The purpose of this article is to investigate utilization of common-rail turbocharged diesel aero-engines as primary propulsion powerplant for light-to-medium helicopters and airplanes. This article summarizes the results of a larger study on possible implementation of novel aerospace propulsion systems utilizing aero-diesel powerplant with hybrid, power-assist, and super-power capabilities for powered aircraft. Thermodynamic cycles of gasoline, diesel and jet engines are compared. The power-density of the respective powerplant and of the total power-train with fuel storage was examined. The feasibility of hybrid and super-power assist was considered for aero-diesel powerplants. The safety, technical and environmental footprint of each system was evaluated. The findings of this article identify many technical, safety, and environmental advantages by using aero-diesel engines in light-to-medium aircraft. Diesel engines represent well proven technology. The main obstacle for widespread and faster application of aero-diesels in aviation/aeronautics is lengthy certification process by regulatory agencies and some minor remaining control, operational, and maintenance issues. Implications of aero-diesel engine utilization in aeronautical applications may result in enhanced performance characteristics and safety of flight while lowering operational costs. Additionally, diesel engines leave lower negative environmental footprint than the other traditional aerospace propulsion systems.

This editorial does not reflect the views of the IJAAA or ERAU. This work was not peer reviewed.