View Poll Results: Better Aircraft Engine for Alaska?

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  • Carburated

    6 50.00%
  • Fuel Injected

    6 50.00%
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Thread: Carburated or Fuel Injected Aircraft Engine for Alaska?

  1. #1
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Question Carburated or Fuel Injected Aircraft Engine for Alaska?

    If the exact same aircraft was available with engines of either type of fuel delivery system, which one would be better suited to flying in Alaska: carburated or fuel injected?

    Thanx, Dave
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  2. #2
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    It comes down to what you want to do with the aircraft.

    For Example, last winter I was looking at either P-Ponked C-180s or C-185s for floatplane work. I ended up with a Carbed C-180J that had been p-Ponked. But only because the C-185 owner became sick and delayed me looking over his plane. Thus the 180 deal started before-hand. It would have been a toss up either way.

    So let us look at the differences:
    O-520- Carbed engine: IO-520 injected engine:
    MAX HP.......@280.......................@300hp....
    Mx cont hp...@260.......................@285 hp
    MAX RPM......2700.......................2850......
    Booster pumps,,,NO....................Yes.....
    Hot Starts......no problem............no problem if you know what you are doing. Not so great for a novice.
    Dry Weight: @383 pounds.............@406 lbs
    Fuel Burn......13.5-17.5gph..........10.5 to 17.5 gph
    Questionable fuel:.No Problem..... could be a problem....

    The carbuerated O-520 cannot burn less fuel than the injected 520 because the fuel distribution is not even. An injected engine with TUNED GAMMI injectors runs evenly in all the cylinders and you can really reduce the fuel flow.
    Also the carbed 520 is susceptible to carb ice. The injected engine is not.

    The carbed 520 weighs less, is slightly more simple with no fuel boost pumps or header tanks, and it hot starts better and can swallow some crappy village gas that might goof up injector orifices.
    I can get home on village car gas. You really can't do that with an injected IO520. At least not for long with 100% village car gas.

    The injected engine provides more horse power at take-off and more HP in cruise.
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  3. #3
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Thanx for a very detailed answer, Float!

    I can understand the less-than-ideal village fuel situation.
    I'll have to determine how often I'll be buying fuel out in the bush, and compare that to injected fuel savings on every flight.

    Analogy: One of the reasons that my hunting rifle is a .30-'06, is because that caliber can be found just about anywhere.
    But, I've never run out of ammo on a hunt, yet. So, I could probably carry a more "modern" caliber with better performance.

    Besides carb icing, are there any operating advantages of either system in cold/hot or wet/dry weather ?

    Although slightly more complex, are injected engines more reliable than carburated engines?
    (I'm reminded of modern digital instruments -vs- older analog gauges.)

    I'll also have to compare TBO times between O & IO motors.

    Thanx again, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  4. #4
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Another thing to consider is the cost of your annual inspections, or in my case the cost of 100 hours inspections and annuals.
    There is at least one local IA who says he charges more for a 185 than a 180 because of the fuel system. My IA charges about the same for either. But it is something to think about.
    Since I operate on floats the hot start deal is a big thing. Drifting towards a one million dollar turbine Otter while trying to get the engine re-started can be pretty stressful. My carbed engine in the Warrior Queen fires right up in half a turn every time. If I have a rusty pilot doing a BFR, or an intro float-lesson client, that is a nice insurance policy.

    On the other hand, on cool misty mountain mornings with dew all over the plane, I can get carb ice while trying to taxi around for engine warm up. Plus I have had a few interesting carb ice incidents over the years while scud running in mountain passes. It really sucks when your rpm drops like a rock when you are only 100 ft above the rocks. You do not have that problem with the injected 185.
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  5. #5
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    When your battery is dead and you need to start it by hand propping, the injected engine will be hard to start. No big deal with the other, Manual prime and injector pump on the carb.

  6. #6
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    Interesting concept, Piper!

    I've heard of hand propping (it was explained as a survival technique) but, never had the need to try it, or even seen it done.

