Michael Kobylik, president of Electroair, calls the increased performance from his company’s electronic ignition system the “wow effect.” The aircraft will have a keyless starter switch and the electronic ignition system could save eight-tenths of a gallon of fuel per hour with the O-320; make the engine run smoother and start easier, particularly on hot starts; and provide a “little pickup in power,” Kobylik said. The ignition system replaces one of the traditional magnetos and automatically adjusts the timing based on air pressure inside the cylinders’ combustion chambers so that the point of combustion will always occur in the sweet spot, anywhere between 10 and 17 degrees after top dead center, he explained.
“It’s technology that’s been used in the automobile industry over 35 years,” he said. In addition, Kobylik said the FAA has recognized that the system increases safety. By having a traditional magneto and the electronic magneto with dissimilar ignitions, they will never have the same failure mode. The system also will allow the idle of the carburetor to be lowered and keep the engine running, ideal for seaplane operations when pilots routinely run on one magneto on the water when approaching a dock as slowly as possible.
Reliability is another key factor for the Super Cub because of the remote locations and backcountry operations the model is known for handling. B&C Specialty Products’ BC400 alternator has been popular among Super Cub owners. Nathan Bainbridge, B&C Specialty Products vice president, said one of the company's alternators recently lasted 3,500 hours without any overhaul or repair on a Super Cub in Alaska. The belt-driven alternators usually last 2,000 hours, he said.
Electroair’s ignition system and B&C Specialty Products’ alternator save about 20 pounds on the Super Cub versus an OEM starter and generator, said Roger Meggers, who owns Baker, Montana-based Baker Air Service, which is leading the sweepstakes airplane’s restoration.
The F. Atlee Dodge Hot Rod muffler assembly, which removes the flame cones inside the muffler and features a larger tailpipe, and Knisley Welding’s free flow exhaust will work together to reduce the back pressure in the system, allowing exhaust to exit more easily and the engine to run at a higher rpm, Meggers said.
Whether hauling a heavy load out of the backcountry in the summer heat or operating on the water as a seaplane, the Super Cub’s hammer-tone gray baffling with black seals from Airforms Inc. will direct the air over the engine for cooling. The baffling will help keep cylinder head temperatures in range while also cooling the magnetos and other engine accessories to “lengthen the life,” said Steve Hunter, Airforms sales and marketing executive.
In the winter, engine preheating will be a cinch with the Tanis preheater, so there will be no excuse for not finding colder climates to go skiplane flying with the Sweepstakes Super Cub. The Tanis preheater is safe to plug in one hour before flight, overnight, between flights, or even to leave plugged in for extended periods of time. Tanis President and CEO Douglas Evink said the multipoint preheater, which is on multiple OEM type certificates and has a supplemental type certificate for the Lycoming O-320, always keeps the cylinder head temperatures above the oil temperature so that pilots don’t need to worry about condensation.
Oil changes will be easier for the sweepstakes winner with B&C Specialty Products’ oil filter adapter. By using the oil filter adapter instead of the traditional oil screen on the Super Cub, the time between oil changes can increase from 25 hours to 50 hours. The adapter is machined from a solid block of aluminum and features a machined passageway inside to allow oil to flow back into the engine, Bainbridge explained, making it easier—and less messy—to change the oil, and that’s always a plus.
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