Aircraft Magnetos » Aircraft Magnetos
An aircraft magneto is, most simply, an electrical generator that produces an alternating current using permanent magnets and coils. Aircraft engine spark plugs are fired by the high voltage produced by aircraft magnetos.
Aircraft magnetos are used for their simplicity and reliability. They are often found in pairs in piston aircraft engines, even though there is already usually an electrical supply in aircraft engines. This is because aircraft magneto ignition systems are more reliable than battery coil systems. They are also compact and operation requires no external electrical source.
Aircraft piston engines have two ignition systems that are independent from each other. This means that there are two spark plugs per cylinder and a left and right aircraft magneto. Each magneto fires one plug per cylinder, producing a smoother and more complete combustion of the fuel mixture. This also provides ignition redundancy should one of the aircraft magnetos fail.
Quality Aircraft Accessories stocks a wide variety of aircraft magnetos including dual magnetos, Bendix magnetos, and Slick magnetos. Browse their selection of aircraft magnetos here, or visit their resource page here.
New Slick Magneto
Bendix Dual Magneto
An aircraft magneto is a self contained ignition system that converts mechanical rotation into high voltage pulses that travel through the ignition harness and are used to fire spark plugs and thus creating the “spark” required to combust fuel.
Aircraft magnetos are not dependent on external power from the electrical system and therefore remain the preferred ignition system for aircraft engines.
The amount of energy (and thus spark) generated by an aircraft magneto is a function of 1. How strong is the magneto? and 2. How fast does it turn?
An aircraft magneto’s performance degredates over time. This can result in hard starts, misfires, and less than optimal engine performance.
Preventative maintenance of aircraft magnetos is recommended by both Continental Motors and Champion for their respective Bendix and Slick magnetos. The following maintenance schedule yields the best results.
100 hours- minor tune up and timing. This can be accomplished by your local mechanic.
500 hours- Magneto is disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and timed while the following high items are replaced: list?
Engine Overhaul- Continental Motors recommends overhaul of the magneto while champion Slick recommends replacement.
It is always a good idea to replace the aircraft engine harness and aircraft spark plugs in conjunction with the aircraft magneto overhaul/replacement to ensure the integrity of the engine ignition system.
Aircraft Magnetos- Did you know?
- Most aircraft magneto failures are due to a lack of maintenance.
- More than twice as many aircraft magnetos are returned to the factory due to incorrect installation than all of the other warranty claims combined.
- Aircraft magnetos must be overhauled after a lightening strike on the aircraft, a sudden engine stoppage, prop strike or immersion.