Chris Kuehn, recently appointed Vice President of Aftermarket Sales and Support, answered the questions we had regarding Continental® Motors strategy, product announcements and road map for the future.
GAB: What are the most important projects that Continental® Motors is working on currently?
KUEHN: Continental®Motors, despite being the company that has been consistently leading the pack from a technology standpoint (first to bring turbochargers, fuel injection, FADEC controls, Nickel Silicon Carbide coated cylinders) is not only about products. There are multiple projects that will significantly impact the way we do business in the future. We are investing significantly in changing our support organization in order to exceed every industry standard for technical and sales support. This will not happen overnight, but we are aiming, in the relatively short term, to provide technical support to our customers wherever they are on the planet, 24/7, regardless of what type of engine they are calling about: Continental® Motors Gasoline, Continental®Motors Compression Ignition (Diesel) engines, Titan™ by Continental® Experimental engines. We will also provide answers to any question our clients could have on our parts, both for Continental® and Lycoming®* applications.
The enhancement of our services goes in step with Continental® Motors building a green field factory in Mobile, Alabama. The design of the building (office space and factory floor), is well underway and we are on schedule for completion by the end of 2018, as announced initially. This project is not just about moving out of buildings built before the Second World War. The essence of the project is to provide an environment where we can organize ourselves more efficiently, putting in place new production equipment and enhancing dramatically the way we manufacture engines. The automotive industry has paved the way for us. The progress made in terms of supply chain control and management, manufacturing techniques, industrial machines used for manufacturing, and also the quality monitoring processes that allowed that industry to make a quantum leap will all be present in our new factory. There is absolutely no reason that general aviation manufacturing should remain anchored in the 20th century. We are investing more than any general aviation company has in the recent past to modernize the production unit. That constitutes a warranty for our clients that they will be able to procure affordable products manufactured to the highest quality standards available.
GAB: You have announced many new products this year, can you tell us more about them?
KUEHN: Continental® Motors has made many announcements this year, not all related to products, but nonetheless significant. We have expanded our line of FAA approved PMA cylinders for Lycoming®* engines. Continental® Motors is the only alternative source for angle valve cylinders used in many Lycoming®* applications (360, 540, and 720 families). Our range of cylinders is manufactured like all the OEM parts built in our factory, using the same high-quality materials, the same quality monitoring processes and benefit from the industry leading Continental® Warranty. On top of that, they are available with our optional NiC3™ surface treatment. This ceramic compound allows for wear and corrosion resistance in the cylinder barrel. It is especially important to owners and operators that do not fly as regularly as they wish. Continental® gives a warranty against corrosion or abnormal wear that covers the cylinder barrels, in addition to the standard warranty, for five years or TBO, whichever comes first. That’s unheard of in the industry. The NiC3™ surface treatment is available on Parallel and Angle Valve cylinders on Lycoming® engines and on most Continental® engines. In addition to cylinders, Continental® manufactures all the PMA replacement parts necessary for overhaul or repairs on Lycoming® engines applications. Roller tappet lifters, camshafts, crankshafts, crankcases, gasket kits, valves and many others are available today. They are all manufactured to our OEM standards, in our OEM factories, both in the US and Germany.
We have also increased tremendously our offering regarding OEM manufactured PMA parts for Lycoming®* engine applications. They have been certified by the FAA and EASA, and most other worldwide aviation authorities accept them also. Owners and operators now have more options when in need of parts for repairs or overhauls on their Lycoming®* engine. Parts, that were sole source in the past, are now available to them at extremely competitive prices. These parts are not only compatible with their engines, but they were engineered, designed and manufactured by an OEM engine manufacturer. They benefit from the same attention to manufacturing details, quality checks, and technical innovation than any other part or engine manufactured by Continental®. But it doesn’t stop there: Continental® manufactures parts that offer benefits that no other manufacturer has introduced. That is the direct result of the investments made in R&D, supply chain management, quality management and production efficiency.
