Category Archives: PT6A

Why Engine Condition Trend Monitoring is a Must for PT6As

This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.

Whether it involves recording and inputting data manually or using the latest automated Digital Engine Services, Engine Condition Trend Monitoring delivers net gains for all PT6A customers.

A WORTHWHILE PAYOFF

Rob Winchcomb, PT6A Customer Manager, is the first to admit that doing Engine Condition Trend Monitoring (ECTM) by hand is a hassle.

It requires writing down key engine and aircraft data at a set time during each flight once the plane is at a stable cruising speed, inputting the recorded figures into a computer after landing and sending them to the analysis company for comparison with the results of previous flights.

For busy operators who already have plenty on their plate during a flight, the extra work might seem like an unnecessary nuisance. That’s why Rob’s customers always ask him the same question: “What’s in it for me?”

He’s been telling them the same thing for 25 years: “ECTM reduces the cost of ownership, increases the engine’s availability and gives you more peace of mind.”

The Royal Flying Doctor Service’s PT6A Powered Beechcraft Kingair 350.

Rob walks the talk. Thirty years ago, before joining P&WC, he was on the other side of the fence as a customer, began his aviation career with the Royal Flying Doctor Service and working for other regional airlines in Australia. Back then, he was already a strong proponent for recording and using engine condition data, despite having to do it all the hard way—computing the trend values by hand on a Texas Instruments calculator and plotting his own handmade ECTM graphs.

A LITTLE EFFORT, A LOT GAINED

“PT6A engines are very reliable from one inspection to the next, but in my mind the question is, why not take the next step? With ECTM, you can optimize performance and maintenance planning,” says Rob. “It doesn’t cost you much considering the gains it will bring.”

By analyzing parameters such as power, speed and fuel flow on a flight-to-flight basis, ECTM can identify subtle changes in an engine’s performance. Based on the analysis results, P&WC’s engine health monitoring partner CAMP Systems will let the operator and maintenance team know if any actions are required.

Is a sudden 10-degree increase in temperature simply the result of replacing a fuel nozzle set? Is an increased power load due to excess air leaking from the cabin rather than an issue with the engine itself? Do you need to take a look at the compressor? ECTM will tell you.

This kind of detailed insight into engine performance means that issues can be detected and resolved before they turn into costly repairs and affect operation. It also makes it easier for PT6A customers to move to on-condition hot section inspections.

It all adds up to better maintenance planning, lower expenses and increased engine availability.

There’s also a financial benefit when selling a used aircraft. If you’ve been consistently performing ECTM, you’ll have a record to show potential buyers that the engine is well maintained. That will give them more confidence, which in turn enhances your aircraft’s resale value.

AUTOMATED ECTM AND MORE WITH THE FAST™ SOLUTION

Today, many operators can enjoy all the advantages of ECTM with none of the downsides, thanks to P&WC’s FAST™ Solution for proactive engine health management system.

Now available on a growing number of PT6A platforms, the FAST solution captures, analyzes and wirelessly transmits a wide range of engine and aircraft data after each flight, providing detailed, customized alerts and trend monitoring information directly to the operator within minutes of engine shutdown.

“I wish I’d had this technology 30 years ago,” remarks Rob. “It’s light years ahead of what we were doing back then—and it keeps evolving.”

Besides making operators’ lives simpler through automation, the FAST solution also has the capacity for enhanced functionality going forward. For instance, the company is looking at introducing FAST’s propeller vibration trend monitoring technology – available for regional turboprop aircraft – as a solution for PT6A-powered aircraft in the future. That’s another reason why Rob believes it is now the most attractive solution for customers.

Ultimately, though, what’s most important is to be doing ECTM, no matter whether it’s with pen and paper or state-of-the-art digital solutions. “When I talk to customers about FAST,” Rob concludes, “what I’m selling them is not the hardware itself, but the full value of automated ECTM to their operations and asset value.”

Rob has also helped PT6A customers master the art of engine rigging by appearing in a detailed instructional video. Read all about it here.

