The Value of Oil AnalysisWritten by Michael Leighton
As an airplane owner, you have a substantial investment in the engine of your aircraft. In some instances, the value of the engine (or engines) may exceed the value of the rest of the airframe.
Little in the way of maintenance on an aircraft engine could be considered inexpensive, especially when compared to their automotive counterparts. An oil change on an airplane will run all of a hundred bucks or more (if done properly) compared to about twenty bucks at your local automobile drive-thru oil change shop. It is for this reason that you should consider employing every tool and trick available to you to help you anticipate and hopefully preempt a major problem with your powerplant.
One very effective tool available to every aircraft owner is the spectral oil analysis. This process requires that an oil sample is vaporized and resulting emissions spectrally interpreted by a computer to determine the percentage of content of specific elements.
I won’t bore you with all of the techno-jargon but I’ll ask you to accept that this practice is in widespread use throughout commercial aviation, especially in the turbine world. Now while it sounds complicated, it is not. There is, however, a trick to getting useful information from the effort.