Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Mexican Power Lever


When pilot’s get together, there are always stories shared and this is one of them. I’m not sure how true this is and would love to know if anyone knows the full details of the story. But I thought it was an entertaining story nonetheless.
There was a small piston plane charter company that operated into short grass strips in Mexico. It operated Cessna 206’s for a good number of years. As the company grew, the company had to expand and bought some Caravans.
After operating the aircraft for a few months, they started to get excessive engine temperature readings. The company contacted Cessna who analysed the trend data and decided that they had to do a hot section inspection of the engine. On disassembling the engine, they found the rotor blades to be in ruins and metal filings all over.
Cessna could not figure out what was happening to the engines, so they made the trip down to Mexico to see what the operation was like. They flew with the company into one of the strips and everything seemed normal, except when they had to take off from the short grass airstrip. On take-off the pilot proceeded to push the power lever all the way to the firewall and then when they were struggling to get off the ground, he took the EPL out of the gate.
When they landed, the engineers questioned the pilot and asked why he was the EPL, the pilot responded and said, “This is how we have always operated the aircraft, when we don’t have enough power on take-off, we use the EPL, the Extra Power Lever. That’s where the Emergency Power Lever got the nickname, the Mexican Power Lever.

If you would like more information on the proper use of the EPL go to this POH link on Caravan Nation and scroll to page 7-44 & 7-45.

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