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Austro Engine GmbH – Engines for safe and pleasant flying

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The ability to fly has always been one of mankind‘s greatest dreams. But nowadays, air travel is no longer anything out of the ordinary. Flying in the jet of an international airline is today almost the same thing as travelling by bus. Only the smaller sporting and private planes still provide a direct experience of the wonderful feeling of flying and of sheer infinite freedom. The engines of Austro Engine GmbH ensure that this pleasure is also genuinely safe.

Since 2007, the company has produced state-of-the-art piston engines and rotary piston engines for well-known manufacturers of aircraft for general aviation. The new 7,600 m² company building of Austro Engine GmbH in Neustadt, Vienna, Austria is equipped, among other things, with four state-of-the-art engine test beds and a propeller test bed. More than 60 employees work at the head office, of whom around half concentrate on engine development. Austro Engine GmbH is a Diamond Group company and offers innovative products and services in the fields of general aviation, simulators and IT/EDP to its customers around the world. The core competences of Austro Engine GmbH include the development and production of engines for sports, private and training aircraft. First and foremost, the newly developed AE300 (E4 series). This is a 170 hp turbo diesel piston engine powered by jet A-1 fuel and represents a new generation of aircraft engines. The combination of low fuel consumption and reduced noise generation makes the AE300 (E4 series) the most environmentally friendly aircraft piston engine currently available. It only requires 25 to 30 litres of Jet A1-type kerosene per flight hour. A comparable Otto engine consumes about 55 litres of aviation fuel per hour, which, even in its reduced lead variety still contains over 5,000 mg/l of lead.

Among other engines, piston engines are installed in aircraft of Diamond Aircraft Industries. The sister company of Austro Engine GmbH is an internationally active manufacturer of glass and carbon fibre composite aircraft. The innovative aircraft solutions are produced in Wiener Neustadt and in Canada. In general aviation, Diamond Aircraft Industries is the largest manufacturer of single-engine aircraft in Canada and the third largest in North America. The company employs 1,200 people, who have already built over 3,500 aircraft. Planes with Austro Engine engines are popular not only with private customers but also with flying schools. Even Lufthansa‘s pilots train on them during their apprenticeships. The cockpit corresponds to that of a commercial aircraft. 

Austro Engine GmbH produces rotary piston engines for motor gliders and camcopters used, e.g. for geographical purposes. They are small, light and low vibration. AE50R series engines with their 50 hp have already been installed in over 700 aircraft. An even stronger rotary piston engine named AE75R will be available soon.

The rotary piston engines powered by AvGas 100 LL (low lead) or MoGas (petrol with 95 ROZ) are operated with a fully synthetic two-stroke engine oil. An oil metering pump adds it to the fuel. A new higher performance engine is already under development, which is significantly more environmentally friendly and works with even less 2-stroke oil. A closed oil circuit has been designed to lubricate the main bearing. Only the pistons and the combustion chamber will then be supplied with lubricant through the oil metering pump.

According to the specifications of the manufacturer, partially or fully synthetic automotive engine oils of the 5W30 SAE class will be used to lubricate the piston engine.

As in a car engine, they must lubricate, protect against wear and corrosion, cool engines and keep them clean. A particular challenge awaits the transmission oil of piston engines. At the same time, it also supplies the hydraulic propeller governor and hence must take over the function of a gear and hydraulic oil.

Not every lubricant is suitable for aircraft. Before a given oil is authorised for use in engines or gears, it must undergo elaborate approval procedures. The test runs are carried out on engine test beds at Austro Engine GmbH. The testing plan and protocol are then submitted to the competent aviation authority, Austro Control. Together with EASA, the European Aviation Safety Agency, it issues the official approval. Only then may the oil be used in the respective aircraft.

But that is not all. Maintenance and thus naturally the oil service of an aircraft must be precisely documented in its logbook. An oil change may also only be carried out by a certified aircraft mechanic or in an authorised service workshop. Every 100 hours, the 7 litres of oil of the piston engine must be changed. After 300 flying hours, the 2 litres of transmission oil must be changed. These intervals are obligatory, pursuant to the guidelines of the engine manufacturer and the aviation authority. Austro Engine GmbH also recommends that users commission OELCHECK to investigate the used oil. As a rule, this piece of advice is followed. Ultimately, any irregularities or potential damage to engines and gears are discovered early through analyses of lubricants and safety is significantly increased. In this way, hundreds of investigation results have accrued over the years. They are all evaluated by the manufacturer of the engines, in accordance with continuous quality controls and optimisation.

From the results of the OELCHECK laboratory reports, it has nevertheless also been clearly apparent that even after 100 flying hours, the engine oil is almost always as good as new and hence absolutely effective. Empirical values are now collected and the data is then analysed with even greater precision. Austro Engine GmbH aims to draw up documentation and to request a significant extension of the oil change intervals from the aviation authority. This would significantly reduce maintenance expenses and costs for the operators of the aircraft, and this with maximum safety and boundless pleasure in flying! 

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