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Reese and Jim Leach of Windward Aviation... taking the spin out of aviation maintenance and repair.

Want straight talk about aircraft maintenance and repair? Then you've come to the right place. Jim & Reese — both aerospace engineers — have over 70 years combined aviation experience. They are professionals who are passionate about aviation and write frequently about aircraft safety and performance with no double talk, no corners cut and absolutely no spin!

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Recent Articles: Caring for Your Engine
Jim Reese & LeachJim Reese & Leach, taking the spin out of aviation maintenance.

Caring For Your Engine By Jim and Reese Leach

We like to think of maximizing engine longevity, reducing costs and improving reliability and performance as the engine “Hat Trick”! To some, these may be mutually exclusive, but if a holistic view is taken, we can maximize performance AND minimize operating costs.

Let’s start simply. The engine needs the right combination of compressed air, fuel and spark to create the combustion event in each cylinder. Many factors play a part in ensuring these three elements arrive in each cylinder at the correct time. Sources for obtaining this balance include engine manufacturers’ data, overhaulers’ experience, and personal experiences as an aircraft owner. In addition, our industry has 50-60 years of operating information and best practices for maintaining and operating horizontally opposed, air-cooled piston engines in general aviation aircraft. Windward Aviation services approximately 300 of these engines annually and add this experience to our knowledge base.

We looked at several year’s worth of maintenance records to understand where our customers spend their engine maintenance dollar. The goal was to see if there were areas where our customers have or could save on their maintenance. Most of the data base includes Teledyne Continental Motors(TCM) engines. Many of the findings can be useful to Lycoming operators as well. We found that the work was divided into seven categories: cylinder, exhaust, engine systems(fuel pump and distribution valve), ignition(magnetos, harness, spark plugs), aircraft systems(vacuum pump and alternator), baffling and routine. Naturally, these categories are interrelated. We will provide a summary of common problems in each of these areas and recommendations to either eliminate or at least reduce costs for them.

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