Since it’s blazing hot here on the Great Plains, I was excited to see the September issue when I opened the mailbox. It would be a nice excuse to stay inside and chill out. But when I got to the article “Down a Darkened Path” and started reading, I must say I was disappointed. As a Rotax mechanic I recognized immediately what the problem of overheating of the cylinder heads of the 914 was. The author has mistaken coolant temperature for cylinder head temperature and represented them to be one and the same. They are not. Per the Operations Manual for the 914, Edition 2, Rev 1, dated April 4, 2011, pages 2 to 4, maximum cylinder head temperature is 135 C (275 F), not 120 C (248 F). Second, the author claimed there is a higher temperature limit with a “special type” of coolant of 150 C (302 F). This, too, is erroneous (see same page as previously noted). The max cylinder head temp is the same for either.
Owner Happ says in the article that he never really had a problem, but he attributes that to non-linear temp sensors. In fact, he didn’t have a problem because he misread the specification.
Reader Girard is correct that the maximum CHT limit for the 914 is 135 C, and the limit for the 912S is 150 C. I did mention that overall coolant temp was lower than measured CHTs because of probe placement and proximity to the combustion chamber; they are not the same. However, George Happ did have a probe issue as evidenced by the large difference between total coolant temp and measured CHT before recalibration.
Remembering a Star
When I received my copy of KITPLANES this month [September 2011 issue], I viewed the cover through tearful eyes. Being 78 years old allows me to release my emotions without fear of ridicule.
I had just started working on my commercial pilot’s certificate, thanks to the GI Bill, after serving three years in the Army as a helicopter crew chief. It so happened that Lou Stolp was just finishing up his beautiful Starduster One at the time, and his hangar was just down the way from the flight school at Compton Airport, in Compton, California. I used to stop by every chance I could to watch this beautiful biplane take shape. It was then that I told myself, “One day I’m going to build that airplane.”
It was 20 years later that my dream came to fruition; however, by that time the Starduster Too had been born, which made it even more desirable. Now you could share the joys of flying this gorgeous biplane. I was a Pan Am pilot living in Phoenix when I started the project, and due to the ups and downs of the airline (no pun intended), I finished the airplane in Marietta, Georgia.
Everything that was written about the airplane in your magazine was spot on. I sold her many years ago, and just recently found out she is still flying with the original paint and engine, a 260-horsepower O-540 Lycoming, and was recently sold to someone in Argentina. If anyone is interested in learning more, I have written an autobiography, which is available at http://cubstoclippers.com.
Thanks for your time.
PAA Captain (Ret.)