GAB: Continental® Motors has the largest offering of Compression Ignition engines (Diesel) on the market. Any news there?
KUEHN: Continental® has invested more than any other engine manufacturer in compression ignition engines burning Jet-A-1. We believe that this market will continue to grow rapidly, in the geographical areas where AVGAS is expensive or difficult to get. These engines will not replace traditional gasoline engines in some countries, but in other areas they are the only viable solution, especially for high utilizations users such as flight academies, missionary humanitarian flights, aerial work, border surveillance, and many other activities. In short, Continental® Motors offers the widest range of Jet-A-1- burning engines and offers a full range of engines suitable for the certified and experimental market available. With over 5,000 engines delivered and more than 5,500,000 flight hours in service, we have proven that our innovative and disruptive technologies are mature, reliable and well suited for high time users that need to dispatch aircraft every day, without encountering unscheduled maintenance. That also explains why it is the preferred engine of many aircraft manufacturers such as Cessna®, Piper® Aircraft, New Robin® Aircraft, and is also certified for use in Diamond® Aircraft.
The range of engines includes:
CD135: Four cylinders, geared, liquid cooled, dual redundant FADEC engine 135hp.
CD155: Four cylinders, geared, liquid cooled, dual redundant FADEC engine 155hp.
CD230: Four cylinders, horizontally opposed, air and oil cooled direct drive engine, 230hp.
CD265: Four cylinders, horizontally opposed, air and oil cooled direct drive engine, 265hp.
CDR285: Four cylinders, horizontally opposed, air and oil cooled direct drive engine, 285hp. For Rotary wing applications.
CD300: V6 geared, liquid cooled, dual redundant FADEC engine 300hp.
GAB: Are you making progress with your Turbine MRO, United Turbine?
KUEHN: In short, yes. United Turbine (UT) is one of the latest additions to Continental® Motors Group. It is located in Miami, Florida, a few miles from the international airport. The company was founded in1991 and is dedicated to PT6 owners and operators. With a customer base including governments, large fleets and private owners, UT is the service centre of choice for those seeking high value overhauls at the most competitive price. In the 33,000-sq/ft dedicated state of the art facility, the company offers a comprehensive range of services, including overhauls, repairs, fuel nozzle exchange and inspections, and hot section inspections. United Turbine is renowned for its quick turnaround time and workmanship excellence. Relying on this excellence, United Turbine offers an industry leading warranty of seven years (or TBO, whichever comes first) on overhauls. Helicopter owners and operators can also rely on United Turbine for any work on PT6 Twin-Pacs. United Turbine is certified as repair station by the FAA, EASA, and many other civil aviation Authorities. Additionally, UT maintains a correlated test cell on-site (regularly inspected and certifiedby P&WC®), keeps a large inventory of PT6 parts instock, and offers quick turnaround fuel nozzle inspections. Also available, a loaner/lease program(selected engine models) allows for continued revenue generating operations.
* Lycoming® is a registered trademark of Textron Innovations Inc. Any reference to Lycoming® or associated trademarks, word marks, and products is only for purposes of identifying engines with which Continental parts are compatible, or for which Continental Motors® offers maintenance services. Continental Motors® parts compatible with Lycoming® engines are aftermarket parts and are not original equipment parts. Continental Motors® is not connected to, affiliated with, or sponsored by, or endorsed by Textron Innovations Inc. or Lycoming Engines, a Division of Avco Corporation, or any of their affiliate companies. Cessna® is a registered trademark of Textron Aviation.Continental Motors® is a registered trademark of Continental MotorsGroup. Diamond Aircraft® is a is a registered trademark of Diamond Aircraft. P&WC is a registered trademark of United Technologies, PT-6 is atrademark of United Technologies. Piper Aircraft® is a registered trademark of Piper Aircraft. Textron Corporation® is a registered trademark of Textron Corporation.