DOI: 10.3390/aerospace10090738 ISSN:

An Analytical Study of the Elements of Airworthiness Certification Technology Based on the Development of the Conversion of Diesel Engines for Vehicles to Aviation

Junwoo Lim, Seangwock Lee, Jaeyeop Chung, Youngwan Kim, Giyoung Park
  • Aerospace Engineering

Aircraft reciprocating engines have been in operation over the past 100 years, which is a testament to their high levels of reliability and stability. Compared to turbine engines, reciprocating engines are at a disadvantage when it comes to high-speed flight. Nevertheless, they are widely used mainly for small aircraft thanks to their high specific power or power-to-weight ratio. Considering that propulsion systems account for approximately 40% of the aircraft price, lightness and high performance are key attributes of aircraft to achieve longer endurance. With the advantages offered by diesel engines, such as fuel economy, less maintenance, and a long lifespan, many attempts have been made to mount automotive diesel engines on urban air mobility and light aircraft. Recognizing advanced automotive diesel technology, where the power-to-weight ratio of the diesel engine is approximately 1 PS/kg, we analyzed a case where an automobile engine was converted for use in an aircraft. We focused on the Mercedes-Benz OM640 and the Austro AE300 and disassembled the two engines for comparative analysis. We then classified the engine components modified for aircraft use by (1) defining the major engine parts as fixed and alteration ones; (2) identifying the airworthiness-related alteration parts; and (3) categorizing the conversion purposes into classes A, B, and C. Components under class A were further categorized into subgroups in accordance with the airworthiness certification specifications outlined by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency. This helped determine the corresponding airworthiness standards for each subgroup. An inspection of the oil supply system revealed the need to apply safety wiring for some components to prevent possible oil leakages, which can be caused by the pressure difference with increasing altitude. Moreover, given that sensor manufacturers are required to present guidelines for sensor redundancy through numerous designs and tests and secure single-fault tolerance, we established criteria for selecting and applying sensors and separating sensors that must be made redundant from ones that are not subject to sensor redundancy.

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