If you’re flying a PT6A-powered aircraft and the propeller has unexpectedly locked into place, don’t panic: there’s most likely a simple explanation and an easy solution. Our expert explains all.Continue reading How to Recognize, Resolve and Prevent Propeller Lock-Up
The customer exclaimed: “You mean all that was wrong with the engine was a dirty compressor!” Well, the dirty compressor wasn’t all that was wrong. However, it was the most significant thing causing his engine’s poor performance. The engine also needed a hot section inspection as there were several large cracks in the outside diameter of the engine’s large exit duct, and the gas generator speed indicator needed replacing. The deposits on the components of his compressor, and the resulting poor compressor efficiency, was making it necessary to add more fuel in order to obtain the performance he wanted at altitude. This was resulting in high T-5 or inter-turbine temperatures.
Everyone knows it is vitally important to keep your expenses as low as possible, but I would like to encourage you to “hang the expense” when it comes to engine installations. To let things slide or try to get by cheap in this area only provides a false sense of economic security, and can actually cost you in many other ways.
Your aircraft is a major investment, and keeping it in top working order is important not only for your finances but for safety. Regular maintenance will help you avoid the higher costs of repairs, and with about 34 percent of aircraft accidents related to improper maintenance, it’s vital that you take steps to keep your aircraft in top shape. But it can be complex at times, and even expensive. This is especially true if you manage a fleet of aircraft, but even those with a single plane will still want to keep a few tips in mind that will greatly simplify the process of maintaining your engine.
Your aircraft is due for an engine overhaul. Whether it is a PT6A engine from Pratt and Whitney, or the R-985 and the R-1340 radial engines, you want the best work done to maintain your aircraft’s resale value. But your main goal during an overhaul should be safety. You want your plane’s engine to be overhauled with OEM approved parts. This is the safest way to perform a full engine overhaul. Continue reading What Are Aircraft Engine OEM Approvals And Why Is This Important In An Overhaul
One of the most important requirements in owning an aircraft is understanding aircraft engine maintenance, so an aircraft engine overhaul may be necessary to keep an engine running like new. An overhaul consists of removing, disassembling, cleaning, inspecting and repairing an aircraft engine. Costs can run high with the extensiveness of an aircraft engine overhaul, thus it is important to know what to consider before choosing an overhaul company.
Aircraft engine overhaul is always required – this is one of the most important things to remember. Based on the Time between Overhaul (TBO), every aircraft engine must be removed, dismantled, checked and repaired as necessary. The engine, after being reassembled, is reinstalled in order to remain in service. For most engines, the TBO is 1,800 to 2,000 hours, which means many years between overhauls for a plane not flown often.
Asking an aircraft engine overhaul facility whether the work will be outsourced or done on-site is advised. A company that outsources the overhaul, even if it is a segment of the work, loses quality control over service completion. Therefore, be sure the facility you choose performs the work in-house.
Costs of an engine overhaul should be quoted based on the type of aircraft serviced and the time passed since the last overhaul. Price can also vary on which series of overhaul the customer requests. Facilities should not offer a “one-size-fits-all” price for aircraft engine overhauls.
The time for completing an aircraft engine overhaul depends on the type of aircraft and the series of overhaul requested. On average, an aircraft engine overhaul can take between two and three weeks, depending on the engine’s status and any approval delays from the customer for additional repairs.
When choosing a facility to perform an aircraft engine overhaul, it is important to look at what the price actually includes. A good facility should be able to give you a rough estimate of the time needed, inform you if outsourcing is required, and give you a cost estimate based on the type of aircraft and the series of overhaul desired. For more information on aircraft engine overhaul, join our online community on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
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Covington Aircraft is an internationally certified maintenance, repair, and overhaul facility, with airplane on ground services, that was built on taking care of its customers so when one of our customer’s needs help, it becomes our top priority. We have an international 24/7 AOG hotline that gives our customers the ability to speak to someone who can help them solve their problem. Call 1-800-324-8320 if you ever need the service!
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As a final installment in our series of posts intended to demystify the aircraft engine overhaul process, we at Covington Aircraft want to detail the differences between using new and overhauled parts in an engine overhaul, so that you can make the best and most informed decision possible when TBO time comes around again.
