In most situations, an imbalanced propeller is the reason for vibration and can be quickly resolved with a dynamic propeller balance. When the propeller isn’t the cause, however, finding the source of vibration is imperative.
A vibration analyzer that does a complete vibration analysis will help find the exact source. There are many possible sources of vibration.
The Symptoms and Causes of Vibration in Aircraft
Most pilots are completely unaware that they even have a vibration issue because they’ve grown so accustomed to the feel of the plane and the vibration that comes with it. There are many other signs of a vibration problem that should be looked for such as:
- A shaking or vibrating panel
- Periodic and seemingly random failure of instruments
- Fatigue cracks that continuously get bigger
- A compass that won’t give an accurate reading
- A rough range of RPM
- Tingling or numbness in the pilot’s extremities and appendages
All of these are symptoms of a high level of vibration and should be watched for consistently.
The causes of vibration can be from many things, and as stated before, it’s usually propeller or rotor imbalance. However, other common sources of vibration are:
- A bad cylinder
- An intake hose that’s loose or cracked
- An issue with the alternator
- Belt resonance
- Problems with the gearbox
- A spinner that’s oil-canning (wrinkling or buckling due to stress)
- Prop wash
The entire list of possible sources of vibration is far more extensive than what is noted here, which is the reason that vibration analysis can be difficult and expensive. It can essentially be a process of trial and error trying to figure out the exact cause based on speculation and exclusion. An experienced aircraft mechanic or service technician who is familiar with vibration analysis would be your best tool to use. Roughly 131,500 of them were employed in the United States in 2017, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Signs of vibration shouldn’t be ignored and should be addressed immediately.
For vibration balancing equipment or analyzers, contact ACES Systems today.