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Blackhawk Delivers 800th XP Upgrade

Blackhawk Modifications has sold 800 of its XP engine upgrades with the delivery of a Phoenix-edition King Air C90-1 with its XP135A engine upgrade. The company also announced that flight testing of its latest program, the XP67A engine upgrade for 12,500-pound and 14,000-pound-gross-weight models of the King Air 300, is underway and that it is continuing a $50,000 pre-certification discount on orders for that program, first announced this summer.

The Phoenix-edition 1982 King Air C90-1 on display at EAA AirVenture 2018 where 800th customers Gregg and Jan Goodall first saw the airplane.

Blackhawk expects the XP67A upgrade for the King Air 300 to deliver improved performance, including a maximum cruise speed of 345 to 350 knots, time to climb from sea level to FL350 in less than 17 minutes, and better performance at higher density altitudes. The upgrade includes two new P&WC PT6A-67A engines with a factory new engine warranty of five years/2,500 hours, installation drawings, STC paperwork, approved flight manual supplement, instructions for continued airworthiness, training from FlightSafety International for PT6A line maintenance, and a two-year subscription to P&WC engine maintenance/parts manuals. Qualifying core PT6A-60A engines will be trade-in credited at $70 per hour each for time remaining on the 3,600-hour TBO. 

The STC flight test program for the XP67A upgrade for the King Air 300 will include measuring parameters such as single- and multi-engine handling, aircraft performance, engine and accessory cooling, stall speeds and characteristics, landing characteristics, propeller noise and vibration, and high-speed airframe/engine characteristics. Blackhawk expects FAA STC approval for the upgrade next summer.  

Blackhawk’s Phoenix program allows owners of legacy King Airs to upgrade from a menu of options, including engines, avionics, and paint and interior. Blackhawk’s 800th XP upgrade, a 1982 King Air C90-1, was delivered to Gregg and Jan Goodall of Breckenridge, Texas, and replaced the stock PT6A-21 engines with the XP135A engine upgrade, generating a 36 percent increase in available horsepower, a 59 percent increase in climb rate, more than 270 knots maximum cruise speed, and a 19,000-foot single-engine service ceiling. The Goodalls also opted for Phoenix signature paint and interior design, the Raisbeck Epic package, and new Garmin glass-panel avionics including two G600TXi displays, WAAS-enabled GTN 650 and 750, GTX 335 transponder for ADS-B Out, and the L3 Lynx transponder for ADS-B In and Out. 

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A Brief Look at the PT6A Powered Beechcraft Model 99 & Variants

The Beechcraft Model 99 is a civilian aircraft produced by the Beechcraft. It is also known as the Beech 99 Airliner and the Commuter 99. The 99 is a twin-engine, unpressurized, 15 to 17 passenger seat turboprop aircraft, derived from the earlier Beechcraft King Air and Queen Air. It uses the wings of the Queen Air, the engines and nacelles of the King Air, and sub-systems from both, with a specifically-designed nose structure. Design and development

Jamaica Air Shuttle Beech 99 In Flight

Designed in the 1960s as a replacement for the Beechcraft Model 18, it first flew in July 1966. It received type certification on May 2, 1968, and 62 aircraft were delivered by the end of the year.

In 1984, the Beechcraft 1900, a pressurized 19-passenger airplane, was introduced as the follow-on aircraft.

Production ended in early 1987. Nearly half the Beech 99s in airline service are now operated as freighters by Ameriflight.

Variants

  • 99 Airliner: Twin-engined Commuter and cargo transport aircraft, 10,400 lb max takeoff weight, accommodation for a crew of two and up to 15 passengers. powered by two 550-hp (410-kW) Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turboprop engines.
  • 99 Executive: Executive transport version of the 99 Airliner.
  • 99A Airliner: Same as the 99 Airliner, but powered by two Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 engines flat-rated at 550 hp.
  • A99A Airliner: One of a kind, 99A Airliner without wing center section tanks; this aircraft has been scrapped.
  • B99 Airliner: Improved version, 10,900 lb max takeoff weight, powered by two 680-hp (507-kW) Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27/28 engines.
  • B99 Executive: Executive transport version of the B99 Airliner.
  • C99 Commuter: Improved version, 11,300 lb (5,100 kg) max takeoff weight, Pratt & Whitney PT6A-36 (engines flat rated at 715 hp)
Ameriflight Beech C99 freighter takes off from the Mojave Airport

