Category Archives: Aviation

4 Must-Haves For PT6A Engine Line Maintenance

Certain equipment is essential for keeping a PT6A engine running smoothly. Here are four tools and parts that either the aircraft owner or the operator needs to have when doing routine maintenance work.

1. FUEL NOZZLE FLOW CHECK AND PRESSURE CHECK FIXTURES

Typically, ultrasonic fuel nozzle cleaning should be carried out every 200 to 400 hours(1) of flying time, to make sure the nozzle is performing properly and there are no problems such as blockages. “Whenever you clean your fuel nozzle, you should also check it for leaks and flow irregularities like drooling, spitting, streaking or other patterns that could damage the hot section,” explains Yves Houde, PT6A Customer Manager at Pratt & Whitney Canada.

Checking for irregularities of the fuel nozzle requires the use of both a flow check fixture and a pressure check fixture. These are fitted over the nozzle to help identify tips that need to be cleaned or replaced and verify the presence of any leaks before the aircraft is returned to service. Learn more about what to check for in our article on fuel nozzle maintenance.

2. BORESCOPE KIT

Whenever undertaking fuel nozzle maintenance, make sure to perform a borescope inspection at the same time. To do this, you will need a borescope kit, including a guide tube for accessing hard-to-reach areas of the engine. Using a borescope is much easier than the old-fashioned method, which involves opening up the engine.

A borescope allows for assessment of hot section components for wear or damage that may not be evident from a regular ground power check or flight data collection. For instance, on a single power turbine engine, inserting a borescope through the exhaust duct port and power turbine stage may reveal trailing edge cracks on compressor turbine blades.

“It’s the number-one equipment you need to have for line maintenance,” says Yves. “The time when fuel nozzle cleaning is performed is an ideal moment for operators to assess the hot section’s condition with a borescope. We also advise using it to check the first-stage compressor for foreign object damage every year.”

Borescope kits are made by a number of companies. PT6A owners can check their engine’s maintenance manual for the recommended product’s part number and order it from a designated supplier.

It’s hard to generalize about PT6A engines, but there’s some equipment you can’t do without. It’s the core of the line maintenance you need to perform.

YVES HOUDE

3. OIL FILTER PULLER/PUSHER TOOL

Oil filter maintenance is recommended every 100 hours or so. When doing this procedure, use a puller/pusher to open and close the filter’s check valve. While the oil filter can be popped out by hand, it’s not a good idea to do so, since it could damage the oil filter check valve seal, which in turn could lead to static oil leak when the engine is not running.

4. TURBINE RINSE TUBE AND COMPRESSOR WASH RIG

PT6A engines may need to be washed periodically to remove salt and other impurities; how often depends on the operating environment. Whenever it’s time to clean the engine, a compressor wash rig and turbine rinse tube are essential.

Unlike other engines, most PT6A engines already have a wash ring installed around the air intake, so all you need to do is connect the compressor wash rig and insert the water. After the compressor wash, use the turbine rinse tube to clean the turbine as well.

You don’t need any special cleaning solution for a desalination wash—pure, ionized water will do. “But it’s always a good idea to test the water quality first to make sure it’s suitable for cleaning,” adds Yves. “If you use the wrong water, washing may end up causing more problems than it solves.” Have a look at our article on desalination washes for more tips on keeping your engine free of contaminants.

(1) Refer to your Engine Maintenance Manual (EMM), Periodic Inspection Fuel Nozzle Cleaning interval for the interval that applies to your engine model.

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Epic Flies Second PT6A-67A Powered E1000 Prototype

The speedy single-engine turboprop is closing in on its long-awaited market introduction.

Epic Aircraft in Bend, Oregon, has flown the second and final production conforming prototype E1000, putting the company on short final for FAA certification of the all-composite single-engine turboprop, which is now anticipated to enter the market by this year’s third quarter.

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The PT6A Powered Beechcraft King Air 250

Beechcraft King Air 250 is a highly advanced turboprop business aircraft developed by Textron Aviation.

The aircraft secured type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in June 2011. It also received similar certification from the National Civil Aviation Agency of Brazil (ANAC) in the same year. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) certified the aircraft in April 2012.

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The PT6A Engine Proves Its Worth Time And Time Again

No one appreciates the PT6A’s reliability more than customers flying in inhospitable environments, who stake their lives on its performance – like Quest Kodiak aircraft pilot Mark Brown.

Mark Brown still vividly recalls the nerves he felt before embarking on his first flight across the open ocean a few years ago.

Marketing director and factory demo pilot for Quest Aircraft, Mark has aviation in his blood. He was born into a family of pilots and flew for the first time at the age of 13 – but even he could not help wonder about flying solo across the Atlantic on a Kodiak powered by a single PT6A-34 engine.