    How common is hand propping here in Alaska?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  7. #7
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Pipercub is correct as usual.
    When you jump out of your floatplane on a remote beach, and forget to turn off your master, all sorts of hilarity ensues. The radios, turn gyro and GPS gear will drain a battery while you are doing your thing in the bushes. Sometimes folks just forget. My 3 bladed prop is a pain to hand start, but a 2 blade is not bad.
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  8. #8
    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BluNosDav View Post
    Interesting concept, Piper!

    I've heard of hand propping (it was explained as a survival technique) but, never had the need to try it, or even seen it done.

    How common is hand propping here in Alaska?

    Thanx, Dave.
    Iíve had to do it three or four times in a Cub. I had some alternator issues for a bit, and being able to hand prop it kept me from spending a night in the field waiting for help.

  9. #9
    Member algonquin's Avatar
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    Airplanes are just machines, fly them broken or with bad/ weak batteries they will let you down. I don't write this to be righteous, I've done it and pull the prop until my fingers hurt like crazy. That doesn't change my liking fuel injection for the day in and out benefits it provides. Just my 2C

  10. #10
    Member akaviator's Avatar
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    I've hand propped an IO-520 (warm) with a three blade prop. Not fun. Would never have happened cold. It had a starter drive fail so had nothing to do with any poor maintenance, just one of those things.

    A carbed plane can be started without that battery when the engine is cold. That's a big plus in my book, I've been places where I was REALLY happy when the engine started.

  11. #11

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    This thread brings up another interesting topic. How many of you guys are using the jump start batteries like micro start?

  12. #12
    Member AK-HUNT's Avatar
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    Earth x jump pack goes everywhere in my 185. So if I eat a starter drive I may handprop. Otherwise non issue.

    To the original question- No question; injected. Owned O470-50s and IO520d/e. Just not the same.

  13. #13
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    That is very true. The O-520 (470+50) is NOT as zippy as a IO520. And never will be.
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  14. #14
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    For those pilots who are advocates of fuel-injection (or carburetors) please remember to vote in the poll at the top of this thread.

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  15. #15
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    Float pilot mentions how rusty pilot's can have a hard time hot starting an injected motor, but people don't always note how much better an injected motor starts cold. Now ideally, you always pre-heat in the 30s or even 40s and below, but in the event that you can't, the injected motor will start. The carb'd motor might, all that much colder than the 30s and it won't.
    Bring a battery pack (I like the antigravity XP-10) and it's a non-issue. Save fuel, no carb ice, better starts(even hot and especially flooded imo). I flew pa31s for a few years and you'll never take my injection. If you know what you're doing there's a way to always make them start.

  16. #16
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Save fuel, no carb ice, better starts(even hot and especially flooded imo).
    And injected does not catch on fire while trying a cold weather start on a remote lake. (done that)
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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  17. #17
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    I recently flew a couple of fuel-injected aircraft that had a manual primer in addition to an auxiliary fuel pump.
    (C172XP with IO-360-K & 2-bladed seaplane propeller, and A185F with IO-520-D & 3-bladed seaplane propeller)

    Would having dual priming systems enable easier hand-propping of a fuel-injected motor?

    Would have a longer seaplane propeller enable easier hand-propping of a fuel-injected motor?

    Would any of the above, cause someone to change their vote in favor of fuel-injection?

    Thanx, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  18. #18
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    Smaller cub sized plane-carburetor/ bigger plane-fuel injected.

  19. #19
    Member BluNosDav's Avatar
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    OK, final tie-breaker question:

    Most IO-motors produce an extra 10-15 horsepower over their O-motor breatheren. Is that a factor in your choice?

    Thanx for all the guidance, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  20. #20
    Member Float Pilot's Avatar
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    Partially in my case, as I prefer and voted for the injected. Plus the even fuel mix distribution and corresponding even cylinder temps.
    Floatplane,Tailwheel and Firearms Instructor- Dragonfly Aero
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