What is causing bent rods and sticking valves?

Q: I am acquainted with two IO-540 engines with 1,000-plus hours that have bent rods in the #5 cylinder and stuck valves in the #2 cylinder. One aircraft was manufactured in 2007 and the other in 2009. The oil has always been changed at 50 hours using Exxon Elite 20/50. Any particular thoughts?

RICHARD WEICHMAN, via email

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GA aircraft shipments expected to grow in 2015

The U.S. aerospace industry is expected to ship more general aviation (GA) aircraft in 2015 than it did in 2014, according to the Aerospace Industries Association‘s (AIA) 2014 Year-End Review and Forecast.

Shipments of GA aircraft are projected to total 1,691 units in 2014, up 4.7% from the 2013 total, AIA wrote in its report, which was released on Dec. 17. The 2014 shipments are expected to have a total value of $11.9 billion.

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Spatial disorientation kills four

Aircraft: Piper Matrix. Injuries: 4 Fatal. Location: Greensburg, Ind. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The instrument-rated private pilot was executing a non-precision instrument approach procedure at night in deteriorating weather conditions. According to GPS track data, he executed the approach as published, but descended below the missed approach point’s minimum altitude before executing a climbing right turn.

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