Hillsboro’s fleet of 22 152s flies 24,000 flight hours a year. The conversion will save them more than $200,000 each year.
“We wanted to do our own analysis rather than being sold. Once we verified the data, the decision made itself.” Plummer noted the 152 units will pay for themselves, factoring in installation costs, in less than one year.
“We are working the numbers on the Piper Seminole now,” continued Plummer. “All of our Cessna 172 engines are overhauled by Ameritech. We have them add Electroair’s kit when they have the engine. Makes it real simple and cost effective.”
Plummer is waiting for Robinson R-22 approval. Hillsboro also operates 20 R-22s.
Zeke Valtz owns Providence, R.I., and Boston, Mass.-based Horizon Aviation. Horizon’s Twin Comanche served as the test bed for Electroair’s twin-engine STC. Valtz admits he’s a numbers geek, so tracking the before and after performance was both enjoyable and practical.
“Before installing the Electoair’s EI the Twin Comanche at 160 knots was burning 13.8 gph total,” says Valtz. “After, I’m about 12% more efficient.”
Valtz cited two gallons per hour saved at 75% power (153-154 mph) for a 10-13% reduction in fuel flow. The Twin Comanche sees about 250-300 hours of flight time each year, so 2 gph times $6 per gallon equals $12 saved per hour, or $2,400-$3,000 per year. He plans to add Electroair kits to Horizon Aviation’s 14 other aircraft as they sequence through future maintenance.
This is all well and good for fleet operators, but how does this play out for owner operators who fly 50 to 100, or less, hours per year? A $3,400 kit plus installation investment is going to take considerably longer to “pay back” in fuel savings. What are the other benefits?
Joe Ashment, an A&P from Stockton, Calif., operates a Lycoming IO-360-powered Beech Muskateer about 25-30 hours per year. He has about 20 hours on his Electroair system since install.
“It runs smoother,” says Ashment. “I’ve noticed 1 gph less fuel burn at my normal 2,450 rpm cruise. I’m the kind of pilot that runs rich of peak, so no different leaning techniques to skew my fuel burn, or performance numbers. I’ve also installed this system on a customer’s Mooney, and he has had similar results.”
Valtz also commented on the intangibles of the EI kit. The plane idles smoother, he enjoys a smoother ride at cruise RPM and notes cleaner spark plugs.
Mike Kobylik, Electoair’s owner, is working hard to build out the distribution network and increase the Approved Model List (AML). The 2013 goal is to see AML swell to 90+% of the four-cylinder GA fleet and kick six-cylinder engine STCs into high gear.
If your engine is coming up for overhaul, the Electroair EI is probably worth a look. More information is available at Electroair.net or 866-494-3002.