Airplane Owner Maintenance

A Maintenance Oriented Podcast For Airplane Owners

Month: May 2016

024 – A Bonanza Fuel System Story… Why Won’t My Engine Idle Properly?

Yesterday, I traveled to another airport to take a look at a Bonanza that had not flown in over a year due to an engine problem.  Specifically, it would not idle.

Continental fuel injected engines must be set up properly per SID 97-3G, in order to achieve optimal performance.

You can find this information here if you would like to take a look at it:

One problem with this engine was that the mixture control was not hitting the full rich stop at the fuel control on the engine.









Another problem, and perhaps the biggest reason it would not idle properly, was a huge induction leak, due to the induction coupling between cylinders 2 and 4 being installed beside the gap, rather than over the gap.









With this induction leak, the engine was too lean at low RPM to run properly.

After fixing these issues and adjusting the idle mixture, the engine idled very nicely.

Now, that Bonanza is ready for a fresh annual inspection, then a complete fuel system setup per SID 97-3G, and then it can go flying again!

A good place to have SID 97-3G performed is Tennessee Aircraft Services, Inc.  This shop is run by Paul New, a well known A&P / IA, who was selected in 2007 as the FAA Maintenance Technician of the Year.

Here is an excellent article that Paul wrote about the importance of Continental fuel system setup:

Take your airplane to a shop where they specialize in this procedure.  (They do a lot of them, have the proper equipment, and have a reputation for doing excellent work.)

In light of today’s episode, here are some things you can do as an airplane owner if you have any engine issues, or if you just want to confirm things are as they should be:

Remove cowling for access to engine controls.

1.  Check engine control rod end bolts… should not be able to rotate with fingers.

2.  Move all engine controls and verify they hit the stops at the engine when moved both directions.  Not familiar?  Get help and have someone point them out to you.

3.  Turn prop through in reverse direction of rotation and listen for any hissing sound, which could indicate an induction leak.

4.  Visually look for any induction system leaks or chafing areas.  

5.  If you suspect any issues with your Continental fuel system, take it to a reputable shop that has the proper equipment and experience for the task.

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Contact me with any questions or comments either here on the website or by email:  (my favorite way would be for you to leave me a voice message by clicking the button to the right.)


023 – My Aviation Maintenance Pet Peeves

Thanks to my wife, Maria, for joining us on the last episode!

Now, today she is back to ask me some questions about some of my pet peeves related to airplane maintenance.

Here is my pet peeve list that we talk about in this episode:

  1. When maintenance shops will not allow owner-assisted annual inspections.
  2. When airplane owners don’t want to fix things.
  3. When the airplane paperwork and maintenance records are a wreck.
  4. When pilots buy more airplane than they can handle or afford.
  5. When pilots and / or mechanics try to act like they know more than they do.
  6. When airplane owners make unfair judgments about maintenance procedures.
  7. When airplane owners get over-charged for maintenance.
  8. When airplane owners don’t do enough in-flight troubleshooting.

Well, there’s my list, and I hope it motivates you as an airplane owner to:

  1. Take part in an owner-assisted annual inspection.
  2. Fix known discrepancies as soon as possible.
  3. Organize your maintenance records.
  4. Only buy airplanes that you can keep well-maintained and fly often.
  5. Be a humble aviator.
  6. Be gracious when you don’t understand a maintenance procedure, and ask questions.
  7. Be willing to pay a good price for excellent maintenance.
  8. Check all systems regularly, in flight, and gather as much information as possible when something goes wrong.

Thanks for listening!

PLEASE… click that button to the right, and leave me a voice message if you have any questions or comments.

OR, send me an email at

Thanks for your help today Maria!

022 – Meet My Wife, Maria!

This week I’d like to introduce my wife, Maria.

It’s a great time to have her on the podcast, since we are celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary on May 18, 2016.









After we were married in 1991, we moved to Tennessee, where Maria worked as a home health nurse to put me through aviation school.  Thanks Maria!

She’s got some great stories from our time in Tennessee!

If you listen to today’s episode, you’ll hear a few of those.

Although Maria is not a big fan of flying, she does make a fantastic copilot!

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Maria has been a huge encourager for me in my aviation career… I couldn’t have done it without her!

Happy anniversary Maria!  I love you Baby!









Let me know how you liked today’s episode.   You can leave a comment at the top of this post, or leave a voice message with the button on the right, or send me an email at