The Blown Valve

by Jack Hawkins

Contributed by Jack Hawkins, N3162K, San Bernardino, CA

When the engine blew, the little plane flew like a kite. Lots of glide.... In fact I had to lower the gear and flaps to get it down for I was spewing smoke and flame out of the exhaust... not a good thing in a wood and fabric aircraft... so I got it down in a hurry!!

The exhaust valve head in no. 3 broke off and went 90 degrees into the top of the piston, thereby blowing a 1 inch hole in it, sucking up fuel, air and oil then blowing it down into the intake, filling the other jugs with this mixture and causing a rather large load of smoke and fire to come out of the exhaust pipes, not to mention the smoke in the cockpit. Shut down was uneventful but it windmilled for what seemed an eternity... the whole time belching smoke and fire. It really ruined my whole day when I pulled the top plug on no. 3 and saw the electrodes all smashed to shit!!

That was in 1988 and it has been sitting in my hanger under the sheets since. I have pieces and parts of another engine as well as the original to overhaul the little engine. All it takes is time and money.. like most things.

August 1999