Dear Friends,

Please can you advise me where I can report the failure of my new 914UL engine to Rotax for investigation and possible compensation.

I bought a factory new 914UL engine in Sept 2017 though Kitfox. I registered it, and have followed all the factory procedures for it. It was installed professionally in my brand new Kitfox 7 and had done only 78 hours in total from new when it failed catastrophically on Saturday 29th September 2018 while flying in Nairobi, Kenya.

Following all my usual aircraft and engine checks including burping the engine and checking the oil level, I proceeded to taxi, warm up, did my runs and mag checks and then took off. Shortly afterwards, there was a reduction in the oil pressure from the green range to about 1.2 bar in the yellow range of my G3X EFIS that flashed up on my screen and I noticed a slight reduction in the engine power. EGT and CHT were still in the green as were water temp and oil temp. I therefore turned around and headed back to the airport. Sadly before reaching the strip, there was a loud bang, vibration, and then the prop stopped and black smoke began to fill the cabin. I was low level and my natural glide path was obstructed by 2 rows of high voltage power lines. I managed to put her down between the power lines but the ground was very rough and my aircraft was badly damaged. I broke my arm and my passenger sustained a concussion and multiple lacerations requiring hospitalisation. I am self employed and now unable to work for 8 weeks while my arm heals. But still I consider myself very lucky as no one was killed and we were not in a remote location when the engine failed.

The engineers from the Recreational Aviation Association of Kenya inspected the wreckage and engine and found a large hole in the crankcase over cylinder No 1. Inspection of the cylinder demonstrated severe overheating of the main bearing and con rod with melting of the con rod, leading to it unwinding from the crankshaft and breaking off inside the crankcase. All the other cylinders were normal in appearance with no evidence of over heating or scouring. The oil system, oil pump and oil hoses were all intact and there was oil in the cooler and tank. There was no oil splashing in the cowl or evidence of oil loss. The fuel system, turbo, and cooling system were also completely intact.

The engine oil filter has been submitted for professional analysis to Shell Oil Kenya. The results are awaited.

To my mind it seems that this is a manufacturing defect, and that this engine was doomed to failure? How can cylinder no 1 get so hot that the con rod melts and unwinds, and all the rest are fine? Why are only 2 cylinders in a bank of 4 monitored for CHT and EGT, when you only need the failure of 1 cylinder to kill the engine?

I enclose some photos for you of the cylinder taken by the engineer.

Please can someone from Rotax respond so we can look into this in more detail and work out what went wrong and why.

Thanks in advance and apologies for the mood of this email.

IMG-20180930-WA0013.jpg (You do not have access to download this file.)
IMG-20180930-WA0033.jpg (You do not have access to download this file.)
  • Re: 914UL Engine Failure

    by » 6 years ago

    You can use the CSIR link (which also can be found in the SUPPORT/BULLETINS menu above)

    In addition, you should also directly contact the ROTAX distributor for Africa.

    Kenya is serviced by:
    Comet Aviation Supplies
    Unit 20, Knightsgate Industrial Park,1 Jonas Road
    1401 Germiston
    South Africa
    Phone: 0027 11 825 0048
    Email: sales@cometaviationsupplies.co.za
    Website: www.aviation-engines.co.za

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