The Perils of Having an Oil Starved PT6A & What To Do About It

Sometimes things happen!  It’s not very profound, but it is very true.  Engines suffer through prop strikes, wire strikes, hot starts and hard landings.  Frequently, post incident inspections reveal minor damage and the engines are repaired and returned to service promptly.  Recently, engines have been brought to Covington for investigation because “things” have happened to them.  One was a reported incident of a starter/generator arcing.  The starter/generator malfunctioned and was replaced.  While the maintenance appears to have been performed properly, “things” still happen.  Here is what we found upon disassembly:

oil starved PT6a

An indication of electrical discharge was noted from the starter gear and all through the accessory gearbox. The #1 bearing failed, which in turn allowed the compressor to shift causing a severe rub of the compressor components and the compressor turbine blades. Another engine suffered from oil starvation:

Another engine suffered from oil starvation:

PT6A oil starved

And a third engine had a failure in the turbine area:

pt6a oil starved 2

Even though the engines pictured here suffered from in-flight shutdowns, all of the aircraft were able to land safely and all pilots walked away.

Although we understand that “things” happen, we don’t want them to happen to you.  If they do, we will work with you no matter where your previous maintenance was done, to ensure that you have a rental/replacement engine as quickly as possible to keep you flying.  Remember to be aware of changes in your engine or events that could cause damage.  Pay attention to the way it sounds (blade rubbing), looks (metal or debris in oil), smells (oil burning) and feels (vibrations) along with watching the gages.  You may be able to detect a problem before some ”thing” happens to your engine.

Need to have a certified expert look at your PT6A engine? Founded in 1972, Covington Aircraft is a world-leading aircraft engine maintenance, repair and overhaul facility specializing in the PT6A turbine engine and R-985 and R-1340 radial engines. We are a Pratt & Whitney Canada certified Distributor and Designated Overhaul Facility (DDOF), and provide world-class corporate and agricultural aircraft service.

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