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What are the operational differences between normal diesel fuel used in cars and the Jet-A diesel type fuel used for some prop aircraft such as the Diamond DA62? I know that aircraft use Jet-A fuel, but could an airplane be run on car diesel?

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  • $\begingroup$ According to this it seems like Jet-A is actually worse for diesels. The reason to use it is that it is already available at airports (in Europe more than in US). $\endgroup$ – Jan Hudec May 30 '16 at 10:04
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    $\begingroup$ related? aviation.stackexchange.com/q/12184/1467 $\endgroup$ – Federico May 30 '16 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ @Federico not just related, already answered there too $\endgroup$ – Timpanus May 30 '16 at 13:11
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    $\begingroup$ I don't see that the supposed duplicate answers this question; it does lay out some of the characteristics of a few aviation fuels, but does not answer the question: can an aircraft diesel engine run on auto diesel instead of Jet-A? The answer to that is: it depends, but generally yes. I understand that the SMA diesel, for example, was largely designed to run on auto diesel, but the operators I have worked with use Jet-A due to availability and fuel quality. $\endgroup$ – J Walters May 31 '16 at 10:36
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    $\begingroup$ @JonathanWalters I do not agree that the original version was mainly about running aircraft with diesel. With your edit I agree that it can be reopened. $\endgroup$ – Federico May 31 '16 at 12:12
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In at least some cases, yes. Continental's CD-155 diesel engine will run on auto diesel, Jet A or any mixture of both:

The CD-155 is certified for the use of both jet fuel and diesel (DIN EN590) and is running with the two fuels in any mixture ratio.

EN590 is the European standard for auto diesel. The Gemini 125 engine can run on Jet A and diesel according to their website, as can the Austro AE300. So it seems that in general, aircraft diesel engines can indeed run on auto diesel.

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Yes, and diesel cars can run on aviation jet fuel. Have heard delightful testimony of this from some owners of diesel cars who worked at an airport.

The Austro diesel engine in a Diamond aircraft is an adaptation of a Mercedes car diesel engine. Runs fine on both car diesel and jet A-1.

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    $\begingroup$ There is an airframe modification required (at least on the DA42) to use diesel, but I don't know the extent of it (it may be a simple placard swap). $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Apr 28 '17 at 0:37
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Some more examples of (ultra-light) planes running on car diesel:

  • FlyEco developes a diesel engine (derived from the Mercedes-Benz Smart car), running on diesel and jet A-1.
  • The FlyEco engine was further incoperated with Siemens into a hybrid experimental plane, which unfortunately crashed.
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