Reiff Preheat Systems

Long Engine Life Starts With Reiff

NTSB/FAA accident reports

The following accident reports demonstrate that operating aircraft engines that have not been thoroughly preheated can be hazardous not just to your engine's health, but to YOUR health.  

A Comanche's engine was preheated about 25 minutes before takeoff in Crest Butte, Colorado.  Local temps were reported to be 2oF and the pilot let it run 10-15 minutes prior to applying take-off power.  He indicated all engine instruments appeared to be normal and "in the green".  The engine failed catastrophically just minutes into the flight.  Line personnel told investigators they had not been able to position the heating ducts to direct heat on the oil sump.

An Aztec departed Palwaukee airport in Wheeling, IL and lost power on BOTH engines within a few minutes after take off into IFR conditions.  The pilot told investigators he estimated the engines were preheated 35-45 minutes before startup, and in addition there was a 10-15 minute delay prior to takeoff during which the engines ran.  All the engine instruments were "in the green" and no problems of any kind were suspected prior.  Alarmingly, when the plane crashed a few minutes into the flight BOTH engines had broken connecting rods and gaping holes in their crankcases.  The temp at the time of the accident was -15oF.

A Bonanza with an otherwise good engine departed Jackson Hole, WY when OAT was -19oF.  It was preheated for over 30 minutes and the pilot allowed what he thought was adequate ground warm-up time.  He reported all engine instruments "in the green".  The engine failed catastrophically just minutes into the flight and the failure was attributed to lack of proper oil flow due to extremely low temps.

This is why Lycoming and Continental both mandate preheating at cold temperatures...

"WARNING - Failure to properly pre-heat a cold-soaked engine could result in oil congealing within the engine, oil hoses and oil cooler with subsequent loss of oil pressure, possible internal damage to the engine and subsequent engine failure." (from Continental IO-550 manual)

A typical quickie preheat from an FBO's preheater does NOT give an adequate preheat.  You need a preheater that will thoroughly heat the engine all the way through.

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Last updated 8/21/02