This week at Double M Aviation we installed one of the newest technological advances for general aviation aircraft! This Piper Arrow is the proud new owner of an electronic ignition system (EIS).
Electroair is a company that focuses on electronic ignitions (EIS) for general aviation aircraft. For our readers that aren’t familiar with how general aviation airplane ignitions work, let me explain: “Airplanes have two magnetos, left and right, each of which fires one spark plug per cylinder, creating a redundant system that allows the engine to operate at full power independent of the engine-driven alternator. Each magneto features a permanent magnet on a rotor that spins in close proximity to a high-output coil of wire with two windings: a primary winding made of heavy copper wire and a secondary winding of fine wire with an exponentially higher number of turns. The magnetic flux lines that pass through the turns of the primary winding create what are called “magnetic flux linkages.” As the magnet moves, the number of magnetic flux linkages changes, creating voltage.” 1 (www.flyingmag.com)
In layman’s terms, the spark plug’s “spark” is controlled by the magnetos which are run by magnets.
Now that we know how magneto run airplanes work, lets see how an electronic ignition changes things. Electroair developed a EIS-41000 Lycoming 4cyl Electronic Ignition Kit that is a Direct Drive ( non-impulse coupled ) Magneto Replacement.
“This is a fully STC’d kit for most Lycoming 4cyl engines. Replacing one magneto with the EIS-41000 will typically improve fuel economy on average by 10-15% (many operators have reported consistent fuel savings of 1gph or greater). Additionally, there will be an improvement in horsepower, smoother engine operation, and improved high altitude performance. The EIS-41000 adjusts spark timing automatically by way of our MAP Sensor – timing is adjusted with altitude. Most parts on the EIS-41000 are not life limited (the MTH is recommended to be changed at overhaul of the engine; spark plug wires on a regular interval) – this combined with reduced spark plug fouling means lower maintenance costs. This kit can be used on either 12V or 24V systems.” 2 (www.electroair.net)
In our Piper Arrow project, the right magneto has been replaced with Electroair’s EIS. Each cylinder has two spark plugs; one controlled by the left magneto and the other by the EIS. As always in aviation, redundancy is the name of the game.
As a result, in the cockpit the right magneto switch has now been replaced by an “EIS switch”. The installation also replaces the traditional keyed ignition to a push button start.
It was a very exciting opportunity to take part of the new EIS technological advance of one of our customer’s Piper Arrow aircraft. We hope to continue updating more airplanes with the Electroair electronic ignition systems.