A PERFECT MARRIAGE

Today, it’s hard find a good marriage; even harder to find a perfect Marriage. But I found the perfect marriage as the engine in my Bonanza began to show signs of age and I began looking for options and shops.

I have been using Kalamazoo Aircraft for my routine work for the last 10 years and knew there was no doubt that they would do the engine removal. Ralph and Jim Michalka gave me some options and some shops to consider. I knew that any shop they recommended would perform extremely well.

After reviewing the options of new, factory remans, engine upgrade and engine overhaul I decided to go with over-hauling my existing first-run engine. I came to this decision by interviewing several shops and learning as much as I could about them. This took several weeks, numerous phone calls and e–mails.

The shop I chose was Powermaster Aircraft Engines of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Bill Cunninghum was extremely forthright in every call and every e-mail. He never dodged a question and made several helpful suggestions. We conversed the entire time he was overhauling my engine. Bill is an upstanding guy.

I elected to have the D’Shannon baffle kit installed on the aircraft. The kit was shipped to Tulsa where Bill and his people “dressed” the engine with part of the kit, and the fuselage portion was shipped with the engine when it was sent back to Kalamazoo. This seems to be a good way to do this installation. Each maintenance provider gets to affix the necessary parts to their work in the best way. I am happy with the way it turned out.

New Ram Cam, Millennium cylinders, Teflon hoses, Gamijectors and a Reiff preheater system were also installed. The good folks at kalamazoo Aircraft were busy finishing the annual inspection and installing a B&C standby alternator. My Beech unit had faded into the setting sun. That is a very nice unit and was highly endorsed by both Ralph and Jim. The install job with the new subpanel looks very nice and actually saved me about 11 pounds over the old unit with its associated wiring.

I went to Kalamazoo the Monday after Easter to do the test flights. It turned out to be the nicest day we’ve had here in Michigan for quite some time. Thirty minutes around the airport and down for a leak inspection and some minor tweaking. Next was a one hour, 45-minutes mini-cross country to put a little more time on the engine, then back in for another quick but thorough leak inspection.

“Fly Home” were the words I waited to hear. The airplane performed beautifully, the engine ran smoother and I seem to notice more speed. I’ll put more time on it as quickly as possible to finish the break–in process, but in the end I believe I will remain completely satisfied with the work I had done.

Would I go with Kalamazoo and Powermaster again? You bet! Perfect marriages like this are rare. (Kalamazooaircraft.com, 269-381-0790); (Powermasterengines.com, 918-299-0269)