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Continental Motors introduces new diesel V-6 aviation engine

The new CD-300 engine made its debut in Oshkosh. Click to enlarge.

Continental Motors introduced the CD-300, its new V-6 diesel engine, at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh this week. The CD-300 was flown for the first time in July at Continental’s German development center in Altenburg onboard an Cirrus airframe. The company said that the flying test-bed exhibited rates of climb and cruise performance that exceeded engineer’s expectations.

The CD-300 features common rail technology, direct injection, turbo charging, liquid cooling, and an advanced reduction gear system. Like the smaller CD-100 engine, the CD-300 is based on a Mercedes-Benz automotive core adapted for aviation use. In interviews at AirVenture, Continental Motors president Rhett Ross suggested that the company would begin to deviate from focusing on an exclusive automotive-derived approach.

Ross said the company is evaluating a 350 hp variant, especially whether or not there would be market potential for such a rating.

The CD-300 series engine has a 3-liter displacement and generates up to 310 hp (228 kW) at 2,300 rpm for low operating noise. Continental equips all of its CD range engines with single level control and an electronic engine management system. Dry weight of the engine is 255 kg (562 lbs).

Continental has started the type certification process, which will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) followed by FAA and CAAC validation. Continental expects the engine to be certified in 2016.

Continental Motors, Inc. (CMI) was acquired by China-based AVIC International Holding Corporation (AVIC Int’l). In 2013, AVIC acquired the assets of Germany-based Thielert Aircraft Engines and incorporated them under the name Technify Motors GmbH (TMG). In early 2014, AVIC International formed Continental Motors Beijing Corporations, Ltd. in Beijing to act as the marketing, sales, service, and distributor of the products and services offered by the different members of the Continental Motors Group (CMG).

CMG now includes Continental Motors, Inc.; Technify Motors GmbH; Continental Motors Beijing, Ltd.; Mattituck Services, Inc.; and Zulu Flight Training, Inc.

Continental Motors Group (CMG) is moving forward with rebranding efforts. The diesel engines known and sold under the brand name Centurion will be re-named to Continental Diesel abbreviated as CD. For example, the former Centurion 2.0s is now called CD-155. The diesel products are now listed as:

  • CD-100 series, formerly the Centurion 2.0/2.0s, 4-cylinder inline engines, 135 and 155 hp

  • CD-200 series, formerly the Continental TD-300 engines with 230 and 245 hp

  • CD-300 series, the new V-6 diesel rated at 310 hp

The diesels can operate on auto-diesel (DIN 590) and with the standard aviation fuel kerosene (Jet Fuel, Jet-A).

In April, the company announced a cumulative 4 million flight hours on its diesels in service.



Good technical content.

Centurion 2.0/2.0s, are now called the CD-100 series.

Continental TD-300s are now called the CD-200 series.

Roger Pham

This 3-liter engine is 3 lbs lighter than the TCM TSIO-550 (9-liter)engine it replaced with the same hp, but with much lower fuel consumption, perhaps 30% better, for the SR-22 airplane. This should give at least 150 lbs of additional full-fuel payload, which is always too low.

Even more important is the ability to use jet fuel and auto diesel fuel that are widely available, instead of 100LL Avgas which is much more expensive and may soon be phased out and hence will be increasingly hard to find.

Good work, Thielert et al.

Roger Pham

Correction to above: SFC for turbodiesel is 0.33 lb/hp/hr while SFC for TSIO-550 is around 0.5 lb/hp/hr, meaning 50% more fuel efficient. If the max fuel wt. of the SR-22 is 500 lbs, then with the new turbodiesel engine, fuel wt. will be down to 330 lbs, for a gain of 180 lbs of payload, or a gain of one more passenger, gaining from 2 occupants now to 3 occupants. Great!


Interesting that the Continental TSIO-550 has a BSFC of 0.5. Most aviation engines are considerably more efficient than that. The Typical number for fuel injected engines is 0.42 in cruise configuration. In fact, the simple addition of electronic ignition with a proper advance curve, on aircraft engines, often brings the BSFC numbers down to 0.38 Lb/hp/hr.

Another thought about Jet fuel vs. Avgas. Jet A is 6.5 Lb/gal. Avgas is 6.0 pounds per gallon. Certainly, the energy content of the Jet A is higher than gas. Remember that a full tank of Jet A weighs somewhat more. Reducing useful load.

I'd rather see an aircraft specific, 120 degree V6 turbodiesel, with a "hot-V" configuration (the exhaust exits above, into the V) with a centrally located turbocharger. This results in 3 cranks throws, perfect primary balance, and the ability to go direct drive. Gear reduction drives are particularly troublesome and expensive in aviation.


You want an aircraft-specific diesel?

Roger Pham

BSFC of .42 is for the non-turbocharged version IO-550 having Compression ratio of 8.5. The turbocharged version has CR of only 7.5. The TSIO-550 may have better BSFC than 0.5, at 60% power cruise, 50-degree lean of peak mixture setting, but that number just somehow came from the back of my head. Perhaps most folks don't cruise at lean of peak setting.


Note, the BSFC figures are in pounds-mass per horsepower-hour.  Your mission-weight figures are not compromised by the greater density of Jet-A; in fact, the loading options for extreme range get broader, as the diesel-powered aircraft can fly much farther with full tanks so long as the payload allows.


Amazing. An aircraft engine that does not use 1930's technology and does not require 100 LL (100 Octane Low Lead) which contains a know neural toxin.

I attended the Oshkosh airshow earlier in the week and looked at some of the Continental Diesels. I am building a light sport STOL aircraft and have a 115 HP Rotax 914 engine which is a liquid-cooled turbo-charged spark ignition engine that will run the higher octane automobile fuel. I would rather run a diesel but the ones currently available are too large and too heavy for my purposes.


Is diesel commonly available at airports? Can this engine also run on jet fuel?



The aircraft diesels will run on Jet A or on the common #2 diesel and should also run on the military JP-8. The US military tries to run everything (trucks, tank, aircraft) on JP-8

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