July 2008 Issue

The Spin I’m In

I just read your article on different LSA engines ("LSA Engine Safety," May 2008). An aircraft mechanic friend of mine has experimented with different lubricants for the two-strokes such as the Rotax and similar. He finds the life expectancy of these engines is almost directly related to the oil type. He notes those using the [IMGCAP(1)]cheaper oils find lower life expectancy and he rebuilds a lot of these engines. Thus an article on tribology, the science and technology of interacting surfaces in relative motion, might be worthwhile. Another friend has had several deadstick landings in the last two or three years in aircraft with these two-strokes. The engines failed mainly because of seizing from loss of lubrication. These failures are not part of the stats because most of these failures occurred over a field and successful landings were accomplished. Another friend tore down an O-200 after running it on 100LL for about 600 hours and found the valve guides were all split. Thus, how one deals with fuels and lubricants has a direct impact on aircraft safety.

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