Reynolds Aviation provides aerial patrols for pipelines, power lines or any asset that has federal, state, or local reporting requirements. When on patrol, Reynolds’ highly trained pilots provide security, take aerial photos, respond to emergencies and look for encroachments, leaks, pipeline threats, erosions and construction on right of way assets. Reynolds uses DynaVibe to help keep its fleet of Cessna 172s flying smoothly while lowering costs of maintenance and operation.
Dennis Barker, president of Reynolds Aviation, has experience with racing engines and therefore knows what damage vibrations can do to an airplane’s engine, its bearings and instruments: “Vibration can destroy those instruments, so balance is huge!”
Barker’s partner had previously used a helicopter balancing solution, giving him some frame of reference on the cost of a prop balancer. When the Aero Performance representative that serves Reynolds Aviation came calling to discuss DynaVibe, Barker expected a pitch for a much more expensive solution costing in the neighborhood of $10,000. Instead, he learned that he could purchase a DynaVibe Classic and own a dynamic propeller balancing system for less than $2,000, and did so.
Some of the airplanes in the Reynolds fleet were showing signs of fatigue caused by vibration: cracked baffling, new lights that would burn out or instruments that would fail. Barker knew that eliminating propeller imbalance would stop the damaging vibrations. “Some of the engines vibrated so badly that we couldn’t even read ‘Lycoming’ that was stamped on the engine. Now they’re really smooth.“
The prop imbalance on one airplane measured close to 1 Inches Per Second (IPS). Using DynaVibe, the Reynolds maintenance team was able to balance all the airplanes in the fleet to between .01 and .07 IPS. The Reynolds pilots often fly long days, spending hours in the air, so eliminating vibration from propeller imbalance not only reduces fatigue on the airplane, but on the pilots as well. “The pilots were thrilled with how the yoke feels after we balance an airplane,” Barker said. “They noticed a difference immediately.”
Barker is confident that using DynaVibe to keep the fleet in balance will also pay dividends in terms of maintenance and operational costs. “The big enemy of operations like ours is what it costs to keep planes in the air. Long term, we don’t fully know what the maintenance benefits are, but even cutting these costs by just 10 percent would pay for the DynaVibe system three times over.”
An unexpected bonus from using DynaVibe is the information provided by the photo tachometer, making it possible to determine how accurate the airplane tachometer is. “An incorrect tach reading can cause us to fly a plane at a cruise RPM that’s actually too high, which can damage the engine,” Barker concludes. “DynaVibe also tells us if the tach is off. It’s a phenomenal product.”
To learn about using DynaVibe to dynamically balance propellers and rotors, enter your email address below, visit the RPX Technologies website, or call: 405.896.0026.