ECi 2013: Engine Safety Initiative
The ECi 2013: Engine Safety Initiative is designed to raise pilot awareness of the increased risk of operating engines over-temperature and with high piston blow-by. An excessive number of engines are being operated under these unsafe conditions. Therefore, it is Engine Components International’s (ECi) mission to inform the community of increased risks, and provide information and tools necessary to recognize when these unsafe conditions exist.
Operating over-temperature and with high piston blow-by evidences itself by one or more of the following dangerous conditions:
- Excessive valve guide wear
- High oil consumption
- Stuck Valves
- Cylinder head cracks
- Detonation / Pre-ignition
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While it is generally known that these conditions are dangerous, in 2012, ECi’s sister company, Airmotive Engineering Corp. (AEC) spearheaded a series of engine tests for the specific purpose of quantifying the dangers associated with over-temperature operation and high piston blow-by. AEC’s General Manager, Bryon Denton explained, “We instrumented engines with multiple micro-strain gages and temperature probes and confirmed what industry experts already believed: stresses at the top loaded head thread significantly increase and safety margins erode when temperatures exceed 460°F or when cylinders experience high piston blow-by.”
Inadequate temperature monitoring, poor cooling baffle performance, and other underperformed safety practices are causing these conditions to become more prevalent. The high cost of fuel increases the common practice of lean- of- peak operation and, if performed incorrectly, cylinders can over-heat.
Each engine incident affects more than just the one plane; it affects the entire industry especially when those incidents are wrongly attributed to the part design rather than the operating conditions. Each incident increases the perception of risk, which in turn raises the cost of insurance, increases the overall cost of operation, invites unnecessary regulation and generally impedes the ability to enjoy our airplanes.
Numerous educational presentations and articles have been offered specifically on, and precautions to take to avoid, overheating your engine. Tim Morland, General Manager of ECi underscores, “We encourage you to read, study, and know the dangers, and to use the presented information to help you fly the skies as safely as possible.”
ECi and AEC are continuing to research dangers and offer instruction on preventative methods associated with engine over-heating. Please join the ECmail (email) subscription list to receive future articles on this subject. The
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