Plane & Pilot
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Analyze This


Today’s engine analyzers can help you lower costs and fly more safely


No matter how modern an airplane’s engines and systems are, predictable power is ultimately a pilot’s personal responsibility. We rely on engine instrumentation to ensure safe flight, but we also like to optimize engine operations (for example, speed, distance or lifetime economy). The right information, reliably transmitted and interpreted, can save money and time, and prevent awkward situations.
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The 46126 EGT/CHT Meter from Alcor Inc.
No matter how modern an airplane’s engines and systems are, predictable power is ultimately a pilot’s personal responsibility. We rely on engine instrumentation to ensure safe flight, but we also like to optimize engine operations (for example, speed, distance or lifetime economy). The right information, reliably transmitted and interpreted, can save money and time, and prevent awkward situations.

When it’s time to evaluate a new panel or decide on a new airplane, the availability, quality and clarity of the information from the engine bay(s) will play an important part. Whether you’re replacing vintage “steam gauges” with the newest of the genre, or you’re looking for “full auto” engine controls and monitoring systems to match, modern manufacturers are providing the best information ever available.

Save gas. Avoid shock cooling. Lower your maintenance costs. Log your aircraft’s history. Balance your propeller. Spot trouble before it becomes catastrophic. Save weight and panel space while getting better information. Today’s engine analyzers can do things that well-equipped shops couldn’t do just a few years ago—and they can do it on the fly, using common software and common storage media. Trend monitoring, once the province of the heavy players, is now in our hands.

There are three technologies available to help us: traditional, dedicated gauges; stand-alone engine analyzers; and integrated engine instruments that are part of a flight deck. As always, anytime you’re upgrading, check with the individual manufacturers for the latest information on TSO/PMA status and required STCs.

 


The G3 from Insight Instruments. The EDM-800 from J.P. Instruments.
TRADITIONAL, DEDICATED GAUGES
The low cost, rugged construction, ready compatibility and classic look of traditional gauges mean that they’ll be around for decades.

Alcor Inc.
Alcor has had a great reputation over the past 50 years, during which time the company patented the EGT thermocouple, allowing pilots to safely adjust the fuel-air mixture for optimum performance or economy. A logical pick when an authentic and functional restoration is in your plans, Alcor’s CHT and EGT instruments and probes (in both grounded and insulated versions) are an industry standard. In fact, Alcor’s single, dual and mixed (CHT/EGT) instruments, in 2.25-inch and 3.125-inch sizes, fill more piston-engine airplane panels worldwide than any other brand. Prices are in the $500 range. Learn more at www.alcorinc.com.

MVP
The MVP-50P from Electronics International.

STAND-ALONE ENGINE ANALYZERS
Stand-alone analyzers offer extremely comprehensive information. Their data capture and logging, as well as their ability to diagnose specific parameters, balance well with their moderate cost and pilot-friendliness.

Electronics International Inc.
The MVP-50P is a newly TSO’d and certified engine analyzer/system monitor that shows programmable critical engine parameters with audio and visual limit warnings, including engine hours, rpm, manifold pressure and oil temp and pressure. It can also monitor the positions of flaps, trim, time and more than a dozen other parameters (including whether your door/canopy is open, plus others that you program). Data loads through a USB port and can be viewed on dedicated EGTrends (see the sidebar in this article) or Microsoft Excel software. Additional screen displays allow you to build customized checklists and store general information, flight plans, the POH and a myriad of other data. Existing customers can send in their existing MVP and get a free software upgrade to make it TSO’d. The two-pound device costs about $4,500. Learn more at www.buy-ei.com.





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