Continental Motors expects to be awarded US Federal Aviation Administration certification for the first of its line of jet fuel burning diesel engines later this year, the general aviation engine manufacturer announced at the Oshkosh Airshow this week.
Continental CEO Rhett Ross said the expected certification would put Continental in line to start rate production of the engines in the first quarter of 2013. Continental has yet to announce any launch applications for the engines.
The company’s first diesel engine is expected to be a 200- to 250hp (149-187kW) model known as the TD-300. A larger, 300- to 350hp (224-261kW) version is expected to follow in 2015 while a 160- to 180hp (119-134kW) model is slated for production in 2017.
Ross said the move toward diesel engines was driven by a lack of leaded avgas in some international markets and uncertainly about future availability of 100LL in the US. Continental is also responding to concerns about avgas availability by certifying low-compression engines that run on unleaded auto fuel.
“We are not abandoning the higher horsepower engines,” Ross said. “We fully desire a drop-in replacement for 100LL – but we’re not going to wait for it.”