|The 4 cylinder 2.0S Continental engine is installed in more than 3,600 machines. (photo by Marino Boric)
By Marino Boric, EAA European Correspondent
July 29, 2013 - Continental Motors opened its EAA Oshkosh announcements with three items of news: the recent acquisition of assets of Thielert Aircraft, a strategic partnership with Italian manufacturer Vulcanair, and Continental's return to air racing.
Continental's owner AVIC International Holding Corporation announced last week its acquisition of the diesel aircraft engine and manufacturing assets of the former Thielert Aircraft Engines GmbH through its subsidiary, Technify Motors GmbH.
The acquisition rounds out the highly successful and popular Continental Motors line of gasoline engines acquired by AVIC in 2011, according to Mr. Yu Yimin, senior vice president of AVIC International, and chairman and CEO of Continental.
Monday's second announcement regarded Vulcanair and Continental's strategic partnership, established based on their shared belief that conventional engines are not suitable anymore in many countries.
The ever-rising cost of avgas, when available at all, is a serious roadblock for profitable operations and for development of general aviation growth in regions such as Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. "We have been analyzing and testing diesel engines for over 13 years," said Remo De Feo, Vulcanair's CEO. "However we have not offered a diesel-powered aircraft to the market yet in order to maintain reliability standards and ethical value approach to our customers.
"We believe that Jet A-1 is the only viable alternative to avgas in many parts of the world. We have carefully monitored the alternative fuel situation and share Continental Motors' belief that in the next five years, 25 percent of the engines operated in general aviation, in the regions where Avgas is difficult to obtain, will be using Jet A-1."
Vulcanair announced that it would introduce the V1.0, a new four-seat, high-wing, single-engine, basic-aerobatic aircraft offering a choice of gas or diesel engine.
The third big announcement was that Continental is returning to the world of air racing. This was explained by Franck Doyen from Mas Events from France.
The company has already attracted huge interest with its Nemesis Big Frog, powered by the SMA diesel engine.
The French company will use the Continental diesel in the Nemesis NXT airframe recently shown during the Paris Air Show. This carbon fiber kit aircraft was specifically designed for the Reno Air Races and is accordingly enhanced and modified for extreme use.