Operators

In July 2018, 105 Beechcraft B99 were in airline service, all in the Americas:[1]

Specifications (Model 99A)

General characteristics

  • Crew: One
  • Capacity: Normally 15 passengers (8-seat ‘Business Executive’ model available)
  • Length: 44 ft 6¾ in (13.58 m)
  • Wingspan: 45 ft 10½ in (13.98 m)
  • Height: 14 ft 4⅓ in (4.37 m)
  • Wing area: 279.7 ft² (25.99 m²)
  • Empty weight: 5,533 lb (varies depending upon equipment and configuration) (2,515 kg)
  • Loaded weight:
  • Max. takeoff weight: 10,400, 10,900, or 11,300 lb – see above (4,727 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney PT6A-20, -27. or -36 turbopropHartzell constant speed, feathering, and reversing, 550, 680, or 715 eshp depending upon model/mod status each

Performance

First read at https://www.revolvy.com/page/Beechcraft-Model-99

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Quest Eyes Special Missions Roles for Kodiak

Quest Aircraft is seeking to broaden the customer base for its Kodiak 100 single-engined turboprop with the expansion into the special missions market.

Rob Wells, chief executive of the Sandpoint, Idaho–based airframer, says the utility aircraft has found a successful niche in the charter, commercial short-haul, corporate, and cargo markets, but its unique features make it an ideal platform for other applications, such as law enforcement, surveillance and military transport. “We have been working on a concept for a year now, and there is no shortage of interest,” he says.

The Kodiak’s appeal comes from a host of features including its wing, which has a discontinuous leading edge, giving it “fantastic” low-speed performance.

The Kodiak’s high-wing loading also creates a stable platform – a necessity for a surveillance operation. The Kodiak’s cargo pod can store sensors, and its large cargo door allows for the easy transfer of equipment, while the large windows are “ideal”, Wells says, for an observation role. The aircraft also has a 9.5h loiter time.

In April, Quest introduced the second-generation version of the Kodiak – powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-34 – and Wells says response to the aircraft has been “overwhelming”, with 10 examples delivered to date.

The Series II has a host of new enhancements and equipment, including Garmin’s next generation G1000NXi flightdeck; additional storage in the cockpit; a restyled cargo doorstep to “reduce weight and improve functionality”; and improved fuselage seals to provide “even better” soundproofing and cabin ventilation.

Since its introduction in 2008, Quest has incorporated over 200 enhancements into the short take-off and landing Kodiak, including the introduction of two new interiors; an increased landing weight; and the integration of the Garmin GFC 700 automatic flight control system.

FlightGlobal’s Fleets Analyzer database records a global fleet of more than 255 of the all-metal aircraft. The company shipped 31 examples in 2017.

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Essentials For Your PT6A Engine Oil Analysis

This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.

In an aircraft engine, oil is much more than just a lubricant. It plays a number of other important roles, including cooling, cleaning and noise reduction. It’s therefore vital to monitor and analyze oil to ensure it’s doing its job properly.

WHEN AND WHAT TO ANALYZE

Engine oil sampling and analysis are recommended if a visual inspection reveals that the oil is very dark, has an unusual odor or exhibits other abnormal properties. You don’t necessarily have to change the oil, but at the very least, it should be analyzed to determine its total acid number (TAN) and water content.

Typically, the water concentration in brand-new oil varies between 0.02% and 0.04%, or 200 and 400 parts per million (ppm). However, water can enter the engine’s oil system due either to accidental contamination during compressor wash or normal condensation. Since aircraft engine oils easily absorb water and moisture from the air, their water content will rise over time. If it exceeds 1000 ppm, the TAN may rise as well, eventually leading to engine component corrosion.

