Compression Ignition (Diesel & Jet A)



Thanks to their complex and high-pressure nature, diesel (Jet A) burning piston engines are premium devices full of expensive parts, and their penetration into the amateur-built world is quite limited no matter the airframe manufacturer. (The CD-155 has flown in a few Glasair Aviation Sportsman aircraft.) Some sophisticated, powerful and very fuel-efficient Jet A reciprocating engines have been developed, but their newness and high cost mean they’ve barely penetrated the military drone market to date.

Meanwhile, Continental has a surprisingly well-populated line of certified diesels as they’ve bought diesel programs started by Thielert, Austro and other European outfits. At least technically these engines are suited to larger homebuilt aircraft (they’ve been used on Cessna 182s, for example), but their economics make them viable only after flying many hours, not the typical sport plane operating profile.

Displayed in full-drag, this Continental diesel hints at the excruciating cost and complexity associated with these high-end engines and why we’ve never seen one on an E/A-B airplane. The big air ducts chug air to intercoolers.
ModelDrive TypeHorsepowerWeightPrice
Continental Motors
CD-135geared135 hp @ 3890 rpm295 lb with accessories, dual FADECKit program only
CD-155geared155 hp @ 3890 rpm295 lb with accessories, dual FADECKit program only
CD-230direct235 hp @ 2200 rpm450 lb with accessoriesBeta program


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