Most pilots, when it's time to preflight the aircraft, open the cowl of the engine through the oil door, make sure the engine is looking good, check the fuel, and move on. However, there’s one more thing that should be looked at, and that’s the aircraft's engine mounts.
What Are Engine Mounts?
Engine mounts are unique frameworks that connect or fasten the engine and power plant accessories to the airframe and pylons. Pylons further connect the engine to the wing, and each pylon has two engine mounts, one forward and one aft.
They are spider web looking structures with a minimalist and simple welded design. They’re generally made of Chromoly tubular steel, which is a high strength, lightweight alloy capable of handling heavy loads required by the aircraft's engine and other accessories.
Engine mounts are attached to the aircraft's firewall through only a few bolts and are easily visible when the power plant parts and the engine are removed.
Functions Of Engine Mounts In Aircraft
Engine mounts form an integral part of the aircraft hardware and are the only structures that hold the engine and power plant parts and accessories in place. They are the most stressed part of the aircraft, and therefore, must be able to withstand high pressure and stress to keep the airplane flying phenomenally. A defective engine mount can have disastrous consequences.
Apart from holding the engine in place, engine mounts also transmit motor power to the airframes. Their other secondary functions include distributing the weight of the engine over the airframes and, at the same time spreading the torque and controlled vibrations from the engine to the plane.
They Require Regular Inspection
Engine mounts are regularly exposed to extremely high temperatures, with the temperature around the engine reaching up to 400 degrees Celsius in each flight. Along with these volatile temperature changes, they are also subjected to corrosive gases, corrosion due to stress and vibrations, load-bearing stressors, and chafing from cables and other moving parts of the engine or power plant. In addition to these stresses, the engine mount may itself become bent due to flight inflicted damage or unusual pressure.
To ensure the proper functioning of the engine mounts, they must be inspected and repaired regularly by a professional and an experienced aviation mechanic.
What Characteristics Should They Possess?
The average life of an engine mount is 20 to 30 years, and if it is properly designed, built, and regularly protected, it can last for even more decades. However, they’re not immortal and should be examined at least annually. They should immediately be inspected in the case of a heavy landing or a mishap.
Since engine mounts are subjected to enormous stresses, especially during the takeoff and landing, they must possess up-to-the-mark characteristics to keep the engine safe and running. Here are some features of a good engine mount.
- Engine mounts must maintain their high strength and power even at a temperature of up to 500 degrees Celsius.
- They must have high fracture-toughness to resist everyday stresses like corrosion and chaffing and any other unnatural stress, causing it to become bent and misaligned.
- They should have a life span of more than 25 years.
- Each mount is unique and is made from one of the three different material groups. The choice of material depends on the type of engine, temperature conditions, and the amount of weight the mount has to hold.
About Acorn Welding
Acorn Welding is Canada’s largest TCCA approved aircraft exhaust and engine mount company. At Acorn Welding we have hundreds of engine mounts in stock, and our highly professional and experienced aviation welding experts make sure your aircraft’s engine is mounted firmly. Visit our website or contact us today to get your aircraft's engine mount installed, inspected, and repaired.