Continental engine gets 30 mpg

July 24, 2009

Usually pilots roll their eyes at the poor mileage they get from the airplane they own or rent. The number is usually bad, but that’s not the case with the Continental 125-hp IOF240 engine recently tested by the manufacturer. A recent test in level cruise shows the FADEC computer-controlled engine got 30.7 mpg.

On the return flight there were altitude changes and diversions because of weather, so the mileage dropped to 24.4 mpg. Think of it as “city” mileage. The engine was aboard a Diamond DA20 that was flown from Mobile, Ala., (Continental headquarters) to Jacksonville, Fla. Lest you think the pilot simply pulled the throttle back so the engine would sip gas, instead of chug it, the average speed over the full 678.6 nm course was 119 KTAS. The manufacturer claims 138 KTAS at 75 percent power. The DA20 Continental used was flown at the FADEC best-economy setting, which is 50 percent power.