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Old 13th Nov 2014, 04:50   #1 (permalink)
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Jabiru engine failures

Looks like CASA think one too many Jabiru engines have failed.

Consultation draft released proposing restrictons on use of aircraft fitted with Jabiru engines. No pax, no solo students, no flight over populous areas. This could have a big effect on RAAus operations.

http://www.casa.gov.au/wcmswr/_asset...c-cd1425ss.pdf
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 05:11   #2 (permalink)
 
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Looks like CASA think one too many Jabiru engines have failed.
They have, however I doubt anyone at CASA and in particular in the sport office has even 10% of the engineering knowledge they need to asses the problem and "work a solution" through.

Give me 15 minutes with any of them and I can size them up.

Having said that the problem exists, and much of it I suspect is from maintainers either not knowing how to maintain them, and in RAAus land too many fiddlers who think they can make it better, and make it worse.



I am placing a bet that Jabiru will close voluntarily by end of the year or shortly there after, or they will go bust.

Nail in the coffin stuff here, even if they do not go ahead with the instrument.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 05:43   #3 (permalink)
 
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Nail in the coffin indeed. It will destroy Jabiru's export market totally and devalue any Jabiru powered product here to the point where some of us will fly our aircraft until the first sign of an engine problem, then scrap it. I had already arrived at that conclusion. Others may just scrap it anyway, rather than live with the risk - whether real or imagined. Flying schools using the Jabiru product will go the way of the dodo.

It would be interesting to compare the failure rate of Jabiru engines here with that in the USA where they have been quite popular with home builders of Sonex and the like. Then compare with VW, Corvair, Subaru etc both here and in the USA. It may be that our Yank allies actually know something about the care and feeding of engines that we could learn.

Last edited by Mach E Avelli; 13th Nov 2014 at 06:03.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 06:40   #4 (permalink)
 
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im not sure if its operator error, as jabiru claim on every occasion, as there are 3 main failure modes.
Rotax engines are maintained by the same type of people, but have varied failure modes, and a majority are not related to the engine itself, but the accessories such as ignition modules, carbys etc.

to me, an obvious serious failure mode such as the through bolt failures to me suggest a design flaw. but sadly, IMO, jabiru seam to have their heads in the sand when searching for a solution. with no feedback to operators on the cause of a failure.
I have spoken to engineers that maintain jabirus, and have had no issues right to TBO, and they have described the reasons behind the failures, and yet, nothing is done to address the issue, No SB, no changes to maintenance manuals, nothing.

I think CASA is being a bit harsh with these restrictions, but when has CASA ever done anything to help improve aviation..... it would rather see loss of livelihoods, the demise of a local aircraft manufacturer and a large number of schools than try to resolve the issue and to improve the industry...
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 06:52   #5 (permalink)
 
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Jab engines

So does anyone know what the various failure modes are that CASA refers to?
What is the actual failure rate per 10,000 hours for these engines?
How does this compare to the failure rate of Rotax ( both 2 and 4 stroke) ?
Other engines used in similar aircraft? We don't yet have good numbers on the new Lycoming O-233 or the Continental O-200D I think as they are too new.
How many pilots/passengers/students/innocents on the ground have been killed or injured by these failures?
Until CASA put some numbers to these questions we are dealing with mere conjecture and "feelings".
I wonder where CASA are going to get any engineering expertise to investigate this? They are merely paper shufflers.
Oh and if in the near future I see another manufacturer/importer advertising a suitable replacement I won't be the least bit surprised, however this could completely wipe out small aircraft manufacturing in Australia. Wonder how Brumby Aircraft are feeling right now?
Any bets on what it will cost them to re-engine the already certified Aircruiser? Bet it is more than it cost to certify the whole aircraft even in inflation adjusted dollars.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 07:52   #6 (permalink)
 
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CASA will probably go after Rotec radials next. Anything to kill Australian industry.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 08:02   #7 (permalink)
 
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Part of the problem is that it's been scandalously difficult to get hold of good statistics and decent accident reports. I've previously banged on about the failings of RAA in that regard and suggested that if RAA weren't going to do the job, CASA must. Even my amateur spreadsheet compiled from the published gobbets indicates a serious problem and, as others say, resolving the problems would have been preferable to the seismic event we now have. But the fact is that the elephant in the room has been clearly visible, and something had to give.

