By Francine Desharnais
Jason Crowell addresses COPA Flight 60
at the Aerotec Engines.
Jason Crowell discusses overhaul
procedures in front of a Lycoming IO-360-L2A engine.
|Photos courtesy Paul MacLellan|
COPA Flight 60 held its December meeting at the new location of Aerotec Engines in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. The President and Director of Maintenance, Jason Crowell, welcomed the group and offered a tour of the facilities.
The meeting started with a safety discussion on Pilot Decision Making by Mike Doiron (President of Cirrus Aviation Safety Services and Navigator for Halifax Flight 60). Mike Doiron was the recipient of a 2007 COPA award for his advocacy in aviation safety. He is also offering recurrent training to local pilots in an innovative format.
He provides a safety briefing at five meetings of Flight 60, and every pilot that attended 3 of the 5 meetings will receive a proof of Recurrent Training recognized by Transport Canada. For this meeting, Mike provided a CD with a presentation on winter flying that followed the theme of the meeting.
Jason Crowell followed with a discussion on winter flying, cold start techniques, and how to winterize your engine. He also provided insight on dealing with periods of inactivity for your plane (see side bar).
His “what not to do” advice was demonstrated first-hand with the display of an engine with camshaft damaged from a cold start, reinforcing his points very clearly! He also showed us one of the engine heater kits available on the market.
Jason then proceeded with a tour of his new facilities. Aerotec Engines has been in business for 12 years, originally starting as “Two Brothers AeroEngines.” The company has shown continuous growth. Their staff has grown to 15 and they maintain on the order of 120 engines a year.
The company owns about 40 engines of different types, ready for an immediate exchange for customers that cannot afford down time of their aircraft.
Aerotec Engines is the only company of this type east of Montreal, and they maintain engines from a wide area, including the U.S.
Jason noted the trend toward diesel aircraft engines and is researching how to support this market segment in the future.
The tour of the facilities included the various stages of the overhaul process, from incoming cleaning, tear down, visual inspection and measurements, non-destructive testing for aluminum and steel (dye penetrant and magnaflux), engine test cell, a vast parts storage area, etc.
The company does most of the work in-house; engine overhauls, including overhauls of magnetos, cylinders, alternators, carburetors, starters, etc., as well as (starting shortly) fuel injection systems. Doing all of this work in-house gives them more control on the quality of their products, and more consistency in delivery time.
The attention to detail is clearly part of the corporate culture at Aerotec Engines, and great care and attention goes into putting these engines together. This is reflected in the impeccable cleanliness of the facilities, the well-thought lay out of the various areas, and the low turn over in staff.
Aerotec has also kept records of every engine they have repaired or rebuilt, and all parts they have put in engines since the company started in 1995. These invaluable records have saved money for many owners, including those who may have purchased these engines without full records from the previous owners.
The meeting was well attended with more than 20 people from as far as Yarmouth. All were impressed with Aerotec Engines and the hospitality of the owner, Jason Crowell. Jason went as far as offering two door prizes to his visitors, which were much appreciated by the winners!
For those who would like more information on Aerotec Engines, you can visit: www.aerotecengines.ca.
Jason Crowell, Aerotec Engines, recommends replacing your oil with inhibiting oil if you are not planning to fly your plane for a period over 6 to 8 weeks. This is particularly important for a new engine (with less than 200 hours).
Use one desiccant plug per cylinder and spray all cylinders with a lubricant (such as LPS 1 or 2) before storage. When ready to fly again, replace the oil with suitable oil for your engine, take one spark plug out per cylinder, and turn over on starter (no more than 30 sec at a time) to blow the remaining oil out of the cylinders.
Put your plugs back in, and run at less than 1000 RPM until the engine is warm. If the air temperature is lower than 0C, pre-heat the engine by mechanical means (pre-heater or blower) is recommended. If the engine has more than 200 hrs, you can probably get away without pre-heating down to -10°C, but it is still preferable to pre-heat.