• The Delta D2 prototype.
    The Delta D2 prototype.

South East Queensland's Delta Helicopters hopes to complete testing of its Delta D2 prototype, the world's first diesel chopper, later this year.

After eight years of developing the Delta D2, the company hopes to finish testing the prototype by August. The two-place Delta D2 could be suitably employed by farmers for mustering operations and aerial property inspections.

"I'm hoping to be able to offer the amateur-built kit side of it by the end of this year in real product," Delta Helicopters' Graeme Smith told ABC Online. "We should be ready as far as finishing our testing in about two, maybe three month's time."

The Delta D2's engine, being built by US company DeltaHawk, is a four-cylinder, two-stroke, water-cooled, turbocharged diesel power plant that contains no spark plugs, magnetos, high tension leads, valves, or head gaskets. It also boasts custom made carbon-fibre rotors, semi-transparent fuel tanks, a large cargo box under the rotor and transparent inspection hatches over critical couplings.

DeltaHawk claims the engine burns 40 per cent less fuel than standard aircraft engines and 75 per cent less than turbine engines. The engine, which will be unique to the Delta D2, is also said to be capable of running on biofuels.

"The Delta can generate more torque, which is what helicopters need to keep aloft,” aeronautical engineer Bill Whitney, who designed the Delta D2, explains. “They're less volatile and the fuel is greener than petrol, so the same quantity takes you further.”

For more on the Delta D2 click here.

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