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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As modern cockpits increasingly move to a “flight deck” approach, integrated engine analyzers are becoming increasingly popular.

Avidyne’s Entegra flight deck incorporates the EMax engine analyzer, which can be displayed full-screen on its EX5000 MFD. During flight, engine parameters are displayed in the upper-left corner of the MFD; a full-screen look remains instantly available. Even as engine parameters (rpm, manifold pressure, percent power, oil temp and pressure, EGT, CHT, OAT and buss voltage) are displayed, the “fuel totalizer” monitors fuel flow, computing nmpg, fuel remaining, fuel-to-waypoint and fuel-to-destination. “Lean assist” mode announces when you lean for “best power” or “best economy,” and when “peak EGT” is reached by the first cylinder. (The display then changes color from green to blue, and shows actual peak EGT.) EMax logs all engine data, which is downloaded through a USB port. Learn more at


Dedicated software enhances what your instruments tell you and helps you collect, save and analyze your data from different angles, then chart the data trends. This aids development programs, tracks pilot habits and lets you or an expert diagnose early warning signs (or eliminate “false positives”) to prolong engine life, save gas and fly safer, all while keeping good records, which is useful when it’s time to sell or rebuild. All digital engine analyzers generate data, sometimes lots of it.

Making sense of the data was the inspiration behind the formation of EGTrends. Michael Mahoney and Dave Garing developed EGView software out of necessity. “We didn’t really want to build a software application to view our engine data; we just wanted to fly our plane,” said Mahoney. Supporting many popular units, including Avidyne, Electronics International and older J.P. Instruments software (newer J.P.I. software isn’t compatible with EGView), the program allows trend monitoring by anyone who’s interested enough to look. With the safety issues and dollar costs that come with poor monitoring, EGView is becoming more popular. As features are added (see the website for more than you’d even think to ask) and more platforms (Pocket PC and PDA) come on line, it’s also becoming easier to use. For more information, log on to EGTrends’ website at

analyze this
Engine data as it appears on the Garmin G1000.
Garmin’s G1000 glass panel includes full-function engine analyzer capability and, as such, offers a ton of engine-related information on a slice of its 10.4-inch MFD (on the 900X); the G1000 is also available in 12- and 15-inch screens. Included are an all-cylinder (cyclable with a soft key) graphical EGT with a “lean assist” function; cyclable, all-cylinder CHT; and alternator and battery information. In this same area, the pilot gets fuel flow and level information. The screen can be instantly configured to display more or less detail. The future doesn’t rule out data-logging capabilities, but for now, the Garmin flight decks don’t keep track of engine parameters in any user-available way. Learn more at

analyze this
The SmartDeck from L-3 Communications.
L-3 Communications
L-3’s SmartDeck presents one of the most integrated flight deck solutions in general aviation, but it’s not yet available in any OEM or add-on application. On the MFD, the usual data—all-cylinder EGT and CHT, rpm, manifold pressure and oil temp and pressure—are augmented by percent power and fuel flow, along with electric system information. L-3 has a unique “trend monitor,” as well: the previous 10 minutes of oil pressure or engine temperatures are continuously displayed. This allows the pilot to adjust to in-flight changes, allowing a more educated judgment call while easing that momentary shock you always get when you can’t remember, for certain, what the values were during your last scan. Like the Garmin G1000, the L-3 SmartDeck displays, but doesn’t log engine data for historical or diagnostic purposes. Learn more at


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