and reliability are eased because Gemini 100 boasts fewer moving parts, like most diesels.
“At an installed weight of just under 200 pounds,” Legend continued, “the Gemini Diesel is expected to deliver aircraft performance numbers comparable to the Continental O-200-powered Legend Cub.” However, they note, “Gemini Diesel will produce greener operations with greater fuel efficiency.” Reportedly, Gemini outputs much lower emissions, and delivers up to 20-percent lower fuel burn than avgas piston engines of comparable power.”
The Gemini Diesel option on the Legend Cub will be particularly appealing to owners who operate in remote locations and in parts of the world where 100LL avgas is expensive or difficult to find. “The Gemini Diesel option will really expand the reach of Legend Cub pilots,” stated Darin Hart, president of American Legend Aircraft Company.
In summary, the Gemini Diesel 100 engine advantages include:
High power-to-weight ratio
Higher engine torque at lower RPM
Highly efficient, two-stroke diesel power
Up to 20% lower fuel burn than conventional engines
Runs on Jet A, a global fuel solution with better availability, quality, consistency and pricing
Greener operations with lower emissions
Extended range on less fuel
Mechanically simpler design, with fewer moving parts
Available as a Legend Cub factory engine option
Hear an interview with American Legend boss Darin Hart and Superior Air Parts VP Scott Hays in one of our newest videos: