Continental Aerospace Technologies


Continental Aerospace Technologies is an aircraft engine manufacturer located at the Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, Alabama, United States. It was originally spun off from automobile engine manufacturer Continental Motors Company in 1929 and owned by Teledyne Technologies from 1969 until December 2010. The company is now part of Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC), which is a Government of the People's Republic of China state-owned aerospace company headquartered in Beijing.[1][2]

Continental Aerospace Technologies
IndustryAircraft engines
PredecessorContinental Motors Corporation
Key people
Karen Hong, CEO (since March 2022)
OwnerAviation Industry Corporation of China
DivisionsContinental Aviation and Engineering
SubsidiariesGray Marine Motor Company

Although Continental is most well known for its engines for light aircraft, it was also contracted to produce the air-cooled V-12 AV-1790-5B gasoline engine for the U.S. Army's M47 Patton tank and the diesel AVDS-1790-2A and its derivatives for the M48, M60 Patton, and Merkava main battle tanks. The company also produced engines for various independent manufacturers of automobiles, tractors, and stationary equipment (pumps, generators, and machinery drives) from the 1920s to the 1960s.


Restored Continental AV1790-5B tank engine at the American Armored Foundation Tank Museum in Danville, Virginia.
TD-300 Diesel Engine

In 1929, the company introduced its first aircraft engine,[3] a seven-cylinder radial designated as the A-70, with a displacement of 543.91 cu in (8.91L) that produced 170 hp (127 kW). In August 1929, the Continental Motors Company formed the Continental Aircraft Engine Company as a subsidiary to develop and produce its aircraft engines.[4]

As the Great Depression unwound, 1930 saw the company introduce the 37 hp (28 kW) A-40 four-cylinder engine. A follow-on design, the 50 hp (37 kW) A-50 was introduced in 1938 and was used to power the Taylor Cub and derivative Piper Cub. As the Second World War started in 1939 Continental commenced building aircraft engines for use in British and American tanks.[5][6] Continental formed Continental Aviation and Engineering (CAE) in 1940 to develop and produce aircraft engines of over 500 hp (373 kW).[4] Continental ranked 38th among United States corporations in the value of wartime production contracts.[7]

During the late 1930s, early 1940s the Gray Marine Motor Company adapted Continental engines for maritime use. On 14 June 1944 the company was purchased by Continental for US$2.6 million. John W. Mulford, the son of one of Gray's founders was appointed general manager of Gray by Continental. Gray's continued to make marine engines in the post-war period until its closure by Continental in about 1967.[8][9]

During the 1950s, the A-65 was developed into the more powerful 90 hp (67 kW) C-90 and eventually into the 100 hp (75 kW) O-200. The O-200 powered a very important airplane design milestone: the Cessna 150. By the 1960s turbocharging and fuel injection arrived in general aviation and the company's IO-520 series came to dominate the market.

In 1965, Ryan Aeronautical acquired a 50% stake in Continental Motors.[10]

In 1969, Teledyne Incorporated acquired Continental Motors, which became Teledyne Continental Motors (TCM).[11] That same year, the Continental Tiara series of high output engines were introduced, although they were dropped from the line after 1978. The company brought the TSIO-520-BE for the Piper PA-46 to market in 1984 and it set new efficiency standards for light aircraft piston engines. Powered by a liquid-cooled version of the IO-240, the Rutan Voyager was the first piston-powered aircraft to circumnavigate the world without refueling in 1986.

NASA selected Continental to develop and produce GAP in 1997, a new 200 hp (150 kW) piston engine to operate on Jet-A fuel. This was in response to 100-octane aviation gasoline becoming less available as a result of decreased demand, due to smaller turboprop engines becoming more prevalent.

In 2008, Teledyne Continental's new president, Rhett Ross announced that the company was very concerned about future availability of 100LL avgas and as a result would develop a diesel engine in the 300 hp (220 kW) range for certification in 2009 or 2010.[12] By the fall of 2009 the company was feeling the effects of the economic situation and the resulting reduced demand for aircraft engines. The company announced that it would close its plant for two one-week periods in October 2009 and January 2010. Salaried employees would move to a four-day work week with one week vacations for Thanksgiving and Christmas, with the aim "to protect as much of our valuable employee base as possible".[13]

Logo used from 2011 to 2019

On December 14, 2010, Continental's parent Teledyne announced that Teledyne Continental Motors, Teledyne Mattituck Services, and its general aviation piston engine business would be sold to Technify Motor (USA) Ltd, a subsidiary of AVIC International, for US$186 million in cash. AVIC is a Chinese state-owned aerospace company. In May 2011, the transaction was reported as complete and the company renamed Continental Motors, Inc.[1][2][14]

On 23 July 2013 the company bought diesel aircraft engine manufacturer Thielert from bankruptcy for an undisclosed sum. Thielert will become an operating division of Continental and will be renamed Technify Motors GmbH.[15]

In 2015, Continental purchased Danbury Aerospace, which included ECi (Engine Components International) and PMA (Precision Machined Airparts). ECi had been supplying aftermarket engine parts since 1943; the merger reduced third-party manufacturers of Continental engine rebuild parts. ECi's Titan engines were modern non-certified engines competing with Lycoming's Thunderbolt. These were eventually rebranded as the Continental Titan.[16][17][18]

In March 2019 the company name was changed from Continental Motors, Inc. to Continental Aerospace Technologies.[19]

In March 2022, Karen Hong was named as the company's president and CEO, replacing Robert Stoppek. Hong had previously served as the interim CEO and chief financial officer (CFO).[20]