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Vought’s R-985 Powered Kingfisher Floatplane Was Slow, But It Saved Many WWII Crews

 

Despite Its Slow Speed, The OS2U Rescued, Spotted, and Observed Its Way Across World War II.

Vought’s OS2U Kingfisher first took flight on March 1st 1938. This observation floatplane, conceived as a replacement for the Curtiss SOC Seagull biplane floatplane, operated from American Navy battleships, cruisers, and even a few destroyers via catapult and from shore bases around the world during World War II. In so doing the slow but steady Kingfisher earned the sobriquet “Eyes of the Fleet.” While the every single one of the 1,519 OS2Us Vought and the Naval Aircraft Factory built was so slow it had trouble getting out of its own way, some elements of its design and the methods used to build them were radically advanced and would be seen on tens of thousands of subsequent aircraft. Continue reading Vought’s R-985 Powered Kingfisher Floatplane Was Slow, But It Saved Many WWII Crews

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Inside the Wasp Shop with the Aeroshell Aerobatic Team & Covington Aircraft

Gene McNeely started flying airshows in 1986 and has been a stalwart presence on the AeroShell aerobatic team, flying a Wasp-powered North American T-6. He can only guess at his total flying time behind the engine: “I would say 15,000 hours…probably more than that.” He does remember exactly how he got there, though. “I got out of the Navy and…started cropdusting, and the first engine I sat behind was the [Pratt &Whitney] R-985, which we’d adapted to the Stearman,” he recalls.

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Covington Aircraft Celebrates Pratt & Whitney Canada’s 100K Engine Milestone at NAAA 2017

Pratt & Whitney Canada reached a significant milestone in April of this year, when it produced its 100,000th engine, a testament to the company’s longevity and leadership in the global aerospace market.

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Pratt & Whitney’s R-1340 is The Only Aircraft Engine to be Designated an Historic Landmark

The Wasp Engine’s Great Leap Forward

Advances in propulsion are what drive aviation development. Innovative airplanes almost always start with innovative engines, and the airframes follow. In 2016, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers celebrated just such an engine. The society designated the Pratt & Whitney R-1340 Wasp a technology landmark, the organization’s highest award, because the Wasp singlehandedly brought about a leap forward in aircraft performance and economics. The tale of its development is still fascinating.

R1340WaspNumber1
Wasp no. 1 never flew, but the Navy bought 200 after ground tests. (NASM (2014-04858))

The story can be told as a series of meetings among ambitious young designers, dealmakers with burning needs, and inflexible government contractors. The Wasp’s manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, was at the time a humble machine tool company with no connection whatsoever to aviation. Thanks to a risky bet on an unproven technology, today it’s one of the world’s dominant builders of airplane engines.

At the center of the Wasp’s creation was Frederick Rentschler, scion of a well-connected Ohio industrial family. The family probably assumed that the dutiful son, who’d grown up working in their foundry, would one day inherit and run the family automobile engine manufacturing firm. And he might have done just that if it had not been for World War I. The Princeton graduate enlisted, and in 1917, as a first lieutenant in the aviation section of the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he was tasked with inspecting Hispano-Suiza engines built under license from France by the Wright-Martin Company in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and Long Island City, New York.

Young Rentschler found the work fascinating. These engines were not that different from those he was familiar with in automobiles: reciprocating pistons and cylinders arranged in rows, with liquid coolant circulating through the engine block and a radiator to dump excess heat. As the war wound down, Wright-Martin’s output tapered off, and Rentschler rejoined civilian life. For a time he ran Wright Aeronautical Corporation as president, until the board of directors, mostly bankers, decided not to reinvest profits for future engine development as he wished. In his mind, without investment in product development, the company was doomed. He resigned and spent months, including some time in a hospital due to illness, pondering the aircraft propulsion industry and how to jolt it from complacency.

Vought O2U-1s and Boeing F2B-1s—all Wasp-powered—aboard the USS Saratoga. (NASM (Si-95-2267a))
 The industry was at that time deeply invested in liquid-cooled engines, primarily large V-12s producing in excess of 400 horsepower. It was the conservative, low-risk solution for an aircraft engine, despite its well-known drawbacks: The required cooling system added weight and complexity, and radiators and coolant lines were vulnerable to battle damage, leakage, and subsequent engine failure.

Read more at http://www.airspacemag.com/flight-today/why-the-wasp-is-wonderful-180967115/#efYeFtu5fj6dueul.99

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Piper’s Impressive PT6A Powered Cheyenne III

When Piper Aircraft announced its plans to build a big-cabin turboprop in late 1977, time was of the essence – only, we didn’t know it. It took another three years to get the airplane certificated, during which time the robust state of the general aviation manufacturing economy had begun to unravel. The Cheyenne III’s main competition, the Beech Super King Air 200, introduced in 1974, had an established head start, and industry sales volume was no longer the rising road to riches during the 1980s that it had been in the 1970s.

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