July 29, 2013
Credit: Diamond Aircraft
AVIC International’s Continental Motors unit is establishing a management team to assess the integration of the newly acquired Thielert Aircraft Engines as the company looks to expand and strengthen its diesel technologies, says Continental Motors President Rhett Ross.
AVIC on July 22 announced its acquisition of the assets of the German engine maker out of bankruptcy protection and plans to fold those assets into Continental Motors. AVIC executives promoted the acquisition as key to expanding its international manufacturing reach, along with the accessibility of diesel engines in China and other regions where aviation gasoline is difficult to obtain.
For Continental Motors, the acquisition expands its portfolio of products with the addition of the Centurion 2.0 series of 135-hp and 155-hp Jet A engines, in addition to 4.0 350-hp engines.
The operation will be folded into AVIC subsidiary Technify Motors GmbH; the products be known as Continental Centurion engines.
Speaking today during EAA AirVenture 2013 in Oshkosh, Ross said that along with the product line, the acquisition adds 200 employees and the expertise of Thielert. Ross notes that both Continental Motors and Thielert have strong backgrounds working with full authority digital engine controls, but that the Thielert operation also brings “badly needed” expertise in diesel combustion and turbocharging technology.
Thielert, which had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2008, had continued to operate under the control of its administrator, Ross notes, telling Aviation Week the company could begin shipping engines shortly. Ross, who says the acquisition was two years in the making, adds, however, that Continental Motors first must obtain the appropriate approvals from both the European Aviation Safety Agency and the FAA.
While acquiring ready-made diesel technology, Ross says Continental Motors is continuing its investments into its existing diesel and alternative fuel efforts, including bringing its Jet A TD-300 engine to market. Continental Motors, working with its Chinese parent, last year unveiled plans to invest in a line of diesel engines ranging from 160 hp to 350 hp or more. At the same time, Continental has been pursuing the supplemental type certificate market.
Also working AVIC, Continental Motors is establishing an operation in China to provide technical support initially, and engine spares eventually, to its engine customers there.
The first employees are undergoing training at Continental Motors’ factory in Mobile, Ala.