Benefits of Oil Analysis and Aircraft Engine


Trever Rossini is the owner of Inflight Pilot Training and Citadel Aircraft Maintenance at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

When a car engine malfunctions, the owner remains stranded on the roadside. However, when an aircraft engine fails, devastating consequences may occur.

Aircraft oil analysis is a vital procedure in maintenance. It’s a crucial tool in your bag of tricks that keep your aircraft engine running smoothly. Aircraft engines are known to be twitchy, thermally-sensitive, and their wearing rate depends on several factors, including:


  • Type of aircraft
  • Type of cylinders  
  • Mode of operation



The cost of engine repairs and maintenance is thousands of dollars. However, it ensures all engine parts whether new or used are working well together. That guarantee makes every moment of your flight enjoyable, relaxed and secure.

Taking a walk around your aircraft, filing flight plans and checking the weather is not enough. Are you ready for takeoff if you haven’t checked your engine oil?


What is Aircraft Oil Analysis?

Oil analysis is a laboratory testing program that enables engine technicians to determine an engine’s health condition. Aircraft oil is taken for the analysis to assess the engine’s current state.

We recommend a certified laboratory to conduct the tests on engine oil and its debris to detect potential mechanical challenges. They are authorized to alert you of urgent maintenance issues.


How is the Oil Analysis Done?

A skilled mechanic collects a sample of the engine’s oil. Usually, mechanics collect oil samples each time they need to replace an aircraft’s oil. They also do this shortly after an engine shuts down to compile a clear history of its wear and tear. The technician then cuts open the oil filter and inspects it thoroughly. They may decide to analyze it in a laboratory to detect large debris particles.


After collecting the oil sample, the technician sends it to a certified aviation maintenance firm for further analysis of the sample through Inductively Coupled Plasma Emission Spectroscopy (ICP).The ICP process involves itemizing and vaporizing debris particles present in oil through a plasma heater to determine its constituents.


What are some essential tests during Oil Analysis?

An analyst evaluates your engine’s oil sample to determine the extent of metal wear and the accumulation of abrasive dust. An analysis report includes aluminum, chrome, copper, iron, magnesium, nickel and silver which help in detecting the precise type of wear in an engine and its sources.

Aircraft oil analysis provides analytical demography and chip evaluation for ascertaining various metal constituents that wear out your engine. After performing the tests, the mechanic analyzes each piece individually and offers informed recommendations on how to maintain your aircraft.


Why is aircraft oil analysis beneficial?


1.    Collecting engine performance and operation information

Although aircraft engine oil analysis is an essential tool, it doesn’t eliminate the need to perform a careful inspection of the suction screen and an oil filter. Also, it enables a mechanic to have a clear understanding of how an engine operates by taking several oil samples. There are unique cutters that are appropriate for metal filters. They don’t add extra debris inside the engine. Alternatively, the technician can physically check the suction screen.

2.    An early warning system

Oil analysis acts as a warning system. It minimizes equipment downtime and maintenance costs. It also enables you to detect any malfunction before it worsens promptly. Oil analysis is vital in locating worn elements inside an aircraft’s engine.

3.    Assessing engine data trends

Monitoring your aircraft’s engine condition by performing regular analysis allows you to evaluate the engine’s data trends. Most engine bearings mainly comprise of iron thus making it the most common metal to display fundamental changes. It’s important to carefully track the iron content by monitoring its trends to detect gradual damage and wear in the engine’s gears and bearings.

4.    Keeps engine operating optimally throughout its lifespan

Oil analysis is necessary while monitoring your aircraft’s engine during its operational lifespan. A mechanic should combine it with suction screen and oil filter inspections to detect and solve any mechanical problems arising.

5.    Safeguards you financially

Timely oil analysis also aids in preventing expensive engine failures that could cost you an arm and a leg. Besides, such incidents can prevent you from purchasing and replacing your aircraft engines frequently.




Are you looking for state of the art engine maintenance for your aircraft? Citadel Aircraft Maintenance is a reliable aviation maintenance firm serving the Twin Cities, MN area. We have an experienced team of engineers and technicians who are ready to meet your needs 24/7. Visit our shop at the Flying Cloud Airport for a free consultation today!

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