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4 Quick Fall Engine Tips: Now’s the Time for Preventative Maintenance on your PT6A

The squirrels in our front yard are gathering pecans, acorns, hackberrys, canned peanuts, potatoes, oranges, etc. You think I’m safe in predicting a rough winter? They’re getting ready. I would like to offer some tips for helping you get ready.

10.9.2020PT6A

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time between overhaul

TBO (Time Between Overhaul) – To Be or Not to Be?

Sorry about the play on words, I couldn’t resist it! The subject; TBO or Time Between Overhaul, is a really fascinating subject when considered for flight operations under FAA Regulations 14 CFR, Subchapter F, Air Traffic and General Operating Rules, Part 91(not for hire ). No, operations running under Part 91 do not have to follow manufacturer’s recommendations for TBO. TBO stands for Time Between Overhaul and means having to overhaul an engine at the manufacturer’s recommended times or an approved TBO extension time.

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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.

Request maintenance by visiting here >>>> http://www.covingtonaircraft.com/contact-us/request-maintenance 

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Becoming a Missionary Pilot or Mechanic

Haiti Mission by Missionary Aviation Fellowship
Haiti Mission by Missionary Aviation Fellowship

If you are interested in becoming a missionary pilot or mechanic, you will need to meet a set of criteria. Aviation training and education is necessary and quite expensive. Those with significant debt will be challenged to qualify for the field. Let’s take a look at what is required to become a missionary pilot or mechanic.

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Amphibious Plane Spotlight: Grumman Goose

Unlike other amphibious planes designed for military use, the Grumman Goose began as a private venture.  A group of wealthy Long Island executives simply wanted a way to get back and forth to Wall Street, and commissioned Grumman to build a plane that could take off from a local airstrip and land on water near New York’s financial district.

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The Radial Engine: There’s No Beating a Classic

When it comes to airplane engines, radial engines are the true classic

radial aircraft enginesEver since Louis Bleriot crossed the English Channel in 1909, the radial engine has been an integral part of modern aviation.   Their simple yet powerful design has been improved upon throughout the 1900’s, but the basic principles behind the airplane engine have remained constant. Pratt and Whitney R-985 and R-1340 radial engines were designed starting in the 1920’s, and have withstood the test of time.  Many of these radial engines are still in use today, thanks to companies like ours who are able to perform the overhaul and maintenance required for these masterpieces.

The R-1340 radial engine was Pratt and Whitney’s first foray into airplane engines, and approximately 35,000 engines were produced.  The next engine to be mass-produced was the R-985.  This engine was manufactured from the 1930’s to the 1950’s, and over 39,000 of them were made

Radial engines played a major part in the First World War, outlasting and outperforming rotary engines over time.  The R-985 and R-1340 engines became the standard aircraft engine for World War II, powering airplanes used in basic training as well as military versions of civil aircraft.  After the war, R-985 engines were used in various smaller civil and military airplanes, including utility aircraft, small transports and agricultural aircraft.  Their simple design and reliability made them popular among airplane enthusiasts around the country.

Ford Trimotor, powered by 3 Pratt & Whitney R-985 Radial Engines loaded up for the first flight of the day, following quite a downpour. At least with the rains comes the benefit of the reflections of Lake Lyon. Via @markRFoster

Today, you’ll find most R-985 and R-1340 engines in bush planes and agricultural aircraft, as well as on WarBirds.  Parts for these engines are still available on the market, but repair and overhaul of R-985 and R-1340 radial engines requires a skilled technician.  As a certified FAA Repair Station, our Radial Engine Division is the largest R-985 and R-1340 overhaul facility in the world, and we pride ourselves on being true artisans when it comes to overhaul and maintenance of radial engines.

So, if you’ve got a plane with one of these engineering marvels, be sure to entrust its maintenance to a facility that specializes in the radial engine.  They can keep your engine running for years to come.

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What is a Hot Section Inspection & Why It’s Important to PT6A Engine Longevity

The Pratt & Whitney PT6 engine has been in use since 1961 and has since logged more than 380 million flight hours, the equivalent of about 250,000 round-trips to the moon.   The most advanced PT6A engine family includes three power levels, “Small”, “Medium”, and “Large” that all have the advantage of turbine cooling, aerodynamic design, and advanced technologies in materials.  Keeping these engines running efficiently and safely wouldn’t be possible without a periodic Hot Section Inspection.

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