Industry News

March 2012 Issue

Bulletproof Engines: Are There Any?

Yes, say engine overhaulers, and Lycoming’s 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, you’ve got an 1800-pound radio stack you can’t even use because there’s no way to spin the alternator. Our owner reports on various models consistently confirm what we’ve 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 it’s fair to say that some engines have a better service history than others and, conversely, some are simply money pits. That’s not to say they don’t perform, but it’ll cost you more and reliability will suffer.

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