Matters of Aircraft Engine Oil from Top to Bottom

Do you own an aircraft?

What is the cost of operating it?

So you are calculating?

Keep this calculation with you, because it will be used to judge the amount of aircraft engine efficiency you get from what I am going to tell you.

First of all lets just divide fliers in three distinct categories.

  • Frequent Fliers
  • Occasional Fliers and
  • Flying almost daily for a job

So, which category do you belong to?

Regardless of the type of flier you are, you can prolong the life of the aircraft engine and protect against wear by using the right engine oil.

Why Quality of Engine Oil Matters?

The quality of engine oils directly effects the Time Between Overhaul (TBO).

A high-quality aircraft engine oil will reduce:

  • Overall fuel consumption
  • Operating and maintenance costs

The quality of lubricants will effect the life of your aircraft’s engine.

The life of an aircraft’s engine in clean and excellent condition, run on high-quality lubricants, can be given extension by concerned authorities.

How Engine Oil Protects your aircraft engine?

When you buy engine oil for your aircraft check for the anti-corrosion and anti-oxidation additives in it.

These two components is what protects your aircraft’s engine and increase TBO.

An engine oil should neutralize acids and prevent its particles from reaching metal surfaces.

In case this process does not happen it will lead to harmful engine corrosion.

ACIDS + METAL SURFACES = CORROSION

It is as simple as that.

CORROSION + HEAT + MORE ACIDS = WEAR & POWER ROBBING DEPOSITS

Ultimately, it decreases TBO and increase the operating costs.

An aircraft engine has many moving parts, just like any other engine, running on fossil fuel.

An engine oil should be able to maintain cushion between these moving parts and should not fail particularly in heavily loaded metal components.

This high load carrying capacity is provided by the anti-scuffing additives in engine oil.

Protect Lubricant to Protect Engine

Hope you have belted the important points mentioned above.

The most critical time is when you start your aircraft’s engine. It takes time for the engine oil to come in full circulation.

Oil that flows too slowly after start-up, fails to reach and protect the important components.

It leads to high oil consumption and blocked oil-ways and can cause oil starvation.

It can result in expensive damage or worse still, in-flight shutdown.

  • Climate you are operating in &
  • Viscosity loss over time

can result in low oil pressure.

Maintain the viscosity of the engine oil as recommended by major OEM:

  • Drain oil and
  • Change oil filter every 50 hours

For engines fitted with full flow oil filter, oil filter need to be changed every four months.

How to Choose the Right Oil for Your Aircraft’s Engine?

Price and Performance should balance each other when you purchase a specific lubricant and oil for your aircraft.

But, how will you find that balance?

Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer for this question.

Every piston engine aircraft has a specific demand on engine oil. Factors that need to be considered include:

  • Four stroke or two stroke
  • Diesel-fueled or Gasoline fueled
  • Carbureted, Turbocharged or Fuel-injected

A comprehensive range of engine oils are available to protect a variety of engine types.

  • Frequency of your flying
  • Climate you mostly fly in
  • Your Flying experience

are the other three factors that will affect your decision for the best-performing lubricant for your aircraft.

Innovative Solutions in Lubricants

Aircraft lubricants have improved with change in engine specifications. The first piston engine oil with ashless dispersants for cleaner engines was introduced in 1950s. The nonmetallic dispersant additives in these oils prevented build-up of metallic ash residues on important components in aircraft’s engine.

The first semi-synthetic, multi-grade aviation oil was introduced in 1980s.

Te grade of an oil shows its viscosity:

  • Multi-grade oil (eg. 15 W – 50)
  • Mono (eg. W 80, W 100)

In case you fly mostly in low temperature regions pick the oil having lower viscosity.

Multi-grade and single-grade oils have the same specification by definition. Both of them offer excellent service and provide the same amount of protection from rust and corrosion.

The viscosity of multi-grade engine oil remains almost constant within a particular range of engine temperature. They have excellent performance both in high and low temperature and will allow you to fly at any time of the year.

When compared with single-grade oils, multi-grade oils provide the following benefits:

  • Reduced fuel consumption and operating costs
  • Simplified maintenance schedules
  • No need to change oil between summer to winter

Multi-grade oil is the right choice in case you fly only during summer months or less regularly. It protects the aircraft when it is stationary for a long period of time.

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