Maybe another pilot can answer this question for me, which pops into my head from time to time.
I’ve noticed from purely casual observation that Lycoming piston engines tend to have a 2,000 hour TBO, while Continentals have a TBO of around 1,500 hours. Why is this? Both basic designs have basically been around for 70 years or so. (i.e., they’re both horizontally-opposed piston engines that have been used for decades, although there have been many improvements over the years.)
Let’s say that a light aircraft flies at an average of 100 kts. (115 mph) including take-off, landing, and taxiing. 500 hours at 100 kts. is 50,000 nm (57,500 sm). Given the high cost of overhauls, the extra flying time is desirable. (Note that I’m just using these figures as a general example. IIRC, a Continental O-200 has an 1,800-hour TBO – still less than a Lycoming.)
Is there a fundamental design difference between Lycomings and Continentals that allow a shorter TBO for the latter? Or is Continental just more conservative? If the engines are pretty much the same, wouldn’t Continental benefit from raising the TBO? Or is Lycoming overstating their engines’ reliability?