Letter from Herbert Zimmers

Midwest Flyer – Aug/Sept 2016

Hi Dave!

We are having the same issue with our “mags” that you had last year while on your trip to Churchill, Manitoba – one of the most remote destinations in North America. Fortunately for you, you experienced your bad magneto before leaving the United States. And fortunately for me, we just returned from a long cross-country to Florida when our mechanic detected a similar problem during a routine oil change.

Our mechanic, Gary Bavuso of Gran-Aire, Inc. (Milwaukee Timmerman Airport) ran up the engine to warm the oil prior to draining it when the left mag failed completely. I had been having occasional trouble with it, but it always cleared with leaning. I also had trouble starting the engine at times, but never gave it a second thought once the engine started.

We just returned from Florida and I am certainly glad we were not stuck somewhere down south at some small airport without a good aircraft technician.

The mags had 450 hours on them and were due for overhaul this fall during the annual. After hearing that you were also under the recommended hours between overhaul, I am thinking that maybe the recommended overhaul time should be 400 hours instead of 500 hours!

Happy and safe flying!

Herbert Zimmers
Milwaukee, Wisconsin


Sorry you experienced problems with your magnetos prior to their time between overhaul, but good to hear I am not alone. Interesting is that while one brand of magnetos have had a reputation of being “better” than other brands, we’ve proven that failure can happen with all brands. I hope the “new and improved” mags we had installed on our Cessna 182 Skylane prove to be just that.

Fortunately, aircraft have two magnetos in the event one poops out, but none of us want to find ourselves in that position.

Dave Weiman
Midwest Flyer Magazine

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