Opposed piston enginesEdit

Model name Configuration Power
Continental A-40 O4 40 hp
Continental O-170 O4 65 hp
Continental O-190 O4 85 hp
Continental O-200 O4 100 hp
Continental O-240 O4 125 hp
Continental O-280 O6 125 hp
Continental O-300 O6 145 hp
Continental IO-346 O4 165 hp
Continental IO-360 O6 195 hp
Continental IO-370 O4 195 hp
Continental O-470 O6 213 hp
Continental O-520 O6 375 hp
Continental O-526 O6 320 hp
Continental IO-550 O6 300 hp
Continental TD-300 O4 230 hp
Continental Tiara 4 O4 180 hp
Continental Tiara 6 O6 285 hp
Continental Tiara 8 O8 380 hp

Radial and Inverted-V enginesEdit

Model name Configuration Power
Continental A-70 R7 165 hp[21]
Continental I-1430 IV12 1,150 hp
Continental R-670 R7 225 hp
Continental R-975 R9 420 hp


Model name Configuration Power
Continental T51 Turboshaft 425 hp
Continental T65 Turboshaft 305 hp
Continental T67 Turboshaft 1,540 hp
Continental T69
Continental T72 Turboshaft 600 hp
Continental TP-500[22]

Jet enginesEdit

Model name Configuration Power
Teledyne CAE J69 Turbojet 880 lbf
Continental RJ35 Ramjet[23][24]
Continental RJ45 Ramjet
Continental RJ49 Ramjet

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ a b AvWeb Staff (December 2010). "Teledyne-Continental Bought by Chinese Interests". AvWeb. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  2. ^ a b Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (December 2010). "Teledyne Technologies Agrees to Sell Teledyne Continental Motors to AVIC International". Business Wire. Retrieved 14 December 2010.
  3. ^ Strohl, Daniel in Hemmings Classic Car, December, 2008, "Powerful As The Nation", pg 43: " the end of 1905. According to Continental's own history, the company also began aircraft engine development at about the same time, rolling out the 45hp Model O four-cylinder L-head engine about 1906 or 1907.",.
  4. ^ a b Leyes, p. 87.
  5. ^ Borth, Christy. Masters of Mass Production, pp. 63-5, Bobbs-Merrill Company, Indianapolis, IN, 1945.
  6. ^ Herman, Arthur. Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II, pp. 96-100, 126, 200, Random House, New York, New York, 2012. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  7. ^ Peck, Merton J. & Scherer, Frederic M. The Weapons Acquisition Process: An Economic Analysis (1962) Harvard Business School p.619
  8. ^ A Brief History of the Gray Marine Motor Company, Gas Engine Magazine
  9. ^ Grayson, Stan. Engines Afloat, Vol. II (Marblehead, MA: Devereaux Books, 1999), p.116.
  10. ^ Leyes, Richard A., and William A. Fleming, The History of North American Small Gas Turbine Aircraft Engines, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 1999: p.143 ISBN 1-56347-332-1
  11. ^ Gunston, p. 225.
  12. ^ AvWeb Staff (February 2008). "Teledyne Continental Plans Certified Diesel Within Two Years". Retrieved 18 February 2008.
  13. ^ Pew, Glenn (October 2009). "TCM Announces Temporary Plant Closures, More". Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  14. ^ Niles, Russ (May 2011). "China Lays Out Its GA Plan". AvWeb. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  15. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (23 July 2013). "Continental Buys Thielert Aircraft Engines". AVweb. Retrieved 14 July 2013.
  16. ^ Paul Bertorelli (4 May 2015). "Continental Buys ECI". AVweb. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  17. ^ "Continentals ECi Buy: Will It Spike Prices? - Aviation Consumer". Aviation Consumer. 3 November 2015. Retrieved 17 March 2022. “In the simplest form, this comes down to the economics of supply and demand. There were only three sources for new cylinders for Continental engines, including Continental’s own factory cylinders, Millenium cylinders from Superior and ECi. It’s a narrow market and when you take one of the supply sources out, a constant demand will likely drive prices up,” said Thomas Dunn, RAM’s director of marketing.
  18. ^ Kelli Dugan (5 May 2015). "Mobile's Continental Motors to acquire Danbury Aerospace ops in San Antonio". al. Retrieved 17 March 2022.
  19. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (29 March 2019). "Continental Motors Gets a New Name". AVweb. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  20. ^ O'Connor, Kate (17 March 2022). "Continental Aerospace Technologies Names New CEO". AVweb. Archived from the original on 18 March 2022. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  21. ^ McCutcheon, Kimble D. (28 January 2020). "Continental's Radial Aircraft Engines". Aircraft Engine Historical Society. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  22. ^ Leyes, p. 121.
  23. ^ Aircraft Recognition Manual Supplement No. 6. Department of the Air Force. December 1956. p. 20. ISBN 9780359123834. Retrieved 13 September 2021.
  24. ^ Aviation Machinist's Mate 3. Washington: Bureau of Naval Personnel, Department of the Navy. 1957. p. 133. Retrieved 13 September 2021.


  • Foss, Christopher F. (1974). Jane's Pocket Book of Modern Tanks and Armored Fighting Vehicles. Collier Books. pp. 45–49. 73-15286.
  • Gunston, Bill (2006). World Encyclopedia of Aero Engines, 5th Edition. Phoenix Mill, Gloucestershire, England, UK: Sutton Publishing Limited. ISBN 0-7509-4479-X.
  • Leyes II, Richard A.; William A. Fleming (1999). The History of North American Small Gas Turbine Aircraft Engines. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution. ISBN 1-56347-332-1.

External linksEdit

  • Official website