At Covington Aircraft, installing radial engines is part of our regular routine.
However, we find that many pilots and aircraft enthusiasts enjoy working on their own airplane, as this knowledge of mechanics can provide better safety during flight. By understanding the operation and parts of the radial engine, it also becomes easier to identify possible problems quickly, and to troubleshoot concerns in-flight for a smoother journey.
Attempting an installation on your own can become a challenging task, especially if you have never undertaken this task. To this end, we often recommend that pilots who want to develop this understanding of their airplane should contact a technician in order to supervise the endeavor. The result can be just as rewarding as doing it on your own, but can also provide greater insight and knowledge regarding operation. If you ever fly in to our facility, you are welcome to contribute to the installation of your engine alongside our mechanics in the hangar.
The Clean Slate
One of the frequent concerns that we will address is the tendency to install a new radial engine, without actually changing out the other part which support optimal function. According to FAA guidelines, a new installation should also include the following:
- Inspecting instrumentation response
- Checking electrical systems and connections
- Replacing spark plugs
- Changing oil and filters
- Flushing the fuel lines and inspecting filters
- Rebalancing propellers and checking for synchronicity
It is important to remember that while the radial engine being installed may be new, the power and regulation systems that drive the engine will also need to be cleaned and even replaced in order to ensure the best performance out of the new engine.
It is also recommended that an official inspection of the entire aircraft and propulsion systems is performed after the installation is complete. This will not only ensure that the aircraft is legally sound for flight, but also that the installation and adjunct repairs have been performed with precision.
Covington Aircraft has a Fuel Injection system STC available for the R-985 Radial Engine. See more information at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yYOePa4-B-k.