Pull that engine! And a crankshaft news flash

Aero Engines of Winchester–based at the Winchester, Virginia Regional Airport–has removed the Debonair’s old IO-470-LCK engine and basically hand-delivered it to the overhaul shop. “All went well,” said Aero Engines’ Tom Schwietz, who flew the engine to Genesis Engines by D’Shannon’s overhaul shop in Mooresville, North Carolina. Schwietz’s shop has earned a reputation for quality overhauls and other engine work in its own right, but this kind of personalized service was an unexpected luxury. Schwietz’s colorful background includes buying and selling airplanes in the overseas market, as well as vast experience ferrying general aviation airplanes across the Atlantic. “Just when I tell myself that I’m fed up with ferrying, well, I somehow get the urge to do it again,” he said. “I guess it’s just gets into your blood.”

 John Clegg, Genesis Engines’ director of operations, reported today that the Debonair’s engine disassembly has begun in earnest. After Aero Engines brought it to Mooresville’s Lake Norman Airpark, it was taken to the Genesis shop to begin its six-week upgrade process.

Today, Clegg reported that the engine’s new crankshaft (“crank”) has been freshly recertified. The “yellow-tagged” crank (so called because of the yellow tag portion of the paperwork that accompanies it) was declared serviceable and airworthy by an FAA-certified repair station, and Genesis subjected it to magnetic-particle non-destructive testing to make absolutely sure that it had no cracks or other imperfections. Magnetic particle testing involves using a dye penetrant medium that will adhere to any defects, making them visible to Genesis’ technicians. The cranskshaft passed with flying colors.

The newly-recertified crankshaft is necessary because the -N engine uses a crank with four counterweights; the old engine’s crank had just two counterweights. Also, the -N engine’s connecting rods are beefier than the previous engines’. In spite of this, Clegg says that the original crankcase is compatible with the new crankshaft.

That’s it for now. Check back for more news as it happens. The next step should be the arrival of the new ECi cylinder assemblies.

  • Ron

    So is the “N” engine cobbled up between the Debbie’s original IO-470K and another motor? I always thought they were 2 separate motors. Guess I’d better re-read the last post-

  • tony

    I will be glad when I take this plane home. Thank You

  • tony

    A new engine for my new plane

  • Dan Olson

    Magnetic particle inspection uses a lightweight oil with very small magnetic particles (fine iron filings) suspended in it to coat the part. Then the part is magnetized by a large current through a coil or a large current through the part itself. When the part is magnetized, any discontinuities (cracks) will show as poles and collect the particles. A black light may also be used to highlight the particles.
    Dye penetrant inspection is a different method. It uses a very thin solvent containing a dye to coat the part. The dye is allowed to soak into the part for some period of time and then it is washed off. Any dye that has penetrated into any cracks will not wash off. Then the part is coated with a material that has avery high affinity for the dye solution and any dye in cracks will be drawn to the surface and stain the coating. Again, a black light might be used to make the dye flouresce and be more visible.
    These are two different methods that each have their own advantages. Dye penetrant can be used on non-ferrous parts. Magnetic particle can detect smaller cracks, but only on iron or steel parts.

  • Steve Owens

    I’m so tired and discouraged with this whole project. AOPA used to award a refurbished plane every year. Now-a-days they drag out the process for several years until everyone is completely bored with it. Get back to the annual give-away projects and we will follow them again.

    • Ron Dearborn

      I believe all the refurbished airplanes have been through a lengthy process. With this detailed look we are receiving a free education on what it takes to put a used aircraft into first-class shape. In addition this provides an incentive to all those suppliers and shops to keep up their generosity. I like the process.

  • marty hart


    • Greg Meyer

      I believe that is “for us, the members.” Object of a preposition, stuff like that.

  • Greg W

    Good to see the job progressing, bad to see the decision to change to a 100 octane engine. Why with the concern about avgas availability would they change from an 80 oct. engine that could be certified for mogas? If they want to be “cutting edge” why not a diesel? This is a disservice to the membership by not using the “national stage” provided by the sweepstakes to illustrate the powerplant/ fuel options. Auto-gas STC, ADI systems, Diesel engines all options not chosen by “our” organization that claims to be looking to preserve general aviation. I am certian it will be a great aircraft, but, it could be so much more, there is more to an airplane than a new “glass” panel.

  • Steven Koeppel

    It would be nice to see the old engine teardown condition, given the oil sampling results.

  • James Morton

    Am I correct in how I readd this story? As I understand it the original crank was certified and then traded for a new crank with the 4 counterweights instead of the original two. Because the new more horsepower engine the original will become requires the heavier crankshaft as well as higher compression cylinders and pistons along with heavier connecting rods. Lets hope that the camshaft gets a clean bill of health also as that is the most likely place the iron came from in the oil sample or possibly the lifter faces, both of which are extreamly high wear areas, specially in an engine that has done a lot of setting as this airplane has in it’s lifetime. Another thing that puzzles me in a previous story you talked about the iron in the oil traveling all over the engine being the reason for the overhaul. Yet the same oil was also traveling in the prop and governor yet nothing has been said about doing anything to either. Why not ? Shouldn’t they also be dissembled and cleaned and inspected for damage. There are a lot of very close fitting parts in the prop that I wouldn’t want to stop working. Anyway food for thought and maybe misplaced assumption on my part as I was only a lowly A&P for nearly 50 years and overhauled my fair share of engines.

  • Steven Koeppel

    I’d rather fly a high time engine that was flown regularly, than a low time engine damaged by neglect. Too bad AOPA fell for this one.

    If you don’t have the time to fly weekly, give someone with the time a key, and let them maintain your investment. I’ve rarely seen anyone not willing to fly a plane for the cost of avgas.

  • Bob Stone

    I hope that AOPA will use this engine teardown and detail all of the bad stuff that happens to an engine after a period of non-use. I would like to see magnified pictures of the camshaft, lifters, cyclinder walls, and other parts that have been damaged as well as the parts that are servicable.

    • Mike

      Agree. I’m a non-A&P owner who’d likely benefit a lot from such photos and accompanying subject matter expert commentary.

  • th

    please — give me the plane any others will not have to worry about its progress :)

  • Richard

    I wonder why AOPA is using ECI cylinders given the potential AD on their big bore (-520, -550) cylinders? If that AD goes through, could it roll down to the -470 cylinders? Also, ECI has a troubled history when it comes to cylinders.