Mike Busch of Savvy Aviation was at Oshkosh talking about his new 500-page book. He described replacing a functional engine at TBO (usually around 2,000 hours of flight time) as “euthanizing an engine.” He points out that old age problems are less sudden and severe than new-engine problems.
For an IO-360-powered Cirrus SR20 is there a reasonable alternative to a new-in-the-box engine from Continental? Busch said good things about John Jewell in Memphis, TN and Zephyr Aircraft Engines in Florida.
What does he think about the Cirrus? He was skeptical at first about the parachute, but now “unlike the second engine that’s out there trying to kill you all the time, the CAPS system sits there quietly until you need it.”
Busch supervises maintenance for a lot of aircraft, including my dream family airplane, the original Piper Malibu with the four-blade MT Prop STC (reduces interior noise dramatically to the point that it measures as quiet inside as a Pilatus PC-12)? Based on his experience, Busch says that it is not crazy to own one and he likes the original TSIO-520 engine better than the -550 conversion that a lot of owners have done. Busch says that Continental has fixed all of the issues with this engine (maybe I’m just not following the news carefully, but I don’t hear about Malibus suffering engine failures anymore) and a Malibu operated primarily in the mid-teens should be a reliable mule. (Operating this plane right up to its 25,000′ service ceiling deprives the engine of cooling due to the prevailing thin air.)
Can it be that Busch is right and the engine manufacturers and the FAA are wrong? I know of at least one R22 that came out of the sky and into the water with a supposedly bulletproof Lycoming four-cylinder engine that was operated a few hundred hours past TBO. A friend limped to a runway on one cylinder with a 20-year-old low-powered engine that was still within the TBO hours but beyond the 12-year recommendation. Our new-in-the-box Continental engine has run more or less perfectly for 13 years and about 1950 flight hours. Why not another new-in-the-box Continental? (only $47,000 plus removal/reinstall)
- Mike Busch on Engines (EAA sold out of hardcopies at Oshkosh)