• Piper's PA-44 Seminole twin trainer was first introduced in 1978. (Piper Aircraft)
    Piper's PA-44 Seminole twin trainer was first introduced in 1978. (Piper Aircraft)

Piper Aircraft announced yesterday that they will produce a diesel version of their PA-44 Seminole twin trainer, to be known as a Seminole DX.

The aircraft will be powered by two Continental CD-170 engines running on Jet-A fuel. The full-autonomy digital engine control (FADEC) system will mean students are confronted with a single power lever in the cockpit.

Piper has made the move after their experience with the Archer DX, which uses the Continental CD-155 motor.

"Our experience with the Archer DX convinced us and our customers that we could deliver the best twin-engine training platform using the Continental Jet-A engine," said Piper CEO Simon Caldecott. "We are extremely happy with the collaboration with Continental Motors. As the undisputed leader of Jet-A engines in general aviation they understand perfectly the pilot training market and our own needs."

The CD-170 fitted to the Seminole DX will be complemented with a counter-rotating CDL-170, which Piper believes will offer new levels of simplicity, economy and performance. According to Piper, the experience with the Archer DX also showed increased level of dispatch rates.

By transitioning to Jet-A burning engines, Piper says the Seminole DX addresses the requirements expressed by many customers across the world, especially in the many regions where avgas availability and cost is a concern.

The Seminole DX will also be fitted with the latest Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.

Piper's avgas-powered Seminole first appeared on the market in 1978, and is has become one of the most popular twin trainers in the world. Contemporary competitors such as the Beech Duchess and Grumman GA-7 have long been out of production.

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