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Questions tagged [piston-engine]

Piston (reciprocating) aircraft engines are internal combustion engines, similar to the type found in most automobiles. They are typically gasoline powered.

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3answers
3k views

Why are engines with carburetors hard to start in cold weather?

Why are engines with carburetors hard to start in cold weather? And why is there a different procedure for hot start scenarios, after you've just shut down the engine and want to power up again?
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Why does enriching the mixture ratio beyond stoichiometry give more power?

In other words, in a piston engine, the best-power mixture is richer than that producing the EGT peak that signals stoichiometric combustion. Why is that, physically?
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Are there any pressurized piston-engine aircraft?

Are there any pressurized piston engine-powered aircraft? Or does pressurization require a turboprop or jet?
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Why do most radial engines use an odd number of cylinders?

To help suppress vibration, most 'V' and 'horizontal' engines use an even number of cylinders as closely opposed as possible. Radial engines are well known for excessive vibration. For some reason ...
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2answers
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Where do the compressed gasses of a charged engine goes?

Good day to you here. I'm working on a modified version of 2-stroke engine. My plan is to use a supercharger for the scavenging process, instead of the conventional Crank case scavenging technique, ...
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5answers
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Why are two-stroke engines nearly unheard of in aviation?

Almost all aircraft piston engines are four-stroke engines, with one power stroke per piston every other crankshaft revolution and a great deal of intricate moving parts which are only too happy to ...
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3answers
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What is a biplane propeller and how efficient is it?

Lazair ultralight series II used biplane props to absorb more power from the engine....so my question is what really is a biplane propeller and are they efficient in comparison to a four bladed prop?
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2answers
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How can I decode Lycoming engine number?

How can I decode Lycoming engine number suffices? What does D3G mean in o-320-D3G or D2A in o-320-D2A? Is there any chart or tabel for decode suffixes?
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6answers
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What are some of the differences between piston engines used in aircraft and automobiles?

What are some of the differences between piston engines used in aircraft and automobiles? It seems aircraft engines are much more expensive, I imagine some of that cost must be due to the more ...
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9answers
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Why increase the number of cylinders in an engine instead of increasing their volume?

I've been reading about WW2 planes lately. Some of them have 12 or even more pistons in their engines. But if your goal is to increase power, why would you add more pistons instead of simply ...
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What are the durations of strokes and events in a 4-stroke engine?

I'm learning about engines, and I understand the basics of how a 4-stroke engine works, but I've seen lots of true or false questions such as "The power stroke is shorter than the intake stroke" or "...
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3answers
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Why are propeller engines uncommon on airliners?

My experience in aviation is essentially zero, but looking at Wikipedia it seems like the Tu-95 Bear offers high subsonic speed and extreme range. I assume that turboprop engines are more fuel ...
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Was there ever a fuel-injected Spitfire?

I couldn't find one but did it ever exist? Would adding fuel injection have improved combat effectiveness or fuel efficiency?
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1answer
160 views

Is there an actual rated thrust for a Cessna 172 engine at takeoff power?

I could approximate the thrust by knowing the weight of my aircraft and timing the acceleration to takeoff speed, but I think that would be a little dangerous of me as well as only an approximation ...
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2answers
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What causes a run-away propeller?

I've never understood this, why can't you just idle the engine and let it slow down?
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1answer
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What is the metal bit in the front of this propeller spinner?

What is that grey spirally bit in front of the propeller mounted on this Shvetsov ASh-62 radial engine?
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2answers
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Why does the lack of a magneto affect engine RPM?

So I don't have my pilots licence, but I was part of the Australian Air Force Cadets for nearly 8 years (wonderful organisation). During this time I went on a number of flights in Cessna 172's and ...
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Why/How does a “Powerflow” exhaust increase horsepower?

