March 2012 Issue
Bulletproof Engines: Are There Any?
Yes, say engine overhaulers, and Lycomings four-cylinder models own the category. Owning one substantially reduces the cost of flying.
Next to $5 avgas, the cost of routine engine maintenance and overhauls takes the biggest bite out of the aircraft ownership budget. You can always choose not to paint your airplane or live with ratty seats, but if the engine tanks, youve got an 1800-pound radio stack you cant even use because theres no way to spin the alternator. Our owner reports on various models consistently confirm what weve always known: Some owners spend a lot less on aircraft maintenance simply because they own airplanes equipped with engines we have often considered bulletproof. This concept is, itself, a misnomer. Nothing in aviation is truly bulletproof, but its fair to say that some engines have a better service history than others and, conversely, some are simply money pits. Thats not to say they dont perform, but itll cost you more and reliability will suffer.
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