When you’re looking to get an engine overhaul, a key point to remember is that the FAA does not require that all parts need to be replaced with brand new OEM equipment. While it is an accepted practice to replace parts such as pistons, rings, bushings, seals and gaskets, it’s also an accepted practice to reuse internal steel parts like connecting rods, the crankshaft, pushrods, gears and drive shafts, among others.
Testing and replacement
Even if they are reused, all non-new parts are carefully inspected and checked for cracks or defects via non-destructive testing techniques like Magnaflux and dye-penetrant tests. If a part fails to meet specified dimensional limits—either new limits or service limits, depending on the type of overhaul you’ve requested—it will be immediately rejected and replaced, regardless of the owner’s preference on the matter. The downside of this replacement is that some components come in matched sets, which means that a damaged single Planet gear may require the replacement of all Planet gears.
To overhaul or not to overhaul your parts?
When getting an engine overhaul, it can be difficult to decide if you should overhaul your existing cylinders or just replace them with new ones. New cylinders, if available, cost more than overhauling the cylinders you’ve already got. If your existing cylinders don’t have much wear, then it’s probably perfectly acceptable to get them overhauled and reinstalled. Remember that an overhauled cylinder still gets a new cylinder barrel choke and cylinder barrel honed finish, and the guides and seats are refurbished or replaced.
If you’re interested in further information on aircraft engine overhauls for turbine or radial engines, please let us know. We welcome questions and e-mails, and always strive to provide the best service possible to all our customers.
A discussion with an expert in airplane overhaul and maintenance and aviation engine service
David Hamilton knows a thing or two about aircraft repair. As a teenager, he began working for Covington Aircraft part-time, helping them with their aircraft engine overhaul and aviation engine service business. Now, over 25 years later, David is the Vice President and Operations Manager of the Covington Aircraft Engines Turbine Division. But he isn’t focused on the past; he’s focused on the future of airplane maintenance, repair and overhaul. Here’s an interview with David himself:
Walk us through a typical day. What does your job entail now, and how has it changed from when you started?
David: “I started working part-time on overhauled aircraft engines when I was 15. Covington is the only place I have ever worked. Now, my job consists of organization of personnel, materials, facilities and parts to supply the needs and requirements of our customers’ work orders. I coordinate jobs through our facility for those same customers. I arrange purchases and sales of engines for our facility, coordinating exchanges, overhauls and repairs to meet any changing needs our customers may have.”
Where do you see Covington Aircraft going in the next 5 years?
David: “I see us growing in the PT6A market, as our relationships expand in the corporate and military markets. I also believe we will continue to be a leader within the AG market, supporting our faithful customer base. As the AG market moves more toward larger engines, I believe we will become the premier overhaul and maintenance shop to meet their needs. We owe the AG market a lot, not just in our customer’s faithfulness but for the lessons that will serve us well as we go after new business outside that market. We have a strong desire to grow, but not at the cost of our current customer base.
Being very customer-oriented, I believe the lessons we have learned in the AG market, concerning AOG situations and personal attention to individuals, are exactly what the Corporate and Military Markets are looking for. We intend to meet and exceed those expectations.”
For more information on David and the rest of the Covington Aircraft crew, visit our website or stop into our facility and learn more about commercial aircraft maintenance and overhauled aircraft engines.
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There are many different types of aircraft coming and going, our skilled mechanics are constantly on the move, and so they really helped us out coming up with our list.
1. Agricultural Aircraft
An agricultural aircraft has been built or converted for agricultural uses, usually aerial crop spraying or fertilizing, and sometimes they are used for hydro-seeding. Most of these agricultural aircraft are fixed wing models. Agricultural aircraft enable food production and fiber cultivation, which helps feed and clothe people around the world. Agricultural aviation is extremely vital to the world’s food sources.
2. Bush or “Back Country” Aircraft
Bush planes use a variety of aircraft but there are a few more common aircraft types, such as: the DeHaviland Beaver and the Single Engine Otter. These flight models provide passenger comfort as well as hauling huge freight loads to remote areas. Bush planes are usually used when there is no other way to get supplies in to a secluded area.
3. WarBird Aircraft
WarBird aircraft is usually designated by type: fighter, trainer, bomber, jet, etc. and then by manufacturer. They are often considered to be luxury items, but they also provide a great link to our nation’s aerial history. WarBird aircraft are typically owned and maintained by individuals, museums, and/or flying clubs which are committed to honoring the legacy of our aviators. War Birds are commonly seen at air shows and many of them are still in excellent flying conditions.