I've seen airplanes (typically Cessna 172s) with a "Powerflow" exhaust system and then claim to get several more horsepower, resulting in faster cruise speeds. How does a Powerflow exhaust work, and ...
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1answer
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Causes of High CHTs

I have a Long EZ with a Lycoming O-320 E2D. It had a complete top-end overhaul two years ago, in June 2017. All four cylinders were relined, and pistons and rings were replaced. Since then the ...
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Determining total engine life in relation to SMOH/SFOH

When evaluating the value of an aircraft, the total hours since major (or factory) overhaul (SFOH/SMOH) is an important indicator of price since it tells us how many hours the engine has operated ...
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Why does manifold pressure increase with power?

Whilst writing an answer to this question, I remembered something I don't really understand. The partial vacuum in the inlet manifold is caused by the piston descending with the inlet valve open ...
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6answers
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Why should some piston engines not be run lean of peak?

Leaving aside the claimed pros and cons of lean-of-peak (LOP) vs. rich-of-peak (ROP), the C172S Lycoming IO-360-L2A handbook I have says "Continuous operation at mixture settings lean of peak EGT is ...
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1answer
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Does the mixture and throttle setting affect the quality of priming of fuel prior to start?

This question is a generality. For airplanes with small reciprocating engines, does the mixture and throttle setting at the time of priming affect the quality of the priming or the engine start, or ...
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How do turbochargers aid engine performance as density altitude increases?

How do turbochargers improve engine performance at high altitudes / density altitudes? Could you also address how this benefit could become a liability at low density altitudes, for example when the ...
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2answers
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What is the difference between an engine “shut down”, “cut-off” and “cut down”?

Explain please for non-native speakers the difference between these engine (jet or piston) terms: shut down cut-off cut down I'm studying at a civil aviation university to become a pilot and a ...
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2answers
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How is crankcase ventilation handled in R-2800?

I just finished R-2800: P&W's Dependable Masterpiece and noticed there's no mention of a pump for crankcase ventilation. Is this handled by the oil scavenge pumps?
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1answer
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How do you lean mixture using only the instruments on a C172 Skyhawk?

POH manuals always tells to use the voice of the engine as a reference. (Which complicates things a little bit since carbs and fuel injected planes have different "reaction times" for each cylinder) ...
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How do I estimate piston aircraft fuel efficiency?

Is there any way to figure out or calculate fuel consumption of piston engines for aircraft? I'm looking at different engines in a book, and while jet engines have useful values like thrust, bypass ...
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2answers
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Why is the fuel pump in the startup procedure for a Cessna 172?

I thought fuel pumps were reserved for fuel injected planes in startups and during critical flight phases for all planes? However. There are some X-Plane flight tutorials that tells us to use fuel ...
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3answers
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How do carbureted and fuel injected engines compare in high altitude?

I couldn't find enough information on the internet for this topic. What I found can be paraphrased as: Carburetor means easy engine start while fuel injected means manual fuel start up and ...
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2answers
161 views

What modifications are required for automotive fuel STC?

What actual engine modifications are required to allow certificated piston engined general aviation aircraft to run automotive fuel under an FAA Supplemental Type Certificate (STC)?
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1answer
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Why do the Diamond DA-42 and DA-62 have a minimum fuel temperature requirement?

On the turbo diesel DA-42 and DA-62 aircraft there exists a minimum fuel temperature limitation where you may not start or operate the aircraft below that. Does anybody know why this is? It seems ...
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Why did the turbojet replace the piston engine?

Many people say that this was because aircraft powered by turbojet engines were faster during WWII. However the Grumman F7F-4N Tigercat, a fighter powered by a piston engine, flew at a maximum speed ...
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Why is water-contaminated fuel bad, but water-injection is not?

A "wet" takeoff of a KC-135 with J57 engines—By USAF Photographer (USAF photo) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Why is water-contaminated fuel bad, but water-injection is not? The way I ...
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Why are piston-engined aircraft generally exempted from U.S. flight recorder requirements?

