Continental O-200

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Continental O-200-A C150H left 3-quarter above.JPG
O-200-A installed in a Cessna 150
Type Piston aircraft engine
National origin United States
Manufacturer Teledyne Continental Motors
First run 1947
Major applications Cessna 140
Cessna 150
Cessna 162 LSA
ERCO Ercoupe
RLU-1 Breezy
Produced 1947-1980s (for GA)
2004-present (for LSA sector)
Developed from Continental O-190

The Continental C90 and O-200 are a family of air-cooled, horizontally opposed, four-cylinder, direct-drive aircraft engines of 201 in³ (3.29 L) displacement, producing between 90 and 100 horsepower (67 and 75 kW).[1]

Built by Continental Motors these engines are used in many light aircraft designs of the United States, including the early Piper PA-18 Super Cub,[2] the Champion 7EC,[3] the Alon Aircoupe,[4] and the Cessna 150.[5]

Though the C90 was superseded by the O-200, and many of the designs utilizing the O-200 had gone out of production by 1980, with the 2004 publication of the United States Federal Aviation Administration light-sport aircraft regulations[6] came a resurgence in demand for the O-200. The light-sport aircraft standard is for small, simple single- and two-seat aircraft for which the O-200 is well-suited.

Design and development[edit]

The C90 was introduced in 1947 as a follow-on to the A65, which had been in production since 1939.[7][8] Many of the designs powered by the C90 are upgraded variants of earlier A65 powered designs, such as the Piper J-3 Cub and PA-11 Cub Special,[9] Aeronca 7AC,[3] and Luscombe 8A.[10] The engine was developed from the earlier O-190 by increasing the stroke 14 inch.

This engine family is considered to be dependable, according to both industry publications and the FAA.[11][12]

In a cooperative venture, Rolls-Royce produced these same designs in England, under separate certification, with model designations beginning RR, e.g. the Rolls-Royce RR C90-12FH is the equivalent of the Continental C90-12FH; the Rolls-Royce versions are "directly interchangeable with the equivalent models manufactured by Continental."[13] The Rolls-Royce O-200-A powers the Beagle Pup Series 1,[14] the Rollason Condor, the Bölkow Bo 208 C Junior,[15] the Avions Robin DR 220,[15] the Morane-Saulnier MS-880,[15] plus the Victa Airtourer 100.[15]

All versions of the C90 and O-200 are four-stroke reciprocating engines and are all similar in size, displacement and weight. These engines are typically fitted with an updraft carburetor, though the C90-8FJ, -12FJ, and -14FJ are equipped with fuel injection systems. They utilize a redundant ignition system requiring no external power, driving two magnetos, each of which fires one spark plug per cylinder. Each cylinder has one intake valve and one exhaust valve, pushrod-activated.[1]

Continental's recommended time between overhaul (TBO) for these engines is 1,800 hours of operation or 12 years in service, whichever is reached first.[16] The standard certification for the C90 and O-200 specifies Avgas 80/87 as the minimum fuel grade.[1] Both are eligible for operation on automobile gasoline on the basis of Supplemental Type Certificates.[17]


Two views of an O-200-A in a Cessna 150H
While the C90 is approved for takeoff power of 95 horsepower (71 kW) for five minutes, the designation is derived from its continuous power rating of 90 hp (67 kW). As noted above, certain models of the C90 replace the usual carburetor with a fuel injection system. In addition, there are models which provide for the installation of a controllable-pitch propeller and one, the C90-12FP, designed for pusher installation.[1] While having slightly less horsepower than the O200, many floatplane operators prefer the performance of the C90 over the O200, due to its higher torque at lower rpm. This is primarily due to the C90's camshaft design. The C90 is also known by its military designation of O-205.[18]
Continental O-200D
The O-200 is an updated and upgraded version of the engine, achieving increased power of 100 hp (75 kW) as a result of higher maximum rpm. The standard and most common model of the engine is the O-200-A; the -B model is designed for pusher installation, the -C model provides for the installation of a controllable-pitch propeller, and the -D model is a lightweight model designed for Light Sport aircraft.[1]
UL91 and UL94 95 hp alternate fuel engine.[19]
The aft engine of the round the world flight Rutan Voyager
Voyager 200
Alternative name for the IOL-200
Rolls-Royce O-200-A
(a.k.a. Rolls-Royce/Continental O-200-A) Licence production of the O-200 in the United Kingdom for Beagle Pup, the French built Cessna F150 and MS880 Rallye, and in some Australian built Victa-100 Airtourers.

