Editor's Log

October 2009 Issue

Why Can’t We Make Cylinders?

Every so often, it becomes apparent the general aviation industry suffers from some kind of systemic problem affecting its underlying infrastructure. A few years ago, first Continental and then Lycoming discovered issues with new crankshafts. A few years before that, it was Cessnaís failure to properly prepare its new airplanes for a different paint technology, which resulted in widespread corrosion until they were stripped and properly repainted. Now, itís cylinders. And itís nothing new, either. In 2004, some 2000 cylinders manufactured by Engine Components, Inc. (ECi), were the target of an airworthiness directive (AD). Another AD, effective September 9, 2009, targets an estimated 8000 Superior Air Parts, Inc. (SAP) cylinders installed on big-bore Continental engines. And in July, Continental was forced to revise a recent service bulletin adding more cylinders to a recall program it established in February. To its credit, Continental is replacing cylinders subject to the new service bulletin at its expense. (Full disclosure: My airplane is equipped with SAP cylinders subject to the new AD.)

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