Landsberg Advocates For GA Aircraft Engine Data Analysis

 - December 5, 2019, 12:20 PM
NTSB Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg spoke to the Wichita Aero Club at its December luncheon on Wednesday. (Photo: Jerry Siebenmark/AIN)

NTSB vice chairman Bruce Landsberg led a wide-ranging discussion that touched on a variety of topics including the dangers of pilots transporting marijuana-laced brownies and the ineffectiveness of Notams during a 45-minute-long presentation Wednesday at the Wichita Aero Club’s December luncheon. One topic that was of personal interest to Landsberg was a need to give greater attention to retrieving and analyzing data from reciprocating engines to prevent in-flight engine failures.

“We’re in the era of big data,” he said. “There’s all kinds of information out there that makes our job, if something bad happens, much easier to do. But I’d rather see us be a little more proactive on some things.”

Landsberg said that on his older model reciprocating airplane he has the oil analyzed each time it’s changed. And every 20 hours or so he downloads and checks the data he gets from his engine analyzer. He’s also a proponent of regular borescope inspections, which he maintained are “very easy to do” by removing a spark plug. “And then you can see the condition of your exhaust valves. And there is a pattern by which you can see them start to fail about 25 to 50 hours before really bad things happen.

“I think the manufacturers, both engine and airframe, could be doing more in this area of encouraging pilots to do that.”