Superior Air Parts has begun an “immediate and mandatory” buyback of its XP-382 and XP-400 aircraft engines manufactured for the sport aviation market because of detonation-induced damage for which a cause has not been determined.
After the Coppell, Texas-based company became aware that the XP-400 engine’s ignition timing was generating excessive internal stress, it paid owners to ship the engines back to the company for evaluation. When adjustments produced unsatisfactory results, the company decided to ground all XP-400 engines and XP-382 engines, which share many components, “to eliminate the possibility of any future occurrences.”
“The good news was the majority of the engines were absolutely clean, with no signs of stress wear or damage. The bad news is of the few we found with issues, neither our engineering team or our metallurgy specialists were able to define a consistent root cause of the issues.”
The grounding and buyback decision “does not include any XP-320 or XP-360 engines,” the company said.
In a telephone interview, Scott Hayes, Superior Air Parts vice president of sales and marketing, estimated that 120 engines were subject to the buyback, many of them purchased to power aircraft including some Van’s Aircraft models, Glasair Sportsman, and others.
Hayes said that when deciding how to handle the issue, he and Ross asked themselves what they would want as pilots in that scenario. “The best we could come up with was to refund the original purchase price and all associated freight,” he said. Superior Air Parts will also provide owners an allowance for engine removal and reinstallation, as “something to soften the blow.”
With the recreational flying season fast approaching, owners of aircraft affected by the engine buyback will have to look elsewhere for powerplant options, he said, noting that the company had no ready substitute and was “trying to come up with solutions to get people in the air as soon as possible.”
“Most everyone we talked to has been frustrated, however they appreciate the fact that we are willing to step up and make them as right as we can make them,” he said.