When should you Overhaul an Aircraft’s Engine?

Do you own an aircraft that seems like it may have been around in the time of Orville and Wilbur Wright? If so, you could eventually face the age old dilemma of when and whether or not you should overhaul or repair its engine. Let’s take a quick look at this issue.

Repair vs. Overhaul.

Regulations clearly draw a distinction between what constitutes a repaired and an overhauled engine. The term “overhaul” as it relates to aircraft means the process of maintaining and restoring equipment, machines or systems to factory standards. Put simply, an overhaul is a maintenance function that must be conducted and the records completed to indicate specifically when it happened, why and by whom. Specially designated shops are the only ones that can overhaul an engine making it zero time. In fact, one of the key factors in deciding whether or not an engine should be repaired or overhauled is maintenance records. Here is an explanation of that and other indicators.

Indications that a Repair or Overhaul may be advised

Maintenance records: Aircraft’s maintenance logbooks should contain information on what procedures were performed on the aircraft in question. This key indicator of whether or not the aircraft that is getting a bit long in the tooth is shall we say is ready for a repair is not infallible, however.

Period of inactivity: An extended period of inactivity is detrimental to the health of an engine. It makes the engine vulnerable to corrosion which is harmful to the operation of the aircraft.

Time between overhauls (abbreviated as TBO): This is the manufacturer’s recommended number of running hours or calendar time before an aircraft engine or another component requires an overhaul. Despite what many people believe an aircraft that is beyond its TBO is not necessarily on the verge of a breakdown.

The life of an aircraft is not an easy one. The engine and metals inside it go through heating and cooling cycles and components degrade over time making it susceptible to anything from poor and inefficient performance to a catastrophic event. At CD Aviation Services, we provide aircraft APU service as well as TPE331 and TFE731 engine services. We even have comprehensive engine maintenance training that includes the TPE331.