What are Continental Motors Group plans for Europe, Africa and the Middle-East?
"Continental Motors is one of the leaders in general aviation. We have been providing power solutions and services to the industry for over 110 years. As everyone knows, the USA is the largest general aviation market on the planet now. That said, we are enhancing our presence in Europe, Africa, Middle-East and in Asia by adding team members that are specifically responsible for the areas. Our clients now have dedicated contacts at their disposal to guide them through our portfolio of engines, replacement parts and services. From a support point of view, we are working towards solutions that will allow clients to have 24/7 access to a knowledgeable support specialists on our product range. The other main change is that we appointed AVIALL as our Master Distributor for aftermarket parts. AVIALL serves the world market and stocks parts locally. European clients are seeing a significant improvement in the availability of Continental Motors parts. AVIALL also offers a 24/7 AOG service, allowing them to deliver a part in any location within 24 hours."
You have created surprise on the market in 2013 with the acquisition of Thielert Engines. What is new on that front?
"At the time of the acquisition, we stated that we would increase the life of the diesel engine and increase time in service for parts such as the gearbox and timing chain. We fulfilled this promise. Our CD-135 and CD-155 now have a TBR of 2,100 hours and the gearbox is inspected only once in the lifetime of the engine. This is a huge leap forward.
We believe that Diesel solutions are right for certain categories of users. Flight schools and fleet operators, all over the world, are adopting our compression ignition engines that run on JetA fuel. The diesel engine is proving to deliver on the promise of very significant savings on operating and total ownership costs while, at the same time, delivering increased availability of the aircraft on the flight line because of reduced maintenance intervals. It is not uncommon to observe cost savings up to 40% in areas where AVGAS is scarce and/or expensive. In the areas where jet fuel is cheaper than traditional 100ll, our clients routinely see savings of 30% on total ownership costs. Therefore, aircraft manufacturers such as Cessna®, Piper®, Mooney®, Robin Aircraft® and others, have decided to offer trainer aircraft equipped with these engines. Fleet operators, in Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa as well as North America have started to convert their fleets, using our conversion kits that are specifically designed for the most popular airframes used for flight-training.
The 135 hp and 155 hp JetA engines are not the only diesel engines we manufacture. We also offer the CD-230, a horizontally opposed direct drive air cooled engine with 230 hp and the CD-300, a 300 hp V6 geared engine with liquid cooling.
In short, Continental Motors offers the widest range of JetA certified engines available on the market. With over 4,750 engines delivered and more than 5,000,000 flight hours in service, we have proven that this innovative technology is mature, reliable and well suited for high time users that need to dispatch aircraft every day, without encountering unscheduled maintenance."
You have recently announced a new range of aftermarket cylinders called NiC3™. Can you be more specific about what they bring?
"Not all aircraft owners fly as much as they would like to. In many cases, their aircraft will fly less than 100 hours per year. We all know that aviation piston engines are susceptible to corrosion, caused by the humidity trapped inside the engine and the cylinders. When mixed with the by-products of combustion, this combination can promote corrosion on the higher parts of the engine. NiC3™ cylinder barrels are coated with a Nickel Silicon Carbide compound. It is impervious to corrosion, strengthens the barrel and reduces the mechanical wear. This allows us to offer an unmatched 5-year or TBO warranty (whichever comes first) against corrosion and/or abnormal wear of the cylinder barrel. This warranty surpasses the usual 24 months / 1,000 hours’ warranty on the cylinder. The NiC3™ range of cylinders offers peace of mind to all users who fly irregularly, live in areas where the climate is hot and humid or in maritime areas. They are available for Continental Motors® engines, Titan™ engines and as replacement parts on Lycoming®* engines."
What about Titan? Are you really serious about providing engines to the experimental market and does such market exist in Europe?
"When you look at the experimental market, there is always a temptation to consider it as a secondary market where clients should be satisfied with stock certified engines. We build to order engines for experimental builders because it is what they want and what they need. Why build a custom airplane if you cannot customize your power plant? Titan owners can choose the configuration of their engine, the power output (from 150 to 275 hp), the type of air induction, the type of fuel system installed, adopt weight saving options, adapt the power delivered by the engine and choose from a catalog of ignition systems (from traditional magnetos to electronic ignition). They can even choose the color in which the engine is painted, so it will match the airframe colors! Titan engines are produced to OEM standards but offer all the advantages reserved to the experimental market. They are also backed up by Continental Motors’ 24-month warranty.
Regarding the market, the European experimental market is by far the most active outside of the USA. Countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom and many others, have a real tradition of home-building aircraft. If you look at Vans aircraft sales, for instance, it becomes obvious that these countries are builder’s havens."
CMG is known for its piston engines, what is United Turbine?
"We acquired United Turbine to extend our range of services to professional users that often operate large fleets of piston engine driven aircraft but also operate PT-6™ engines. United Turbine, ideally located a few miles from Miami International airport, completes our offerings by specializing in PT-6 maintenance, repairs and overhauls (MRO). UT has been servicing Pratt & Whitney Canada® PT-6™ and Twin Packs since 1991 and is certified by the FAA, EASA, Venezuelan and Maldivian aviation authorities. United Turbine has clients all over the world. One of the major assets of this business is the full engine test cell (correlated and certified by P&WC®). Add to this a lease/loaner program available for our clients and it is easy to understand all the benefits of working with United Turbine."