Experimenter

JAN 2015

Experimenter is a magazine created by EAA for people who build airplanes. We will report on amateur-built aircraft as well as ultralights and other light aircraft.

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EAA Experimenter 9 THE AUSTRALIAN CIVIL Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) may have released its proposed operational limitations for air- planes powered by Jabiru engines before gathering all the facts, according to Recreational Aviation Australia (RA-Aus) and the company. CASA issued the "instrument" proposing restrictions ear- lier this month citing "a high, and increasing, rate of (Jabiru) engine fail- ures" and solicited public comments through November 20. After a strong backlash from the company and opera- tors from around the world, CASA softened its stance and extended the comment period by one week, to Thursday, November 27. The proposed limitations, if enacted, would allow Jabiru-powered aircraft in Australia to fl y only day VFR unless CASA approval is obtained; there are no fl ights over populated areas at altitude from which it cannot glide to a suitable landing; no passengers; no solo fl ight by student pilots; and the aircraft must be conspicuously placarded that no passen- gers are allowed and that occupants fl y at their own risk. After CASA released its original pro- posal, RA-Aus issued a strongly worded response on November 21, in which it stated, "CASA has provided no specifi c failure data related to Jabiru engines to industry other than to suggest an increasing rate of engine failures. At no point has CASA published evidence or otherwise to substantiate its claims. RA- Aus and the aviation community have no evidence to suggest that the statements by CASA are made with any substance." RA-Aus, which is charged with administering the safe training and operation of approximately 10,000 pilots and 3,500 aircraft in that country, called on CASA to withdraw the proposal and consult with all parties to develop an ac- ceptable solution. CASA met with Jabiru and RA-Aus of cials and issued a revised document in which it emphasizes the precautionary nature of the proposed restrictions. "No conclusive determination has been made by CASA about the integrity of Jabiru en- gines, and no determinative fi ndings have been made by CASA about Jabiru's ability and willingness to produce safe, sound and reliable aircraft engines," it states. CASA also acknowledged Jabiru's good reputation for manufacturing safe and reliable engines, and that most Jabiru- manufactured engines continue to operate safely and reliably in Australia and abroad. Jabiru said it has produced 3,665 engines since 2005, with 35 through-bolt incidences occurring since then—some in fl ight and some detected during rou- tine maintenance inspections. The vast majority of in-fl ight incidents occurred in hard-working fl ight school planes equipped with four-cylinder Jabiru 2200 engines. RA-Aus has virtually no through-bolt failures involving private, non-training applications on record. En- gineering ef orts over the last three years have addressed predominately through- bolt along with some stuck valve issues, including several service bulletins. RA-Aus states that two-thirds of its fl ight-training facilities rely on Jabiru- powered airplanes for their operations. Jabiru has been proactive regard- ing engine issues. Since October 2013 Jabiru uses standard valve relief pistons that do not allow a stuck valve to impact the piston and cause engine failure. They have been used on all overhauls and repairs since August 2013. The company also upgrades engines to the current spec at owner request during major service intervals such as top end overhaul. The introduction of roller cams has to date eliminated valve train failures, and the introduction of 7/16-inch through-bolts replace the original 3/8-inch bolts in production engines. A retrofi t program for through-bolt replacement is being devised as well. Pete Krotje, EAA 306085, who operates the sole Jabiru engine and aircraft distributorship in the United States (Jabiru USA Sport Aircraft LLC, Shelbyville, Tennessee), estimates about half of all Jabiru engines currently in operation worldwide are in the United States. Over the past 12 months there have been two valve-related issues that caused an in-fl ight engine stoppage in the United States. The other issue men- tioned by CASA is broken through-bolts. Both issues have already been addressed by Jabiru, Krotje said. "We have torn down and rebuilt about 40 engines, two with valve issues and the remainder for prop strikes," he said. Still, the damage of the original notice has been done, and although the uproar over CASA's initial proposal has dimin- ished signifi cantly, Krotje acknowledges it will take some time to recover. Jabiru Disputes Australian Govt's Proposed Operational Limitations BELITE'S NEW DIGITAL LCD altimeter/vertical speed indicator (VSI) is now shipping! It features a digital altimeter and VSI combined for easy viewing on one screen. And, it has a slew of additional features including one button access to density altitude, system voltage, and VFR cruising alarm, and it's less than an inch thick, and weighs less than 2 ounces. For complete specifi cations and to buy online, visit www.beliteaircraft.com/avionics/altimeter.php , call 316-253-6746, or e-mail info@beliteaircraft.com . Belite Offers Digital LCD Altimeter/VSI

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