8 thoughts on “What The Engine Was Trying To Say

  1. we actually had a similar experience but it was with a Cirrus SR 20, 1 cylinder was replaced, and we suspect not properly torqued down. Within 100 hours, we had a lot of metal in the engine, requiring an Iran. Spun main bearings and obvious evidence that the case had shifted. Like Mike Busch says, replacing cylinders is a very big deal and has to be done properly. We were lucky because we discovered it at a routine oil change in the filter cutting.

  2. What were the pilot’s hrs, MEL, TT, C-421, total and last 90 days, recurrent training where and how long ago, his age.

  3. Those series of continental engines are
    Very tender and rarely make TBO
    Not unusual to need at least one top overhaul before TBO. It takes a gentle hand to fly them.
    A thorough preflight of the engines every time

  4. Not an excuse, just an observation. But seeing how he was picking up a “company man” how much pressure to fly was involved? This can be insidious in commercial operations.

  5. I’m a licensed, but inactive A&P. There are records of who worked on the engine, and who inspected the work. If the plane is flown for hire, it HAS to be inspected every 100 hours. When I worked at an FBO/Flying Club, every Friday, I would go to every plane in the club and replenish the oil cans in the plane, and record how many were required for each plane. That data would go into a program that tracked oil usage. I don’t know what happened to the data after that, but seems to me that if an engine’s oil issue jumps up, and plateaus (sp) or continues climbing, that that would be a cause for concern.

  6. As a 421B owner/operator your summations are indeed pretty scary. My own engines are 750 hrs and 1100 hrs and I keep them right at 11 qts on a 13 qt sump (the 12 qt sump in article may have been typo). Right at that level I’ll burn 1/4 – 1/2 qt on a typical trip to Sedona AZ which is same distance from my home airport as Hammond to Atlanta. So a 3 qt sudden drop in a single flight would certainly catch my attention (not to mention smoke). In my own reading of the article, what is so very said to read and hear is that all 6 cylinders were new (i.e., only 9 months old) and the owner obviously thought he was doing the right thing and safer thing by replacing them all for good/new compressions, rings, etc for whatever age period the engine was in (not cheap and certainly the “right” thing to do). And then to be 9 months into the replacement: you’re sort of heaving a slight sigh of relief thinking you’re safely out of the “break in” period and can start to breath a bit normal again – – and then bam this happens (for reasons cited). Gotta tell ya – – sure scares the h*ll out of me (and I’ve got some cyl replacments coming up.) To someone’s point above – – it would be nice to hear age, hours and recurrent training pilot received. I pay extra to go to SimCom each year – – I sure hope it’s worth it, if needed. I’m always baffled when I read the “prop wasn’t feathered” (and I’ve read it several times in these NTSB reports). When I’m reading one, I’m expecting to then read a non-feather due to a shaft or engine seizure or something (but then “no”). So I”m only left to conclude that those nasty detent’s that force you the pilot to push the prop control all the way around that detent to finally get the control to the feather position is the reason and what continually plagues these situations (NTSB never cites at what positino the prop control was found – – i.e., it would be interesting to know if it’s just forward of that detent, showing the pilot “tried” to feather it). Early on in my sim training, I noticed in a “hands full” situation I would quickly ratchet the failed prop back to the position (that I thought) had feathered the engine – – only to find that I’d not fully navigated and pushed the prop lever around that nasty detent – – so that it’s not feathered at all. I literally now practice maneuvering around that detent, an regaining hand muscle memory, for BOTH props and BOTH engines (just through the hand muscle movements) prior to every single take off I make. It’s just too, too many times do I read “prop not feathered”. As many, many times as you read that – – I just can’t understand why NTSB, or some other human factors engineering study firm, doesn’t try to figure that out. That detent is obviously a safety feature to keep from accidentally feathering a prop in flight. But my own gut feeling is that it has killed way, way, way too many people to justify it. In flight are you EVER, EVER is a position where your prop control will EVER even be remotely near that low, low down feather position?? H*ll NO!! So we as pilot should be allowed to just file that detent down on the power quadrant and get rid of that nasty bugger – – if you ask me. I think it’s a killer. Just saying

  7. Not every mechanic has a calibrated torque wrench handy when the they need one. It’s important for a mechanic to plan for this and find the torque wrench so that he has it handy when he needs it. Otherwise, a mechanic can be tempted to under-tighten nuts and think to himself, “I’ll get the wrench tomorrow and torque them properly later.” I’ve done this myself and although I didn’t forget; the owner came by that evening, put the cowls back on both engines and took the airplane out for a spin before I had signed off the work!

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