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Continental 310-hp diesel makes first flight

Continental Motors Group has been hard at work expanding its diesel line of engines since acquiring the bankrupt Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) line of powerplants in 2013. At this year’s Aero Freidrichshafen show in April, Piper announced that Continental’s CD-100, 155-horsepower engine had earned a European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) supplemental type certificate (STC) for installation on the Piper Archer. At EAA AirVenture the Chinese-owned company announced the first flight of yet another new diesel, and it’s a big one.

The new CD-300 is a three-liter, turbocharged, direct-injection, liquid-cooled V-6 with single-lever power controls and electronic engine management. The Jet-A-burning engine joins the company’s CD-100 and CD-200 line of engines that were originally developed by TAE. From now on, Continental won’t be using TAE’s “Centurion” brand name; they’re all rebranded as CDs (Continental Diesels).

However, Continental may have borrowed from TAE’s practice of using Mercedes engine components. The CD-300’s big engine block “borrows from automotive technology,” Ross said.

The CD-300 made its first flight at Germany’s Altenburg airport in Saxony. "For us, the maiden flight of the CD-300 signifies a further milestone in the development of our Continental Diesel aircraft engine program. In conjunction with the CD-100 and CD-200 series engines, we now cater fully to all performance categories," explained Rhett Ross, President of Continental Motors, US. “Just like most Continental Diesels, the CD-300 is designed on the basis of tried-and-trusted technology. Owners and airframe manufacturers call for modern high-performance engines, while allowing for significant reduction in total ownership costs. Our goal is to listen and provide the technical solutions that answer their needs” continued Ross.

Prototypes of the CD-300 will be made available to manufacturers in 2016 for flight tests, and EASA certification of the new engine is also expected in 2016.

Here are some preliminary specifications for the CD-300:

Continental Motors’ CD-300 preliminary specifications




2987 cm³



228 kW

310 hp

Maximum Rated RPM:

2300 r/min

2300 rpm


83 mm

3.26 in


92 mm

3.62 in

Compression Ratio:



714 mm

28.1 in


716 mm

28.2 in


1057 mm

41.6 in

Dry Weight:

255 kg

562 lbs

Time Between Replacement:

Projected TBR is 2000+ hrs


Continental engine
Thomas A. Horne
Thomas A. Horne
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
Topics: EAA AirVenture, Events, Aircraft Systems

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