Author Topic: NTSB Recommends ECi Cylinder Inspection/Replacement on IO-520 and -550 Engines  (Read 4493 times)

Tom Turner

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The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has published a recommendation calling for:

...require[d] repetitive inspection of Engine Components, Inc. [ECi] cylinder assemblies produced between May 2003 and October 2009 (serial numbers 7709 - 52884) installed on Teledyne Continental Motors model IO-520 and -550 engines, and removal of these cylinder assemblies once they reach the engine manufacturer's recommended normal time (hours) in service between overhauls.

NTSB makes this recommendation because:

Since 2000...[NTSB] has examined number ECi cylinder assemblies that failed due to fatigue cracking that initiated at the root of the cylinder head thread, eventually resulting in loss of cmpression and/or separation of the cylinder head....  These failures involved new assemblies installed on Lycoming and TCM engines, and many resulted in fatal accidents.  Although the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued several Airworthiness Directives (ADs) applicable to certain new ECi cylinder assemblies used on Lycoming and TCM engines to address this issue, similar fatigue failures in other new ECi cylinder assemblies installed on TCM [IO-520 and IO-550] engines have been identified but are not covered by an existing AD.  Because fatigue cracking and separation of cylinder assemplies in piston-engine aircraft is a serious safety issue, [NTSB] recommends corrective action....

NTSB is not a regulatory agency, so this recommendation is not mandatory.  NTSB's role is to make recommendations to FAA as a result of actual accident investigations, including recommending ADs such as in this case.  FAA may chose whether it issues an AD in response to the NTSB's recommendation.

For full details see NTSB Safety Recommendation A-12-7:
http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/recletters/2012/A-12-007.pdf  

Here's the 2008 Airworthiness Directive that applies to Lycoming engines on Beech Travel Airs:
http://bonanza.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=717:AD-Affects-ECi-Cylinders-on-Lycomings&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=53


« Last Edit: March 16, 2012, 08:52:40 AM by Tom Turner »
Thomas P. Turner
Executive Director
ABS Air Safety Foundation

Mike Bland

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How can I determine if I have ECi cylinders?

Tom Turner

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You'll have to look in your engine logbook for the make, model and serial number of cylinder(s) used if the engine was overhauled anywhere other than at a Teledyne Continental/Continental Motors, Inc. facility, or if any cylinder has been reaplced since the most recent overhaul or factory rebuild.
Thomas P. Turner
Executive Director
ABS Air Safety Foundation

Ron Snuggs

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All my cylinders are affected. I fly hard IFR regularly. I have a history of issues with ECI cylinders. A weak warranty cost me a lot of $ to fix a top overhaul issue over delamanated piston rings.. Does ECI bear any responsibility to replace these cylinders? When someone dies they certainly would have a major liability.

Eric Hagopian

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OK folks... YESTERDAY I had an engine failure on departure because of my ECI Cylinders!  Fortunately it was daytime VFR and I had cleared the trees at the end of the runway and made it to about 800 ft. AGL before the engine stopped producing climb power.  I CRANKED it around and landed back at the departure field with no damage to the airplane, me or anyone else thank God.  I fly mostly night IFR X-Country so it was a small miracle that this happened during a short flight down to get an upgrade to my GTN750 software.

Upon inspection, it was evident what the problem was... A HOLE in the #1 cylinder and three other cracked cylinders JUST LIKE the NTSB report!  My cylinders are NOT in the serial number range of the AD so clearly the serial number range isn't sufficient to protect the lives that are being risked on this poor quality product.

I strongly urge ANYONE flying ECI Cylinders to take them off... it's a matter of life and death.  [/u I was lucky... very lucky to have had this happen so close to the airport in day VFR conditions.

Phil Jossi

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Eric, out of curiosity, how many hours on the cylinders that blew?  I am in the range with roughly 400 hours on cylinders that require repetitive inspections at 750- hours.  I was planning on changing them out at 750. IO520BB N6050M

Dave Rogers

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  I CRANKED it around and landed back at the departure field with no damage to the airplane, me or anyone else thank God. 

  [/b] [/u I was lucky... very lucky to have had this happen so close to the airport in day VFR conditions.

G'day Eric,

I don't think you were "lucky", just skillful. A nice piece of flying.

Please reply directly to dfr@nar-associates.com
I don't want to change the topic.

I am most interested in how you turned back to the airport. To see why go here:

http://www.nar-associates.com/technical-flying/technical-flying.html#Turnback

I assume that because you say "I CRANKED it around..." that you did a teardrop
return to the airport and a downwind landing. Is that correct?

Approximately what bank angle did you use in the turn?

Approximately what speed did you use in the turn?

At what speed did you climbout after lift off?

Was the engine producing any power at all?

Did you pull the propeller back to coarse pitch?

Did the engine seize and the propeller stop?

What model aircraft?

What engine?

What was the approximate aircraft weight?

Was the aircraft equipped with vortex generators?

What ratings do you hold?

How many hours PIC do you have?

Have you had any aerobatic instruction? If so, how much?

Have you ever practiced this maneuver at altitude?

Any other comments that you think are useful.

Thanks in advance,

Dave Rogers
E33A

David F. Rogers, PhD, ATP
Professor of Aerospace Engineering
Annapolis, MD

Rogers Aerospace Engineering & Consulting
Annapolis, MD
Over 50 years of experience
www.nar-associates.com
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