April 2011 Issue

The Red Knob

Learning to use the mixture control correctly pays dividends in economy, increased engine longevity and peace of mind.

Ordinary auto maintenance shops use modern sophisticated computers to analyze engine status and performance. New cars and trucks use computer circuits to control ignition timing, fuel flow and mixture, among other parameters. Drivers do not need any specialized knowledge or skill to operate their automobile engines efficiently and safely. Pilots are in a much different position. Aircraft maintenance shops use tools little different than they were a half-century ago. Aircraft piston engines have seen little or no improvement in decades. In fact, some argue aircraft engines are less reliable and durable than they were even a few years ago. Unless several physical laws are repealed, substantial improvement of aircraft piston engines does not appear to be imminent.

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