New cylinder and more


Some updates on the unkind month of January! For a recap, a triple dose of unluck hit N194SP. A bad coil in the left magneto left it stranded in Watsonville. A tumbling AI needed an overhaul. And a bad #1 cylinder wouldn’t hold compression. None of these alone should cause an immediate safety concern for the aircraft, but they definitely aren’t situations that can be allowed for further flight. This is why the plane has two magnetos. And why we train partial panel. And, of course, even with a cylinder only holding 20 psi, it was still smoothly making full power.

Still, it had to all be fixed. As I mentioned in the last post, a new $1500 Slick magento was popped onto the plane in Watsonville with four and half hours labor. That got it back home. It turned out the other magneto was due for its 500-hour inspection. Three hours of labor and $60 in parts made sure that the right mag is now behaving just as well as the new left.

The AI was a simple swap. $1000 for the overhauled unit and an hour to swap it out. I’ve flown the plane since the overhaul, and it’s now nice and stable.

The cylinder was more involved. First, it was an $1100 part, though it was fortunately available off the shelf. Overnight shipping and ten hours of labor later, and a new cylinder graced the Lycoming engine. Total bill: $2325. Unfortunately, it wasn’t done yet. The cylinder needed to be broken in for ten hours of tach time before it could be flown as a rental. A couple other ferry pilots got some time, but I did most of the break-in time, flying all weekend. I got several new airports in my logbook, which was great. Not so great is that I had to do it solo. I always have more fun when I can share!

Other items that were done during the 100 hour:

  • New ELT battery was installed.
  • New right main tire.
  • Leaking fuel strainer valve was replaced
  • New ground strap on the left elevator
  • Fixed the bad screw in the cowl.


New cylinder and more

Some downtime for the engine

Sometimes in plane ownership, luck is not with you. The engine on N194SP decided it needed to get some heavy maintenance at its half-life. Nothing too terrible, but January has had some downtime for the aircraft.

First, the left magneto gave up the ghost. The coil failed in the magneto during a flight to Watsonville. Of course, the right magneto continued humming along nicely, so there was no threat to the safety of the flight, but it doesn’t leave the plane in a condition to be flown home. WVFC’s chief mechanic flew to KWVI to swap out the magneto. Four hours of labor and a $1500 part, and the plane was flying again.

The good times lasted another couple weeks. The plane went in for a 100-hour inspection, and they found that one of cylinders had lost compression. It was still producing power, but something is dreadfully wrong with it. An overhauled cylinder is being put on, and we’ll hopefully be flying in a week or two!

Some downtime for the engine