In the end, it's not CASA's job to design or re-work engines but I hope they do take the opportunity to publish what information they have. At least then it might be possible to have an evidence-based re-work program, although I doubt it'll come from Jabiru based on past responsiveness. Whatever the source of the fix(es), I hope that the new RAA order buys into it to help the many poor sods who'll be affected.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 08:04   #8 (permalink)
 
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Eyrie From the Raaus engine survey..
Quote:
Typical engine types included in the response consisted of about one third Jabirus, one third Rotax 4 strokes (912/914) and the remainder comprising Lycoming, a large number of Rotax 2 stroke engines along with auto engine conversions such as VW and Subaru.
Quote:
Interestingly, for ongoing discussions about the availability for MOGAS at airfields, over two thirds of respondents used MOGAS.

More than half the members completed their own maintenance and very encouragingly, the overwhelming majority of members adhered to the manufacturer maintenance schedule. Also encouraging was the vast majority of members reported completion of all Service Bulletins (SBs) and Airworthiness Directives (ADs) for the engine types.
And the failure part..
Quote:
Almost one fifth of members who responded had suffered an engine failure, which may have been a trigger and motivation for them to complete the survey. Of these engine failures, just over half were as the result of a mechanical failure.

To summarise these failures, the majority of mechanical failures for Jabiru engines related to piston/ring, exhaust valve and through bolt failures, while Rotax issues included sprag clutch issues, CDI or electronic ignition failures and gearbox problems. General failures relative to all types include a large number of fuel or carburettor related issues including a surprising number of fuel contamination issues, electrical failures of various types including charging issues, cooling system issues and propeller issues.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 08:11   #9 (permalink)
 
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Dont forget Jabiru sell a lot more engines to the USA, South Africa, and Europe... so, it might hurt, but wont be a killer..
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 08:14   #10 (permalink)
 
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Removed because when a thread gets merged……and the post that I was correcting is removed it makes me look like a higher spec dill than I am capable of doing myself! :-)


Last edited by Jabawocky; 13th Nov 2014 at 10:12.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 08:45   #11 (permalink)
 
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They are meeting with CASA tomorrow in Canberra at 11am with lawyers.

Brumby? The company manufacturing in China, that one?
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 09:04   #12 (permalink)
 
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they should be consulting with some decent engine engineers and solving the problem.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 09:37   #13 (permalink)
 
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Too late! CASA Only needs to delay and Jabiru is toast and with it any other possible Australian engine start ups.

The mere threat of rule making will destroy sales.

This of course begs the question, asked already by others, of exactly what statistical data CASA is using to justify its position. I would assume a rock solid statistical case that demonstrates beyond doubt that the Jabiru engines are unacceptably unreliable.

I assume this is based on ATSB data...."oh wait! Do they investigate Jabiru incidents?"."...or is this the same as Pel Air? Reach the conclusion then construct the data that justifies it?
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 10:20   #14 (permalink)
 
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Empirical observational would suggest there is a serious problem with the engine concerned.
Would I send my wife, son or daughter on a scenic flight in a Jabiru powered craft.............???

NO, NO ,NO!!! (wife maybe in 20 years time....)

Would I as a 15,000+ hour pilot who has flown gliders and all things aeronautical own or operate one of these things????

NO!!! Flying is The art of managing risk, not playing Russian Roulette.

Since time immemorial , "ya get wot ya pay for"

What is most concerning is not the CASA response, but the lack of endeavour from the manufacturer to address glaring issues with the product.

While I am not a fan of these goverment d--kheads, perhaps this is the kick in the arse needed to get the Jabiru horse in motion.

Last edited by illusion; 13th Nov 2014 at 20:03.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 10:30   #15 (permalink)
 
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Can't please some people. When CASA does nothing, they whinge, when CASA acts, they whinge.

It seems like the Jabiru engine is not particularly reliable. It also seems from other discussions on Jabiru's, that there is little to no help FROM Jabiru.

If Jabiru fixed the problem with the engines, instead of putting their head in the sand, then maybe they would not be in this situation now.

I'm glad CASA have acted....finally.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 11:39   #16 (permalink)
 
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It would be interesting to see the statistics this is based on, and where Jabiru actually ranks in risk against other aircraft.

More, or less engine failure related deaths per hour than the Piper Navajo?
More, or less engine failure related deaths per hour than the piston engine fleet average?
More, or less engine failure related deaths per hour than from Robinson fuel tanks?

Interesting too that this comes so close to the implementation of the RPL, where CASA are basically offering RAA pilots equivalent licenses to fly GA aircraft.