Most, if not all, of the FAA’s requirements for carriage of flight recorders do not apply to piston-engined aircraft. For instance, 14 CFR 91.609(c)(1) (emphasis added): No person may operate a U....
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4answers
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Should I have carb heat on for landing in a C152?

There is quite a debate about this! I'm a student, have gone solo. My first instructor insists the carb heat goes off/COLD on the approach ('ready for go-around' if needs must! And to prevent dirty ...
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Why would the engine quit when turning on the R magneto after an overhaul?

I just finished overhauling a Lycoming O-360; it's currently on a stand, i.e. it's not in the aircraft. I replaced the capacitors and point gaps on both the L and R mags. I adjusted the E-gap and ...
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Is the Meredith effect utilized in the cowling design of air-cooled engines?

The P-51 is famous for its advanced-for-its-time aerodynamics, the prime example of which is the radiator design under the belly which utilizes the Meredith effect to, in effect, turn it into a mini ...
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0answers
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Do ARFF units need special equipment for responding to crashes or fires involving piston-engine aircraft?

Unlike jets and turboprops, which generally burn (relatively) benign jet fuel (usually a straight kerosene, occasionally with plain gasoline blended in as a freezing-point depressant), piston-engined ...
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2answers
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Why would a C150 tachometer be sluggish?

After having an issue with a tachometer bouncing so much that it fell off, I now have the opposite problem with the replacement (Mitchell D1-112-5025): The tachometer is sluggish. When I open the ...
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Why do piston engines in aircraft burn fuel at a higher rate than a comparable car engine?

I've never understood why piston powered plane engines burn such a large amount of fuel per time period than car engines. Can anyone elaborate on this? I know that a C172M will burn ~5-9+ gph at ...
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What is the blue range indicating on this manifold pressure gauge?

This is baffling me. Does anybody with experience with this type of indicator have any idea what the blue range of this gauge means? It's mounted in a mock-up panel. I know nothing about where it ...
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1answer
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Why does manifold pressure increase when you turn on carb heat?

So everyone knows that carb heat decreases engine performance. Yet when we check the heat during run-up, the manifold pressure increases. Why is that? Shouldn't adding carb heat cause the intake air ...
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2answers
247 views

Why would a cylinder not work below a certain RPM?

We have an IO 540 Lycoming engine, and cylinder #3 doesn't work below 1900 RPM (cold to the touch; EGT and CHT are zero; no vibration). The engine is new, what could be the cause(s)? We cannot ...
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1answer
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Why would one cylinder on a Continental O-200 run cold at idle?

I have a Luscombe with a Continental O-200 engine. The #4 cylinder is running cold at idle, does anyone have an idea why? The other three cylinders are running fine. Some extra information: The ...
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3answers
326 views

Why is carburetor heat unnecessary at full throttle?

Questions like How does aircraft design affect carburetor ice? show how carburetor mount point affects the relative passive heating of the carburetor by the engine, but I've never learned why full ...
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2answers
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How often should an engine be run, to stay mechanically sound?

It's winter time and many light aircraft are sitting idle. This can be detrimental to an engine's health. What is a good rule of thumb for how often a piston engine should be exercised, and for how ...
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Why would a C150 tachometer bounce so much that the needle fell off?

On a long flight in a C150E, the tachometer started bouncing a little bit and the severity of the bouncing gradually increased until it was extreme: The tachometer was spinning in loops and making a ...
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2answers
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What is the main reason of air-cooled radials producing much less HP/L compared to liquid cooled Vs?

Is it because of the inherent limitations of cooling the cylinder walls, only 2 valves per cylinder, relative ease of scaling up instead of dialing up the boost, or some other reason?
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1answer
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Are WWII turbochargers reliable?

How reliable are WWII turbochargers? Does adding them to an otherwise reliable engine, e.g. the P&W Double Wasp and the Allison, decreases the overall reliability of the engine? Are they well made ...