A modern, jet-A-burning diesel engine is coming to the Piper J-3-inspired Legend Cub after American Legend Aircraft signed on as the launch partner for the 100 horsepower Gemini powerplant introduced by Superior Air Parts earlier this year at Sun ‘n Fun.
The unusual 3-cylinder Gemini engine will be offered as a factory option in the Legend Cub, which is available today with the 100 hp Continental O-200 gasoline piston engine.
American Legend president Darrin Hart said he chose the new Superior diesel for the Legend Cub based on customer demand for jet-A-burning engines in international markets like China. He predicts there will be a market for the diesel engine option in the United States as well among buyers looking to cash in on the improved fuel efficiency of the Gemini diesel, which burns less than 4 gallons an hour at cruise power settings.
With an installed weight of 200 pounds, Hart said he expects the Gemini diesel to deliver performance comparable to the O-200-powered Legend Cub, but with greener operations. “We are especially excited to offer the diesel option to our owners who operate in remote locations or in parts of the world where 100LL avgas is expensive or difficult to find,” he said. “The Gemini diesel option will really expand the reach of Legend Cub aircraft.”
Superior, which is positioning the engine as an alternative to the Rotax 912 series, expects to gain ASTM approval next year, allowing installations in light sport and experimental airplanes.
American Legend has installed a developmental Gemini engine on a test airframe, which is on display this week at Superior’s Oshkosh exhibit. It plans to begin flying the airplane soon.
Hart and Hayes said the price premium for the diesel engine option hasn’t yet been worked out, but it is expected to be comparable to the price of the current O-200, which American Legend will continue offering.
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