World’s First Diesel-Powered Helicopter Hits Prototype Stage

Much hullabaloo is made about green-powered boats, airplanes, and especially automobiles; but don’t count out the helicopter when it comes to green development. Queensland, Australia-based Delta Helicopters has announced that its Delta D2 prototype will be the world’s first diesel-fueled helicopter.

The Delta D2 is expected to be made available in a self-assembled kit. A rather unorthodox method of distribution to be sure, but the D2’s projected user base, farmers on remote Australian farms who already have diesel on hand in order to power farm equipment, is certainly used to applying a bit of elbow grease to get equipment running. The engine is being developed by US firm DeltaHawk, who, according to Tree Hugger, has “been working on [a] diesel aviation engine that they claim burns 40% less fuel standard gasoline aviation engines and 75% less than turbine aviation engines.” DeltaHawk also states that their engine will be able to process biofuel and synthetic fuel, and will be capable of 30 to 40 percent more range per gallon.

delta d2

Image via Delta Helicopters

Aeronautical engineer Bill Whitney is the designer of the two-seat D2 helicopter, which, according to Whitney, will include semi-transparent fuel tanks. The D2 kit is $180,000 AUD, or around $200,000 AUD for a fully assembled vehicle.

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