Every fall I help local farmers haul grain to the elevator. This year we had a very good harvest and the lines at the elevator were long. To pass the time, I brought along magazines from this summer to read and reread. I noted that every magazine had at least one article about the future of aviation gasoline. Since my byline in General Aviation News says I am an aviation fuels expert, I thought maybe I should address the subject and shed some light on it.
A few months back I wrote a column about the need for more technology in aviation engines. I received several emails saying that the industry may need more technology in the engine compartment, but that we need more skill in the cockpit. I must say that I totally agree with these comments.
I have received a number of questions regarding the level of zinc dialkyl dithiophosphate (ZDDP) in modern automotive engine oils. It appears that people are experiencing a significant number of camshaft and lifter failures on newly overhauled engines with flat tappets. The failures appear to be caused by a lower level of ZDDP in the latest spec oils.
This does not concern normal certified aircraft engines, which are designed to run on non-ZDDP oils, but may concern some Light-Sport Aircraft (LSA) engines, automotive conversions, or your ground transportation engines.
Years ago I lived in southern Illinois where high school basketball was THE sport. When we moved to Texas in the mid-1970s, it was quite a culture shock. No one knew of or ever went to a high school basketball game. But football was king.
There is a story going around about a toothpaste company that was having quality problems. It seems that every once in a while an empty tube would go through the system and get to the stores. This was causing several customers to threaten to cancel their orders.
So the president of the company, who was a business type, [Read more…]
The two most common questions that I still get are: 1. What oil should I use in my aircraft engine? And 2. Are different brands and grades of oils compatible?
After Oshkosh, I sent an email to Michael Kraft, Lycoming’s senior vice president and general manager. Due to this busy travel schedule, he was just able to get his answers to me. To honor his request, I agreed to run this in a Q&A format.
Q: Is Lycoming working on or considering development of a diesel cycle piston aircraft engine?
Reader Dave Fletcher recently sent an email concerning the failure of the camshaft in his Lycoming IO-360 engine. He was concerned about pre-oilers, Ney Nozzles, CamGuard and other oil additives.
This is a subject that both engines expert Paul McBride and I have addressed before, but I thought I would try to add a little background to the debate.
I’ve recently received several emails regarding whether to operate lean of peak (LOP) or to stay on the rich side.
Let’s start with a short review of the chemistry and physics of combustion.