Author: Dean Showalter (page 2 of 7)

060 – A Safety Wiring Video, Dual Mag Update, and a Listener Question

Here’s one of the recent videos I put on YouTube:

You can check out my YouTube channel here:

Be looking for more, and improved videos real soon.

In today’s podcast episode, I gave an evaluation of the safety wiring video, and some ideas about things I’d like to do differently next time.

Today’s episode also includes the rest of the dual magneto story from a couple weeks ago.

And finally, I got a listener question that I thought was worth answering on the show, so that’s in there as well.

Thank you Chris McGough, for the excellent question… it made me dig a little, and hopefully others will benefit from the information as well.

Here are some links from today’s episode:

The AvWeb article about safety wiring techniques:


An Airframe and powerplant Q and A:







059 – Don’t Let This Happen to Your Airplane’s Dual Magneto!

Yep, that’s a chunk that broke off this magneto’s mounting flange.  And as we talk about in today’s episode, when that mag fell out of the back of the engine, the airplane immediately became a glider.

So, are these “dual magnetos” a good idea, or a bad idea?  I’m sure there are lots of opinions, and I’ve got one too.  But don’t take my word for it… do your own research, and see what conclusion you arrive at.

Here’s the difference between the old style magneto attaching clamps in the bottom of these pictures, compared to the much better attaching clamps in the tops of the pictures.







In today’s podcast, we discuss 4 different stories related to this issue of “dual magnetos.”

The picture at the top of this post is the dual magneto from this Piper that had to land in a field back in 2008.  Thankfully, there was minimal damage, but a landing gear door was also damaged in addition to needing a magneto.  And since this particular airport had minimal maintenance facilities available, we ended up fixing everything outside… not the most ideal, but we got the job done!






Another story is of a Mooney I worked on and found the wrong gasket installed on the dual magneto, and the mounting nuts undertorqued.

And one more story of another Mooney, and the accident report from the dual magneto failure… thankfully, only minor injuries in that accident.

Finally, my most recent reminder of how critical it is to install dual magnetos correctly, is this Piper Lance.  Listen to the podcast to find out why this airplane would not develop full power, and the EGT’s were ridiculously high for such a low power setting.






So, if you have a dual magneto (2 mags in one case, driven by one gear,) here are some recommendations to consider, so that you can operate as safely and reliably as possible:

  1. Make sure the correct gasket is installed.  P/N LW-12681, a round gasket.  (Not an oblong gasket with holes, for mags that have flanges.)
  2. Be sure the correct attachment clamps are installed.  Take a look at the pictures for the old style clamps and new style… make sure you have the new style, P/N 66M19385.  They are easily identified by the oblong ends, that cover more surface area where they contact the magneto flange.
  3. Be sure the torque is proper.  Ask your mechanic what torque was used for the magneto attaching nuts.  Last time I checked, it was 204 inch pounds… I’ve found numerous mag attach nuts undertorqued.  By the way, if your mechanic gets offended when you ask this question, it might be time to go somewhere else.  I welcome this kind of question… after all, your safety and the safety of your passengers, depends on it!
  4. Be sure there is torque putty on the attaching nuts, and check it frequently, to look for any movement.  My favorite is Fluorescent yellow.
  5. Do the recommended 500 hour magneto inspections.  Make sure it’s done by a reputable shop… we either send mags out, or get an exchange one.  Don’t take chances with such a critical component.
  6. Consider modifying your engine to 2 single magnetos, especially at overhaul.
  7. For me personally, don’t buy an airplane with a dual magneto… just my opinion.
  8. Print and keep these 2 documents with your maintenance records, and hand them to your mechanic whenever you are having dual magneto maintenance done.

Lycoming Service Instruction 1308C:

Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin (SAIB) NE-08-26R2 :

And, one more article if you want to dig a little deeper and learn a little more about dual magnetos:

Finally, if you are interested in learning more about how CHT’s and EGT’s are related to mag timing, check out some of Mike Busch’s excellent articles at

Let me know what you think about today’s episode… whether you agree with me or not, I’d like to hear from you, so please contact me with your thoughts.


Or, leave a comment on this page, or even better yet, leave me a voice message by clicking the button over to the right.

And if you appreciate the podcast, please leave a rating and review over at iTunes.

Thanks, and have a great weekend!



058 – YouTube Update And Gear Down Lights

I want to update you on my video production journey, but first, I have some people to thank:

Don Sebastian – thanks for the voice message Don!

Victor Popiol – thanks for your comments on a recent episode… I appreciate that!

Ian Robb – Same for you… I appreciate your comments!

Elizabeth Gilbert – Thank you for your willingness to have your airplane featured in my first YouTube video… I’m deeply grateful!

Here’s the video:

Please, send me any feedback on the video… I WANT TO HEAR EVERYTHING YOU HAVE TO SAY.

And, if you would like a specific question answered in a future video, please send me those ideas as well.  Thanks!

Also, in this episode, we talk about an issue that sometimes happens in retractable gear airplanes, that makes the gear down indicator light, slow to illuminate after the gear is down.  AND, one possible solution for this issue.

In the next episode, I’m going to talk about DUAL MAGNETOS, why I’m not a fan, and some things you can do if you have one.

Have a great week!

057 – Don’t Let Your Airplane Become a Bird Hotel!

It’s that time of the year, when the birds are actively looking for great places to build their nests.  Airplane engine cowlings seem to be one of their favorites.

Thanks, Elizabeth, for providing a great example of cowling plugs!

Cowling plugs, like you see in this Cessna 150, are a very worthwhile investment.  You might also consider options for covering the pitot tube, fuel vents, and other openings that might invite unwelcomed critters to take up residence.

A few simple proactive measures can make a monumental difference… trust me, you don’t want to clean a bird nest out of your engine cylinders  if you can help it.

Listen today, and hear a story about a recent airplane I worked on, that the birds seemed to really love.

Have a great week everyone!

P.S.  Just make sure the items you are using to cover items on your airplane, are marked in some conspicuous way, so you will be sure to remove them before you fly!













056 – An Airplane That Went From Idaho to Florida to Virginia and Back to Florida

First of all today, thanks to Mike Busch with Savvy Aviation, and to Bret Chilcott with AgEagle, for two great interviews on the last two episodes.  I appreciate the opportunity to talk with both of them, and look forward to more guests on the show in the near future.

In today’s show, I’m sharing with you a recent experience I had working with some great guys, (3 generations!) on a Mooney M20 J.

That’s Larry on the left, then his grandson Ben, then his son Clark, and me on the right.  It was great working with these guys!

One thing we did, was change the landing gear shock discs.

The mains are pretty simple, but the nosegear takes a special tool.  The tool we used needed a modification to make it work properly, and Clark’s uncle, Lynn, was the right man for the job, since he’s a machinist.  He made us some bushings so we could space those bars on the outside of the gear legs to make room for the new shock discs.





Also, check out this incredible wedding reception my family attended recently in Florida!  We had no idea it was going to be at an airport!

What a cool place for a wedding reception!  The brother of the bride runs the maintenance shop at X58 at Indiantown, Florida, and he surprised everyone by flying the bride and groom into this grass strip in his Piper Comanche.







If you have an airplane anywhere near Indiantown, I highly recommend you contact Charles Stence.  You can check out his services at

Thanks everyone… see you in the next episode!

055 – Bret Chilcott, His 1947 Stinson, and His Company, AgEagle

Today, I’m thrilled to introduce to you someone who has an incredible life-story of the convergence of different aspects of aviation, from model airplanes, to a 1947 Stinson, and a cutting edge drone that takes aerial surveys of crop fields.  Listen to today’s episode to hear about how all this happened.

This gentleman has become a good friend of mine through the podcast, and through email.

Welcome, Mr. Bret Chilcott!

One of Bret’s earliest aviation memories is building model airplanes at his parents’ hobby store.

Now, Bret owns a 1947 Stinson that he loves to fly with his wife and anyone else he gets a chance to take for a ride.

Bret is the founder and CEO of a company called AgEagle, that uses a cutting edge, uniquely designed, computer operated drone, to fly over farm fields and survey the crops for any necessary treatments.  It’s a very fascinating concept!

If you know of a farmer who might need this service, be sure to have them contact Bret.  (His contact information is at the bottom of this page.)

Here are some pictures and videos of some of Bret’s flying, and also some links for Stinson owners:


Bret Chilcott
117 S. 4th Street
Neodesha, KS
General office:  620-325-6363 X177
Direct office:  (620) 625-4622
Skype:  bret.chilcott
Google Hangouts:

Thank you Bret, for taking the time to talk with me, and share your story with the Airplane Owner Maintenance community!

054 – A Very Special Guest… The “Savvy Aviator”

Welcome to the first interview on the Airplane Owner Maintenance Podcast!

Today’s guest is the “Savvy Aviator,” Mr. Mike Busch.

Thank you Mike, for taking the time to talk with us today!

Mike has 50 years of aviation experience, and has done all kinds of fascinating things in his career.  Listen today, for just a sample of some of those experiences.

Interesting quote from Mike:  “Borescopes never lie; compression tests lie all the time.”

Here’s a classic case of a time when the compression test lied, but the borescope did not:

Figure 3 in that article is a picture I sent to Mike years ago, and the compression test indicated above 60/80!  But the valve was obviously burning.

Connect with Mike and his services: – Main SavvyAviation website – Place to find all my articles, webinars, book, and lots more – SavvyAnalysis engine monitor data analysis platform (free!) – My Patreon page where folks can sign up as patrons of my writing – Link to my book “Manifesto” on Amazon

Read Mike’s Bio Here:

Check out the borescope Mike recommends:

This one is $199.98 on Amazon:

Vividia Ablescope VA-400 USB Rigid Borescope Endoscope with 180 Degree Articulating 8.5mm Diameter Probe


The following one is $289.98 on Amazon, and apparently includes equipment to use with iPad, iPhone, etc.

Thanks, Mike, for all you’re doing for general aviation!



053 – Things That Frustrate Airplane Owners About Maintenance

As an airplane owner, have you ever been frustrated by maintenance issues?  If so, listen to today’s episode.

If you’re an airplane owner, I bet you’ve had at least one or two very frustrating maintenance situations with your airplane… Today, we’re going to talk about some of these potential frustrations, and some ways to prevent, or at least minimize them.

Thank you, Kevin Greene, for leaving a rating and review for the podcast.  That really means a lot to me, coming from a fellow A&P / IA!

If any of you want to check out the company Kevin works for, you can find it at:

In today’s episode, we have voice messages from the following people:

Tom Martin:

Tom has become a great friend and encourager of the podcast… thanks Tom!

Bret Chilcott:

Bret is another great friend and encourager, AND he has agreed to having an interview with me for a future episode.  I look forward to sharing his story with you soon!  Be looking for that some time in the next month or so.

Nick Tarascio:

Nick is the CEO of Ventura Air Services in Farmingdale, New York.  He left me a message that led to a phone call, and a very interesting conversation.  Thanks Nick, for prompting me to think about today’s topic!

You can learn more about Nick and his company here:


At the end of today’s episode, I read an article that Nick wrote some years ago, that I thought was excellent.  Here is that article from May 12, 2015 that appeared in Business Insider:

So, after talking about things that frustrate airplane owners about maintenance, here are some recommendations:

  1. Be proactive so you are not surprised by maintenance bills.
  2. Establish healthy communication with your maintenance people.
  3. Don’t be abrasive and hard to get along with!
  4. Don’t settle for poor maintenance!  Expect excellence!
  5. If you’re buying an airplane, talk with Don Sebastian and Adam Sipe, the “Prebuy Guys.”

You can find them here:

And be sure to listen to their podcast:

Airplane Intel Podcast.

Thanks so much, to everyone who contributed in some way to this episode… I appreciate it so much!

Hey, if you’re reading this, could you do me a quick favor?  Click that tab over there on the right side of this page, and leave me a brief message.  I’d love to know a little more about you and what you’re doing in aviation out there!  Thanks!

One Last Thing:

This is not so much about aviation, but I have to share it with you guys.  I received my pre-ordered copy of a new book by Andy Andrews this past week, and it is a phenomenal book.  Whether you’re in aviation, business, sales, nonprofit work, ministry, education, government, or anything else, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!  It’s called:

“The Little Things”

…Why You Really Should Sweat The Small Stuff

This book is packed full of out-of-the-ordinary ideas like, “How to compete in areas where most people don’t even know there’s a game going on.”

Thanks everyone, and I’ll be back with you on the next episode.

052 – The Post Flight Inspection

Have you ever had to cancel a flight because of an issue you wish you had noticed earlier?

 Listen to today’s episode for some ideas on how you can minimize the surprises when you go flying.


Here are a few other items in this episode:

  • Follow up to the recent episode about the Piper Cherokee charging system.
  • Main topic:  The Post Flight Inspection.
  • A very special announcement about an upcoming guest on the show.
  • A new segment I want to try for the show:  Interesting and Startling.
  • Some very nice people, and a great resource!
  • A gift for you that you might not be aware of…

Here are the old voltage regulator and overvoltage relay from the Piper Cherokee:










These two components were removed, and a new style voltage regulator was installed, one that has the over voltage protection built in.  Here is the new one, made by Plane Power:










Now for The Post Flight Inspection:

Listen in today, for some ideas about developing a specific “Post Flight Inspection” procedure for your specific airplane.

Also, find out about the jet we developed a post flight inspection for, years ago.

Special Announcement

I have an interview scheduled for later this month, for a future episode… listen today, to find out who that is… I think you will want to be sure to listen to that interview when it is published, probably later in March, or sometime in April.

Here’s a hint:  This guest was suggested by Joe Godfrey, who is the Director of Operations at Savvy Analysis, the amazing engine monitoring platform, for evaluating the operation of your engine in a graphic presentation.

Check it out at

Thanks Joe, for that recommendation!

Interesting and Startling!

Here’s the airplane that prompted this idea:  (It’s a really nice Piper Matrix.)









And here’s the note in the maintenance manual that got my attention:

“Warning:  Do not put fingers in holes of extended speed brake blades.  If power to the system is interrupted, the speed brake blades will close with sufficient force to amputate fingers.”

And here’s a video to show why this warning is there… in normal operation, the speedbrakes retract with normal speed, but if the circuit breaker is pulled, or the aircraft master switch is turned off, here is what happens:

Wow!  How about that for a startling video?!  I’m not sticking my fingers in there!

I’ll keep an eye out for more interesting and startling things to share with you. 

And, if you have something that might fit this category, please send it to me! or leave me a message here on the website.  Thanks!


Be sure to check out April and Reuben Zook, with the AD Toolbox.

Their website is  

They are exceptionally nice people, and this is a fantastic resource for doing AD research.


Finally, be sure to grab your copy of my free checklist for before and after your annual inspection… all you have to do is enter your first name and email, and I’ll send it right out to you.


As a result of today’s episode, I hope you will develop  your own personal post flight inspection procedure for your airplane, laminate it, and use it after your flights, so you can be better prepared for your next flight.

051 – Airplanes and Backup Systems – Are You Prepared?

Your airplane probably has some backup systems.

The question is, are you familiar with them, so that you can quickly use them in an emergency?

In today’s podcast, we are talking about backup systems, and how important it is to practice with them BEFORE you need them, so that when that out-of-the-ordinary situation arises, you will be prepared.

Here’s a Diamond DA-40 instrument panel with the G-1000 system in it.  So it has a backup battery that will operate the standby attitude indicator in the event of total electrical system failure.  However, that little red switch is safetied with copper wire.  So here’s an idea:  when you know the standby battery is due for replacement, right before you have that battery replaced, why not flip that switch, and get familiar with what happens…  then you can have the work done, and your A&P can resafety that switch with copper wire.  It’s just good to be familiar with all these backup systems BEFORE they are needed.







You can listen to today’s episode for a lot more information, but here are a few recommendations when it comes to the backup systems in your airplane:

  1. Don’t wait for an emergency to check your backup systems!
  2. Make yourself a checklist of the backup systems in your airplane.
  3. Develop a plan to regularly review this checklist, so you can stay current and familiar with the operation of each system.  (every 2 years at your flight review is probably not enough!)
  4. Plan a time soon, to do a ground run and test flight, for the specific purpose of checking the standby and backup systems.  It might be a good idea to take a safety pilot along!
  5. Develop a mindset of being prepared to use the backup systems, even though they are usually not needed.

AND, if you listen in today, you will find out what happened not long ago, that prompted me to record this episode!

Take care my friends, and have a wonderful week!


Older posts Newer posts