Ask Paul: What’s going on with my spark plugs?


Q: I have a 1962 Piper Cherokee 160 with the O-320-D2A engine. The engine had a complete overhaul in 1992 and only 500 SMOH. In addition, 20 hours ago the engine had an annual in which an oil change was done, new plugs, and compressions in the 78/80 range.

What I have noticed is when I taxi the airplane without flying it (I always lean on taxi), the next time I do a run-up the left mag performs poorly and I have to lean and “burn off” whatever is getting on the plug(s), then the airplane runs fine. This has happened to me twice recently. [Read more…]

NTSB: Action needed on ECi cylinders

The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending that the FAA require repetitive inspection of some cylinder assemblies on Teledyne Continental Motors Model 520 and 540 engines not covered by existing airworthiness directives issued following engine failures, according to a report at

The report quotes the Feb. 24 safety recommendation, noting the NTSB said it wants the FAA to “require repetitive inspection of Engine Components, Inc. cylinder assemblies produced between May 2003 and October 2009 (serial numbers 7709 through 52884) installed on Teledyne Continental Motors model 520 and 550 engines and removal of these cylinder assemblies once they reach the engine manufacturer’s recommended normal time (hours) in service between overhauls.”