What percentage of the RAA fleet has Jabiru engines? What percentage of the training fleet? If half your schools go broke because they can't send students solo for 6 months, and half your pilots switch to GA because they can't take a passenger in their Jabiru, it must endanger RAA in general. In that case, the cost of this could run into the hundreds of millions in failed businesses and loss of aircraft value.

I hope CASA have the (statistically significant) evidence to back it up.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 11:49   #17 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewr View Post
Interesting too that this comes so close to the implementation of the RPL
I always thought the RPL was CAsA's Plan B, so that if they thought it was necessary (dodgy registration process, dodgy engines, dodgy training, dodgy whatever) they could shut RAAus down and shift everyone to GA RPL.

Looks like it might come to pass.

Bit of a puzzle though, the Jab engine - in our flying school the Jabs have done around 13,000 hours cumulative, and pretty much every engine has gone the full TBO despite all the crap that students can hand out. One engine failure over 7 years or so. And yet others the engine carks it after a few hundred hours.

Even so, would I buy one? Nope. Do I feel comfortable on a long flight? Not really.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 19:15   #18 (permalink)
 
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No doubt I will be corrected where wrong, but at face value seems to me CASA have acted responsibly and reasonably here. They are between a rock and a hard place; but they have not grounded the fleet and they are meeting and consulting with interested parties. I'd say that was a good thing and a positive move, when you consider the alternatives.

This appears to be one of those problems – similar to an intermittent fault – if the thing breaks, then the decision is easier, i.e. if all Jab donkeys quit, every time it's a no brainer. But it seems there are those engines which go to TBO and beyond and those which are much less obliging. Mach. E has provided a possible way forward and a good, potential bargaining chip:-
Quote:
It would be interesting to compare the failure rate of Jabiru engines here with that in the USA where they have been quite popular with home builders of Sonex and the like. Then compare with VW, Corvair, Subaru etc both here and in the USA. It may be that our Yank allies actually know something about the care and feeding of engines that we could learn.
And use....

CASA can't have the Jab fleet parked in paddocks and shopping malls around the country, but clearly they are prepared to discuss; and, by limiting the risks as they appear to have done, perhaps it's a sign. I reckon it's up to the manufacturer and perhaps the operators to show willing and prove to CASA that the product and operation can be made more reliable.

I can only hope this is the start of reformation and a non combative response from those affected can demonstrate that 'industry' is willing to cooperate in jointly achieving a sane, sensible solution – which would be a much better outcome.
Quote:
tecman - In the end, it's not CASA's job to design or re-work engines but I hope they do take the opportunity to publish what information they have. At least then it might be possible to have an evidence-based re-work program,
Just saying
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 21:07   #19 (permalink)
 
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Bit of a puzzle though, the Jab engine - in our flying school the Jabs have done around 13,000 hours cumulative, and pretty much every engine has gone the full TBO despite all the crap that students can hand out. One engine failure over 7 years or so. And yet others the engine carks it after a few hundred hours.
Indeed.

Bit of a puzzle though to understand it. I reckon I have half an idea about the various strengths and weaknesses both by design / manufacture and how they are operated/maintained.

The problem is I doubt the folk at CASA actually can comprehend it and work out what data means what. It will be a complex weave of data with hidden gems. Analysing the numbers (statistically) is one thing, but knowing how to weed out certain factors and weight them accordingly on this topic will be a headache.

Considering the number of movements and the number of recorded failures the failure rate is very low, but that is relying on accurate statistical data collection of course.

RAAus have published a response, part of it says this.
Quote:
CASA has not previously notified RA-Aus of their intended actions, however, we acknowledge the engine failures associated with Jabiru power plants. It would appear the proposed actions by CASA are disproportionate to the risks faced by owners and operators. Of more than 90,000 Jabiru movements recorded by RA-Aus in the year to date approximately 0.03% have resulted in some form of engine malfunction with no fatalities being attributable to these events.
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Old 13th Nov 2014, 21:33   #20 (permalink)
 
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Could be a case of CASA pushing ahead with confronting restrictions BECAUSE other methods to fix the problem dont exist within their regulation. God forbid they would look into this probelm.

Most Jabirus are LSA, only way to be used in training.
They have NO way to implement any modifications without manufacturer approval. There simply is no process for outside upgrades to be made and retain LSA status.
Basically no STC process.

There are aftermarket improvements available and more coming however many owners cannot today or ever use them unless Jabiru approve it.

Its a bigger issue than just this engine, what happens when Euro company closes? No way to keep it in training use

This ham fisted approach is attempting to force a company to accept others work, assuming its for sale, and take reponsibility for it.
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