Powerplant Developments Chief Executive Officer Tim T. Archer spoke at a press conference July 30 at AirVenture and revealed some tantalizing details about the company’s unique three-cylinder, six opposed piston, lightweight (156 pounds dry) diesel engine, which is under development for the general aviation market.
Archer admitted that the engine’s designer is Michael Daniels, who comes from a legacy of engine design through his company (and his father’s before his) Westlake. Daniels and Archer are two of four partners in the company. Westlake was involved in the development of projects such as the HEMI head for Chrysler. Archer also introduced Jamie Cupler, a consultant who is evaluating the company for a group of investors who could provide the seed money to fund the production of the Gemini 100 and 125 engines.
The Gemini line of engines evolved from Daniels’ diesel airship engine that had more than 2000 hours of run experience both on the ground and on airships before it was shelved when the Italian company developing it went bankrupt. That engine was redesigned with three cylinders, dropping quite a bit of weight in the process, and became the Gemini 100.
Powerplant Developments has recently rewritten its business plan because of interest in the engine from the marine and trucking industries. The U.K. based company is looking for a U.S. production facility for its complete engine line. Archer reiterated that even with its broadened product line, the company’s mission first and foremost is to produce a general aviation diesel engine.
Archer announced that the company has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Italian aviation company TECNAM to test the 100-hp engine in the P92 Eaglet, an LSA, and the 125-hp engine is expected to be tested in TECNAM’s P2006T light twin.