Continental O-520

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Continental IO-520 2.jpg
Preserved IO-520
Type Piston aircraft engine
Manufacturer Teledyne Continental Motors
First run 1963
Major applications Beechcraft Bonanza
Cessna 210
Developed from Continental IO-346

The Continental O-520 is a six-cylinder, horizontally opposed aircraft engine produced by Teledyne Continental Motors. First run in 1963 as a development of the IO-346, it has been produced in versions incorporating fuel injection (IO-520), turbo-charging (TSIO-520), and gearing (GTSIO-520).

Design and development[edit]

The IO-520 series of engines normally produced 285-310 HP and were used in numerous aircraft such as certain models of the Bellanca Viking 300 and Super Viking, the Beech Bonanza and Baron, and the Cessna 185, 206, 210, 310, and 400 series of aircraft. It has largely been superseded by Continental's newer IO-550 engine. The IO-520 series of engine is considered to be a reliable engine, but some of the early versions of this engine had a weaker crankcase than subsequent versions. Versions featuring more substantial crankcases are often referred to as having "heavy crankcases."

The turbocharged GTSIO-520 was not as common and in its most common application (the Cessna 404 and Cessna 421 twin-engine aircraft) it produces 375 horsepower (280 kW). The engine has a reputation of being expensive to maintain and is intolerant of improper operation. The engine operates at high temperatures for best efficiency, and is thus prone to shock-cooling during descents. More planning is required preflight, to ensure the engine's power setting is reduced slowly during the terminal phase of a trip. A rapid reduction of power causes large temperature gradients in critical parts of the engine (hence, the "shock-cooling"). Doing this persistently will eventually result in the cracking of heads, pistons, valves.[1] When operated properly, most pilots consider the engine to be reliable. Gearing reduces the RPM of the propeller making the engine run quieter than many other engines, although the gearboxes on early versions of this engine were notoriously unreliable. The gearing also adds measurably to the overhauling costs of these engines.




Specifications (GTSIO-520-D)[edit]

Data from Continental Motors.[2]

General characteristics

  • Type: 6-cylinder horizontally opposed aircraft engine
  • Bore: 5.25 in (133.35 mm)
  • Stroke: 4.00 (101.6 mm)
  • Displacement: 520 in³ (8.51 litres)
  • Length: 63.63 in (161.6 cm)
  • Width: 34.04 in (86.5 cm)
  • Height: 26.63 in (67.6 cm)
  • Dry weight: 484 lb (219.5 kg) without accessories


  • Valvetrain: Overhead valve
  • Fuel system: TCM fuel injection
  • Fuel type: 100/130 Octane Avgas
  • Cooling system: Air-cooled


See also[edit]


External links[edit]