500 Hour Mag Inspection – Night Flying

I have Slick Magnetos in my plane, which means that every 500 hours they are supposed to be sent out for inspection to replace anything that is worn out. From the log books I was at 530 hours on the mags, but I really wasn’t positive how many hours were…

Written by
Richard Brown
Published on
16 Aug 2017

I have Slick Magnetos in my plane, which means that every 500 hours they are supposed to be sent out for inspection to replace anything that is worn out. From the log books I was at 530 hours on the mags, but I really wasn’t positive how many hours were on them. The entry in the log book when they were put in as part of an engine tear-down after a prop strike 10 years ago just says “swapped out” but does not say if they had just been inspected at that point or not…

The mag checks during the pre-flight run-up were still fine, but when you are talking about what supplies the power to the spark plugs it is best to not push things too far. I talked to Procraft Aviation out at the airport and got a quote for having them removed, sent out to Aero Accesories at Van Nuys, an then reinstalled. It was a reasonable quote so the next week I taxied the plane over to their shop on a Wednesday and left it with them. They pulled the mags, shipped them out, and put my plane back in the hangar while they waited for them to come back. I got a call that the plane was done and back in the hangar the following Monday. Had I gotten the plane to them on Tuesday it would have been a two day turn around, ready on Thursday, that’s quick! As it was I wasn’t in a hurry as I would be hiking 11,503′ Mt San Gorgonio on Thursday and Friday with my son and the Scouts.

The first chance I had to get out to the airport was Wednesday after work. I wanted to make sure I was there and could take her up before it was dark. If something went wrong I wanted to make sure I could clearly see my off field options for putting the plane down.

I spent extra time looking over the plane and their work prior to putting the cowling back on. Then I spent extra time on the pre-flight inspection because someone else had been working on the plane and moving it around. Everything looked good so I pulled it out of the hangar, closed the hangar doors, climbed in, and started it up. The engine came to life and I taxied down to the fuel island. After fueling up I taxied down to the run-up area and went through an extended run-up. Again, everything checked out so I took the runway for the first of two trips around the pattern. The sun had just gone down but there was still plenty of light so I felt good knowing I could see possible landings sites if something went wrong.

After two trips around the pattern I felt good about everything so I took off for a round robin trip to Riverside and then Chino. It is still amazing at how quickly you can get from place to place when you are going 140-150 mph (I had backed off the power a little since they were just short hops) and when you don’t have any traffic, lights, or stop signs to slow you down… It was just over 10 minutes from taking off at Corona to landing at Riverside, another about 8 minutes from taking off at Riverside to landing in Chino, and then 7 minutes from taking off in Chino to landing back at Corona.

It was a lot of fun to just make some short little flights over the city lights. It was also fun to go back to Chino. After doing my initial PPL training there it is always fun to go back.

It seemed that I was off the ground a little faster than before the mags were done. Perhaps it is all in my head, but I am looking forward to taking a longer flight, getting up to 9,500-10,500′ and seeing what it does in cruise. It would be great to get another few mph out of it. 🙂

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