- Sep 17, 2008
Aviation is full of misconceptions. This may or may not be another one. I was a pilot for over 20 years before I was an aircraft mechanic, and when I took my training and got the required experience I found I had believed numerous aviation myths, passed around among pilots, that simply weren't true. Much of it was carried forward for decades, stuff that might have been true in 1925, and mistakenly applied to current engines, airframes and whatnot. That's where the common rant about "Lycosaurs" comes from. The current Lycomings and Continentals, even the carbureted and magnetoed versions, are not nearly the same thing as they were in the 1950s or 60s. They might look the same, but the metallurgy has changed a lot. Aircraft TBOs have been creeping up for a long time now, and some operators get 4000+ hours out of a 2000-hour TBO engine; operators like pipeline patrollers and fish spotters.....but my understanding is they are in no way an example of efficiency.
If I took all the plumbing and plastic off the engine of a new Chevy, I'd think that nothing has changed with that engine, either. Yet it's a different animal inside and lasts 300,000 miles instead of being a smoking, rattling wreck at 100,000 miles like they used to be when I was young.