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Centurion Aero

Centurion Aero Engines

The last couple of years development in aircraft engines has been more or less concentrating on diesels. We have seen one off installations to fully developed production lines. A number of companies are active on this market primarily due to major concern of long term availability and the relative high price of AVgas (Europe).

Diesel engines are able to use JET fuel (AVtur). This fuel is available worldwide and can also be made of renewable sources (algae) which should contribute to a cleaner environment.

Also known as the former Thielert Aircraft Engines (TAE) Centurion now produces and sells the Centurion line of diesel engines for aircraft. This engine is based on the Mercedes class car engine, but heavily rebuild for aircraft purposes and standards.

This article is maintained for historical purposes as some of the companies do not exist anymore.

German Diesel Technology

Centurion Aero Diesel Engine

The company offers with Centurion 2.0 a jet fuel piston engine for general aviation with a takeoff power of 99 kW (135 hp). The Centurion 2.0 is a turbo charged 4-cylinder in-line engine which is EASA certified as off August 2006 and FAA certified from October 2006.

The predecessor Centurion 1.7 is certified by the European Aviation Authorities since May 2002 and the FAA certified since October 2003. The weight of all Centurion 1.7 and 2.0 engines is identical so that the 1.7 can be replaced by a 2.0 engine without any weight and balance issues.

The engines can use a mix of diesel and JET fuel in any ratio, TBR (time between replacement, which is not TBO) is 1500 hours.

At the moment of writing Centurion engines are produced in three versions: 2.0, 2.0s and 4.0 with 135 hp, 155 hp and 350 hp respectively. The 2.0 engines are the same basic design and have a Supplemental Type Certificate for C-172, PA-28, DR400 and Diamond Aircraft, the 4.0 is a huge V8 engine weighing some 272 kg and has flown on a Beach Duke B60 in 2005.


All engines have electronic motor and propeller management with single lever power control, this simplifies pilot operation with enhanced safety. Run-up checks are also automatic after the press of a button. All data is logged during flight in a black box like fashion for later analysis and maintenance purposes. Takeoff power is guaranteed up to 10.000 feet and cruise power to 17.500 feet. Maintenance is relatively simple but as the installation seems to be as complex as a Rotax, you may expect that time spent on maintenance be higher.

Continental Diesel

Continental markets the CD-135 (specifications here) and the CD-155 (specifications here) diesel engines based on the TAE-125 diesel by Thielert (which was originally based on the Mercedes Benz OM668 car engine) with a TBR of 2100 hours. Visit our page on Continental Aerospace Technologies, with a complete line-up of their engines.

General specifications

The basic engine data is in the table below. The 2.0 and 2.0s share the same specifications but the power rating is higher for the s-model. We will not discuss the 1.7 engine as this model is not sold anymore and can be replaced by the 2.0.

SpecificationsCenturion 2.0 and 2.0s
EngineFour inline, four stroke, turbocharged
Power135 / 155 hp
valve gearDOHC
Intake systemCommon rail direct injection
CoolingLiquid cooled
Oil SystemWet sump oil system
Electrical SystemFull Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC)
Prop DriveReduction gearbox with integrated clutch (ratio = 1:1,69)
Approved propeller3-blade propeller by MT with hydraulic variable pitch (MTV-6 series)
Displacement1.991 cm³, 121.5 cu.in
Bore83 mm, 3.26 in
Stroke92 mm, 3.62 in
Dimensions (WxLxH)778 x 816 x 636 mm, 30.63 x 32.12 x 25.04 in
Weight (complete & dry)134 kg, 295.4 lbs
Retrofit Informationwww.continentalmotors.aero/diesel/engines/the-retrofit-kit.aspx

We have left the Centurion 4.0 out of the specifications as this engine was in development and nothing has been seen since a couple of years. Even on the website of Centurion.aero (redirected to continentaldiesel.com) there is not much to be found about this beast. That is a pity, as it looks like serious competition for the larger gas engines.

Written by EAI.

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