I was in the Houston Texas area providing flight
training with Scott Worthington. Part of the training required a
night cross country flight in his Rotorway 162F. It was equipped
for night flight and over the past 20 hours it had performed flawlessly.
I donít usually do the night cross country flights in a Rotorway
helicopter but in Scottís case we could lift off from Sport Flyers
airpark and fly a few miles south over open farm land to interstate
10. The plan was to then fly the cross country over the median of
Interstate 10 were we would have good ground reference on this full
During the late afternoon prior to the night flight
we thoroughly checked the entire helicopter and found it in airworthy
condition. We then removed the valve covers and performed the 25
hour interval valve lash adjustments. We installed the covers and
tightened the cover bolts to the proper torque and then ran the
engine for about 5 minutes to check for leaks. None were found so
we fired up again and flew the airport traffic pattern and once
again shut down and checked for leaks around the valve cover gaskets.
The cork gaskets that come with the ship are only good for a couple
of cycles of removal and installation before they need replacement
so we were being extra cautious about checking them before this
planned night flight.
Once it was legally dark we fired up and lifted
off. We flew another airport traffic pattern and then headed south
for I-10. We had only tracked I-10 for about two or three minutes
when I thought I smelled a slight odor of oil smoke. I asked Scott
if he smelled anything and he thought that he did also. We immediately
turned back toward the airport and landed. Upon inspection we found
that oil was indeed leaking from the left valve cover and that the
cork gasket had torn. The distinctive odor of oil smoke gave us
the warning that we needed and enough time to safely land and get
I prefer the silicone gaskets over the cork ones
because they can be used numerous times without wearing out. If
you are planning on keeping the cork gaskets that came with the
engine then purchase an extra set or two from Rotorway.
. We installed a new gasket, went to dinner while
the adhesive set up, and then after checking it out for leaks we
finished our 3 hours of night flight training.
Below is a photo of the
Roller Rockers installed in My Rotorway Exec 152. Notice that by
this time I had converted to dual ignition and dual spark plugs.