HOW TO SAMPLE AIRCRAFT ENGINE OIL

When you take an oil sample, identify it with the brand name, engine serial number, total run time (oil life) and engine time since new (TSN) or time since overhaul (TSO). Have the sample analyzed for its TAN and water content by an approved laboratory. If necessary, ask the lab to analyze the oil viscosity and additives as well.

If a parameter exceeds the established limit, it’s recommended that you: 1) drain and discard the oil from the tank; 2) check the condition of the oil filter and, if needed, replace it with a new one; 3) refill the tank with fresh oil.

If you have access to the right kits, you could also perform the analysis yourself. Use a Titra-Lube TAN Test Kit to analyze the oil’s TAN and a HydroScout Analyzer kit for the water content.

Read more: Oil Analysis Technology Makes Proactive Maintenance Easier.

RACK YOUR OIL CONSUMPTION

Every time you add oil into your engine, write down the amount so that you can calculate the average consumption. Check this figure against the limits indicated in the maintenance manual. If the engine is using more oil than it should, there may be a part that needs maintenance. For example, a damaged O-ring could be causing a leak, or something may be happening in the engine that’s burning up extra oil.

Oil is key to your engine’s health and performance, so give it the attention it deserves by following the advice above.

Read all technical tips and talk from our experts about aircraft engine oil on Airtime.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AVIATION GAS TURBINE ENGINE LUBRICANTS

The earliest aviation piston engines were lubricated with natural oils such as castor oil and refined mineral oils. However, they lacked the thermal-oxidative stability needed for high-temperature mechanical systems and would form deposits like gum and lacquer on metal surfaces.

In the 1950s, following research efforts aimed at improving thermal-oxidative stability, synthetic polyester-based lubricants became the base stock of choice for aviation gas turbine engine oils. Thanks to their chemical properties, these lubricants are effective over a wide temperature range, from -65oF to 425oF. They possess good thermal-oxidative stability, high lubricating film strength, good surface wetting, and low friction and wear rates, making them ideal for aircraft engines.

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A Look at the Ayres Thrush S2R Series

The S2R Series is a fixed undercarriage low-wing single-engine tailwheel configuration agricultural aircraft of all-metal construction with the welded steel-tube fuselage. The hopper is located forward of the cockpit, and the aircraft is available in single or dual (tandem) cockpit configurations. The S-2R model was developed by Rockwell from the S-2D by widening the fuselage from 38” to 46” to accept a larger 400 US gallon hopper, to be able to carry a greater volume of low-density materials used by Rice growers, and adding flaps.

Continue reading A Look at the Ayres Thrush S2R Series

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A Look at the PT6A-21 Powered Beechcraft King Air C90A

The Beechcraft King Air family is part of a line of twin-turboprop aircraft produced by Beechcraft. The King Air line comprises a number of models that have been divided into two families; the Model 90 and 100 series are known as King Airs, while the Model 200 and 300 series were originally marketed as Super King Airs, with “Super” being dropped by Beechcraft in 1996. Since production began in 1964, over 3,100 aircraft have been built. Production is currently still active, giving the Beechcraft King Air the longest continual production run of any civilian aircraft of its class.

Continue reading A Look at the PT6A-21 Powered Beechcraft King Air C90A

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A Quicker Way to Overhaul Your PT6-A Engine

This article originally appeared on the P&WC Airtime Blog.

Aircraft engine overhauls are all about flying like new and they require careful planning. It all takes time and a maintenance scheduling. Imagine replacing your engine with one that has already been overhauled, all at a guaranteed price?

Continue reading A Quicker Way to Overhaul Your PT6-A Engine

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PT6A-35 Powered JetProp DLX: No Mirage Of Power In This Malibu Conversion

Piper’s sleek Malibu/Mirage pressurized singles have always been good performers once they get up to altitude. It’s the takeoff and climb phases that leave a little to be desired. JetProp LLC’s DL and DLX conversions solve that with an infusion of an extra few hundred horsepower.

Continue reading PT6A-35 Powered JetProp DLX: No Mirage Of Power In This Malibu Conversion

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