Category Archives: airplane engine

Maintaining Floatplanes

As one might intuitively guess, maintaining floatplanes and amphibians – particularly those which routinely operate commercial charters or scheduled services and need to provide very high levels of operational reliability – is a rather more specialized and MRO-intensive business than is maintaining aircraft which fly only from runways on land.

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North Star Air Basler BT-67 – An Investment in the North, Fast Facts, a & Brief History

THUNDER BAY – AVIATION – Northern communities increasingly depend on a solid supply chain to get their food, fuel and medical supplies. Climate change and increasingly extreme changes in winter weather are creating problems for the winter road networks.

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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.

What’s That Silver Plane in the Air? Air Canada’s Lockheed 10-A Takes to the Skies to Mark the Airline’s 80th Anniversary

In honor of Air Canada’s 80th anniversary, Air Canada’s Lockheed 10A vintage aircraft took to the skies across Canada. After taking from Vancouver, BC, the L-10A made overnight stops as well as fuel stops at airports across Canada, and was on public display at the Royal Aviation Museum in Winnipeg on September 13 and 14. More information is at:

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King Airs and Caravans Serve Special Mission Needs

When it comes to special mission aircraft, Textron Aviation has a deep lineup of airplanes suited to the task, ranging from the single-engine piston Cessna 172 to its most sophisticated Citation jets. But its most popular mission-oriented aircraft come in two turboprop types, the Caravan single-engine and the twin-engine King Air series. Both product lines are prime examples of dual-purposing, with a large following in the civil market for everything from owner-flown transport to commercial charter and business aviation flight departments. But these aircraft, when equipped for specific non-commercial or military operations, show their true mettle.

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Installing Radial Engines – DIY Or DDOF

Installing Radial Engines – DIY Or DDOFMany small aircraft pilots take great pride in their planes, and are also knowledgeable about the mechanic side of things. While maintaining a radial engine may be one task, installing a new engine will often require professional help. This can provide benefit in terms of safety of installation, but it is also appropriate to have a second set of eyes to inspect the work. A trained mechanic can become the difference between a successful installation and more money that is spent on repairs and parts.

While an installation does mean that the engine itself will be fresh from the manufacturer with all new parts, many pilots do sometimes neglect to replace adjunct parts when having an engine fitted. It is important to note that replacing all accessories and parts, like carburetors and fuel pumps, is also a good practice for upkeep and for flight time. This can ensure that no one part of the array is compensating for a worn out o-ring or gasket as well. Continue reading Installing Radial Engines – DIY Or DDOF

The Importance Of Change In Engine Design

The Importance Of Change In Engine DesignSince the introduction of the PT6 engine in the early 1960s, this turbine has become a standard for airplanes in many smaller commercial fleets and with private pilots. The original engine design marked a significant turning point in aviation, since it provided a lighter weight option to radials, and could still deliver the horsepower that was necessary for extended flights. While this was applicable to industry use, it also meant that smaller aircrafts could perform at a stronger capacity. Continue reading The Importance Of Change In Engine Design