Spark plugs are an integral component of your aircraft’s engine. But like any component, there are going to be more and less effective spark plug options. You want to ensure whatever spark plugs you buy are going to be the most secure option out there. Aviation has quite a few complications surrounding it. Finding out about a problem in flight can be fatal.
Spark plugs should have a core center electrode that features high conductivity—copper is ideal for this purpose. But copper isn’t so fine a solution when it comes to ground electrodes; for that, nickel is preferable. A high alumina ceramic insulator is also notable. Your center electrode should be vacuum infused, and you want a top-tier glass center seal.
Because of the nature of the center seal, oftentimes this component will have a proprietary engineering which may differ from one manufacturer to the other.
You’re also going to want a hot-lock assembly for efficiency purposes. Additional features to look out for include a harness wire contact and nickel finish—though such finishing options as can be sourced will usually work fine.
An All-Inclusive Design
One spark plug design that features all these things comes from Tempest. According to AeroInStock.com, Tempest aircraft spark plugs are some of the most “…innovative spark plug(s) in the aviation industry.” These are designed to provide maximum functionality and trustworthiness for the longest time.
That said, it still makes sense to have backup spark plugs available in your flight bag. You may not need them for long intervals, or you may never come to need them at all; but you only need to get caught parked at the FBO of a small town for one weekend to understand the costs involved in not having the right parts available.
Additionally, should you encounter a spark plug issue that requires you to land at a destination unscheduled in your flight plan, you may find that the airport you come into doesn’t offer the best spark plugs in the industry. And if you’re stuck there on a weekend, you’ll get hit with even more expenses.
First you’ll have the cost of parking your aircraft at your unscheduled destination over the weekend—mechanics are not always going to be available. Then you’ll have the later cost of poor functionality predicating additional subsequent repairs. Finally, spark plug replacement—though somewhat complicated—isn’t so difficult it can’t be done by a skilled pilot in a pinch.
Having a few additional spark plugs available can make it so that you’re able to save several hundred dollars in an emergency without compromising the integrity of your engine, losing adverse amounts of time, or being subject to the deficiencies of subpar components.
The Bigger Picture
As air travel becomes an increasingly integral component of worldwide transit, innovations compound on one another in surprisingly expansive ways. The world’s first solar-powered aircraft recently took a trip around the globe, and it is just one of many exciting new developments in flight technology.
You may not be on the market for some of the newest tech out there, but innovations in engineering don’t merely pertain to new orders of aviation technology. Oftentimes they constitute a reconfiguring of existing elements to their maximum effectiveness.
It makes sense to do your homework and find components like spark plugs which are of the most advanced manufacture. This will usually increase engine life and dependability, maintaining both the safety and value of your aircraft.
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