Month: April 2016

021 – Where on My Engine is That Oil Leak Coming From?

Engine Oil Leaks

In airplane maintenance, engine oil leaks are a common thing to deal with.

Today,  we talk about how to discover where the oil leaks are coming from,  and what may need to be done to fix them.

In today’s episode,  I mentioned some good friends, Bill and Colleen Whiteford.   To read the story of how Colleen went from learning to land the Cessna 310, to getting her private pilot certificate, go here to see the full article:

Although you may need help in fixing oil leaks, you as an airplane owner can do A LOT to help troubleshoot and discover where those leaks are coming from.

We also talked about installing improved fiberglass reinforced rocker cover gaskets on Continental engines.  Take a look at the CSO Beech post to read about them and find out where to get them:

CSO Beech link:

And, as mentioned in today’s show, here is the link for Aircraft Magneto Service:

Listen to today’s show to find some pitfalls to avoid, and some tips for troubleshooting those frustrating oil leaks.

Finally, if you have any noteworthy stories about fixing oil leaks, please send me a brief description of your experience… maybe your story will be useful for a future podcast, and it just might help one of your fellow aviators.

You can contact me by any of these 3 ways:

Click the button on the right side of the page.

Shoot me an email at

Use the comment button at the bottom of this post.


020 – Basic Landing Light and Nav Light Troubleshooting

April 15, 2016

As an airplane owner, have you ever tried to troubleshoot and fix a landing light or nav light yourself?

If not, why not give it a shot?  In most cases, the process is fairly simple.

Today, we talk about some simple steps to take when you have a landing light or nav light that’s not working.

And the good thing is, this is FAA approved “Preventive Maintenance!”

Nav lights are easily accessible.


Be careful not to drop the lens when removing that one little screw!



And this one has two lenses to be careful with and make sure they don’t fall when you take the screw out.







Here is a typical reading of what you should see when checking a ground circuit… this is direct continuity, with little to no resistance.  Notice the multimeter is set on the ohms setting.






Even this much resistance could indicate a problem… perhaps some corrosion or a loose connection.







This indicates not continuity,  and could indicate a broken wire.








To check for power (voltage) at a landing light or nav light (or any other component for that matter,) set the multimeter on the DC voltage setting (2 clicks to the left of the ohms setting… see the previous picture.)  Then turn the battery master switch on and turn the light switch on.  Then, this is what you should see if you have a 24 volt airplane.  (It may vary a little depending on the condition of your battery, and whether or not it is fully charged.)





And this is about what you should see if you have a 12 volt airplane.  (This one is a little low… preferably you will see at least 12 volts at the power terminal for a light.)





If this weeks topic has prompted any questions, please leave a comment or hit the button at the right and leave me a message.  Or as always, you can send me an email at




019 – Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Airplane Engines! …but Please, Take it Easy on Them!

April 1, 2016

When it comes to starting airplane engines, there are lots of opinions.  It might be worth taking a new look at your technique.

Whatever your procedure is, your engine should be treated with as much care as possible.

How about asking these 4 questions:

  1.  Why not try starting your airplane engine with the throttle all the way back?  It makes for a much gentler start.
  2.   Which looks more professional… a nice gentle and smooth start, or an abrupt start with an immediate roar to 1800 RPM?  That one’s easy!
  3. Will your engine run smoothly with the throttle all the way back?  It’s a good idea to check this occasionally.
  4. Does your engine need any idle adjustment to make it run properly?

In today’s episode, I talk about my favorite procedures for starting both a fuel injected engine, and a carbureted engine.

Here is the old, FAA training video that I mentioned in today’s podcast.  And for me, it’s one more reason why it’s a good idea to get in the habit of starting your airplane engine with the throttle all the way back, in the closed position.

In this case, if the throttle had been all the way back, this incident would likely have been avoided.

Last week, I mentioned finding an engine thru stud loose, and the cylinder base nut broken… well, it turns out the engine needs a tear-down inspection due to not knowing how long the engine was run like that and needing to verify no internal engine damage has happened.

Here is that engine: