Rotax Engines by ProQuest


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                          Rotax Engines
                          Understanding and troubleshooting

      By James Careless           otax engines are a popular choice                     Vogel: The three most common trouble-
                                  for certified light and homebuilt air-             shooting items, in probable Pareto order, are
                                  craft, auto gyros, and military UAVs.              carburetion, kickbacks, and ignition. Please
                          Though you may not have encountered one                    understand, if these engines are properly
                          yet, chances are you will in the future.                   set up and maintained, problems are next to
                             So what sets the Rotax apart, and what                  non-existent. But if they do have problems,
                          do you need to know to troubleshoot it?                    these are the most commonly seen.
                          To answer these questions, AMT spoke
                          with Rotax expert Dean Vogel of the                          AMT: What symptoms do carburetion
                          Aero Technical Institute (ATI;                   problems present, and how do you diag-
                 Affiliated with                   nose them?
                          Lockwood Aviation in Sebring, FL, ATI                        Vogel: With carburetors, the symptoms
                          offers Rotax maintenance training courses.

                             AMT: First, tell us about the Rotax
                          engine. They are quite different from
                          a Lycoming or P&W, aren’t they?
                             Vogel: Yes. Rotax engines
                          have much more in common
                          with motorcycle engines
                          than they do with tradi-
                          tional aircraft engines.

                             AMT: What makes
                          them different?
                             Vogel: Well, Rotax engines
                          use liquid cooling to keep their
                          size and weight down. They have
                          five-piece crankshafts, rather than
                          the traditional one-piece forging used
                          in most aviation engines. And their oil
                          tank is located outside the engine proper;
                          allowing for a lubrication system that is
                          effective with a lower oil quantity and sig-
                          nificantly less weight. As well, Rotax engines
                          use motorcycle oil — aviation engine oils are
                          totally unsuitable — and automobile fuel.

                             AMT: Now that we understand how
                          different Rotax engines are, what are
                          the three most common troubleshooting
                          issues associated with them?

8   March 2009   Aircraft Maintenance Technology • •
                       Recip Technology

will be engine roughness, and it may or may not
be accompanied by a decrease in power. Once
in a w
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