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Engine Failure on Takeoff

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Incident Details

May 26, 2013
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Type of Incident

Fairly new engine – I was taking-off on a three wheeled trike, under full power, when suddenly the engine lost power and went to idle speed. I thought I might have momentarily hit the kill switch. I killed the engine and the wing overflew me. The loss of power occurred just before I went airborne. There were no injuries and no upset of the trike. On attempting to restart the engine it would not start and it did not feel like it had proper compression. We pulled the spark plug and cranked the engine and confirmed that the compression was way below specs. Removed the head and cylinder and found that the top cylinder ring was fully compressed and bound in place by carbon buildup. The second ring was partially stuck. We removed both rings and thoroughly cleaned the carbon from everything, put the rings back in place, and reassembled the motor. It started just fine and I went ahead with an hour long flight. Moral, carbon build up can be dangerous. I was very fortunate the engine did not die just after take off since an emergency landing would have meant a 180 degree turn and a down wind landing.

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