Operational history[edit]

Continental IOL-200

An engine designated the IOL-200, an O-200 variant modified with fuel injection and liquid cooling, powered the 1986 nonstop, non-refueled global circumnavigation flight of the Rutan Voyager. The 110-horsepower (82 kW) IOL-200, also referred to as the Voyager 200, was the rear engine and—unlike the forward engine, another modified engine, a Continental O-240 —ran throughout the entire nine-day flight save for a four-minute shutdown due to a fuel problem.[20]

Formula One racer Sharp Nemesis, designed and flown by Jon Sharp, was powered by a 'stock' O-200. Between 1991 and 1999, the plane won 45 of the 48 events in which it was entered, as well as winning three Louis Blèriot medals, four Pulitzer Trophies, and setting 16 speed records in its class. In one of those records, Nemesis was clocked at over 290 mph (467 km/h).[21] By contrast, the O-200 powered Legend Cub cruises at 95 mph (152.9 km/h).[22]


With 23,949 Cessna 150s built, this type is the most common application for the O-200.

Specifications (O-200-A)[edit]

Data from Engine specifications: O-200-A & B.[23]

General characteristics

  • Type: Four-cylinder air-cooled horizontally opposed piston engine
  • Bore: 4.06 in (103.1 mm)
  • Stroke: 3.88 in (98.6 mm)
  • Displacement: 201 in³ (3.29 L)
  • Length: 28.53 in (724.7 mm)
  • Width: 31.56 in (801.6 mm)
  • Height: 23.18 in (588.8 mm)
  • Dry weight: 170.18 lb (77.19 kg) dry, without accessories


  • Valvetrain: Hydraulic lifters, two pushrod-actuated valves—one intake, one exhaust—per cylinder
  • Fuel system: Updraft carburetor with manual mixture control
  • Fuel type: 80/87 avgas minimum
  • Oil system: 6 US quart (5.7 L), wet sump
  • Cooling system: Air-cooled


See also[edit]

Related development

Comparable engines

Related lists


  1. ^ a b c d e Type certificate data sheet no. E-252. Revision 29. (Sep. 15, 1982.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  2. ^ Aircraft specification no. 1A2. Revision 37. (Sep. 4, 1996.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  3. ^ a b Aircraft specification no. A-759. Revision 67. (Jun. 3, 2005.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  4. ^ Type certificate date sheet no. A-787. Revision 33. (Jul. 14, 2005.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  5. ^ Type certificate data sheet no. 3A19. Revision 44. (Mar. 31, 2003) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  6. ^ Federal Register. Vol. 69, No. 143 (Jul. 27, 2004), pp. 44772-44882. Federal Aviation Administration, 14 CFR Parts 1, 21, et al., "Certification of aircraft and airmen for the operation of light-sport aircraft;" Final rule.
  7. ^ "Motors". Aerofiles: A Century of American Aviation. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
  8. ^ "Company Background". Teledyne Continental Motors: Company Information. Retrieved 2006-10-07.
  9. ^ Aircraft specification no. A-691. Revision 32. (Oct. 1, 1997.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  10. ^ Aircraft specification no. A-694. Revision 23. (Jul. 8, 1993.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  11. ^ Berry, Mike (September 2004). "Continental O-200". Light Plane Maintenance. 26 (9): 18–21.
  12. ^ Special airworthiness information bulletin no. NE-03-45. (Jun. 27, 2003.) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft Certification Service.
  13. ^ Type certificate data sheet no. E3IN. Revision 3. (Jan. 16, 1968) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  14. ^ Type certificate data sheet no. A22EU. Revision 3. (Jun. 19, 1979) Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration.
  15. ^ a b c d List 4: Propeller-driven aeroplanes not exceeding 8618 kg MTOM (including self-launching powered sailplanes. (Jun. 15, 2006) Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office of Civil Aviation). Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs. Germany.
  16. ^ Teledyne Continental Motors (2003-03-28). Service Information Letter SIL98-9A.
  17. ^ Department of Transportation. Federal Aviation Administration. "STC number SE2031CE". Retrieved 2006-10-07.
  18. ^ Aerofiles (July 2009). "Aeronca". Retrieved 2009-10-05.
  19. ^ "O-200AF" (PDF). Retrieved 14 August 2013.
  20. ^ "Rutan Voyager". Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  21. ^ "Sharp DR 90 "Nemesis"". Smithsonian: National Air and Space Museum. Archived from the original on 2006-09-01. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  22. ^ "The Rebirth of the Cub". American Legend Aircraft Company. Archived from the original on 2006-10-05. Retrieved 2006-10-09.
  23. ^ Continental Motors Inc. "Engine specifications: O-200-A & B" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-11-05.

External links[edit]