In its first public outing was the new Weslake Diesel engine fitted to Sprite Aviation’s Groppo Trail. The unit currently fitted is engine number two, which has been run for six and a half hours at full power. Anticipated fuel burn for the 83hp engine is 9lph at 75%. The weight is expected to be similar to a Rotax 912, but Graham Smith from Sprite explained that it’s hard to tell with no fluids in the engine yet. He also expects the engine to be slightly cheaper than the Rotax too.
The engine runs on red diesel with an exemption from HMRC. Smith explained, “It presents a much cheaper option for owners, who could see operating costs of £4.50 an hour – another advantage is if you have an accident, the fuel doesn’t burn as easily so it’s much safer, plus owners are legally able to store this kind of fuel at home and then dispense it straight to the aircraft. Those benefits are brilliant when coupled with the potential for pilots to save money on their flying.”
He added, “The combination should be flying within the year, but most likely within eight weeks or so, all being well. The LAA is being very helpful.”
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