DA42 incident - new tech, old ways


Here is an interesting story from Avweb

Seems that the Theilert Centurion engines being auto conversions must have sufficient battery power to keep a spark. Manage to completely drain out all your batteries, and they go into “whisper mode” :wink:

This will likely stir all sorts of debate about the safety of such a system, but I would suggest that it’s not the battery/engine system that is the problem. Nor even that this was a training/operations failure (though I think it was).

We in GA all want new and better things at lower costs, but we seem to want them to be just like what we have (only better and cheaper).

Along comes a company that offers a better mouse trap and they will certainly get a bunch of luddites talking about how nothing beats a (insert old expensive, not really that reliable engine here), or ever will. There are still a bunch of people claiming glass cockpits are unsafe.

Adding to the mess is the fact that our planes are usually serviced by non factory trained individuals who become a HUGE impediment to change (eg. the rotax 912 history).

Finally, when innovations cause accidents, the changes can be quickly and easily blamed. On the other hand, success takes years, and is almost impossible to beat into the industry’s collective consciousness.

The good news here is that no one was hurt, the plane will likely be just fine, and it didn’t happen in the US where it would likely have started a huge waste of money and time in court.



Looks like you have and extra “http:” in your link- HERE IS A FIXED LINK.


Thanks, fixed it.

Must be a training and operations error :laughing:


You’d think that as long as at least one engine is powering an alternator, there’d be enough electricity to power the gear and the ECU?

Edit: Was just talking with a CFI friend and he reminded me that the alternator needs a field from the battery to create a current.


My complete guess is that a capacitor of some sort would be a good addition for the ECU. Or, maybe you could wire the ECU to the avionics bus. Maybe there is something else in play though, my guesses to date on this engine have been pretty bad.

At any rate, I also found Thielert’s reaction reinforces what I have heard of the man and his company. They likely need to move all PR to the superior division, and fix their attitude as well.

They really do have a better mousetrap, and all would be best served if they could get some leadership talent in there to compliment the engineering skills before they end up with some events forcing a move to typical MBA/Finance/Legal minded leadership taking over and killing the goose.

Sure, it would be better if the airframe guys took all responsibilty for everything, but the FAA and the industry have made it way it is.