Aero: Continental Extends Diesel TBRs


After years of patient waiting, Continental Motors announced Wednesday at Aero what many diesel owners have been hoping for: significantly longer replacement cycles for its four-cylinder diesel engines. The new longer TBRs (time between replacement) extend to 2100 hours for both the CD-135 and CD-155 Continental diesels. Moreover, according to Continental CEO Rhett Ross, the engines also get longer gearbox intervals, doubling to 1200 hours from the 600 currently imposed. The new extended hours apply to new engines coming off the assembly line in Continental’s St. Egidien, Germany, factory, as well as replacements being sent to the field.

In addition to longer TBRs for the CD-100 series, Ross also announced that the company’s high-power diesel, the 310-HP V-6 CD-300, is proceeding through certification and will be production ready by early 2017. Although Ross hints at OEM interest, he wouldn’t reveal what companies are nibbling on a V-6 diesel. Ross did confirm that Cessna is now taking orders for its diesel-powered Skyhawk, the Cessna 172TD. Cessna actually announced its first diesel 172 in 2007, but narrowly avoided committing to it just as the then-Thielert Aircraft Engine company was headed for bankruptcy. It re-announced the project for the Skyhawk at AirVenture in 2014, but gave no firm commitments on delivery schedules. A 182 powered by the SMA SR305 four-cylinder diesel is still under consideration at Cessna, but the company won’t put a schedule on that project.

Ross said that the new extended replacement times make what were “unassailable” economics for low-cost operating even more impressive. “We continue to believe this validates our focus on diesel,” Ross said. You can hear a full podcast of AVweb’s interview with Ross here.

Ross also announced that it has entered a distribution arrangement with Aviall to provide parts distribution for its Continental and PMA parts. Diesel parts aren’t yet part of the Aviall deal, but Ross hopes they eventually will be.