Introduction to the M-14P


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Hydraulic Lock Article
V-530 Prop Blade Install & Settings
Centrifugal Advanced Magneto
Introduction to the M-14P

An Introduction to the M-14P for Flat-Engine Pilots
By Fred Abramson

If you learned to fly in Russia, most of what is in this article is probably second nature to you. But if you, like me, learned to fly in the good old U.S. of A., sitting behind horizontally opposed Lycomings and Continentals, the M14P may have some surprises in store for you. Expensive surprises. Maybe even scary surprises.

Now, lest anyone get the wrong impression, the M14P really is a wonderful engine. It’s strong, robust, and has a lot of character. It is, of course, basically the same kind of animal as the aforementioned flat engines. It just has a different growl, different needs, and its table manners are a little more messy. I believe that the M14P is just as reliable as our flat engines, too. It’s just a matter of knowing how to maintain and operate it.

So, how did I get my experience with this wonderful engine? Well, I purchased a Sukhoi 26 in 1993, and have put well over a thousand hours on it since then. I’ve learned lots of things from reading and talking with folks since 1993. I’ve learned some things more vividly from my direct experience. I wish people had told me about these things before I learned them. What do they say? “Experience is the thing you get the moment after you needed to have it.”

Also, it’s only fair to tell you that although I often get oil on my hands, and occasionally bust my knuckles, I’m not a mechanic. So this article is written from a pilot’s point of view. Nevertheless, a pilot who does know some things, thinks about them, and tries to learn more. The “thinking about things” part makes a difference. How many dumb things I’ve done when I really had the information in my head to do better, but just didn’t analyze the information enough. There are some common misconceptions, about hydraulic lock in particular, that I have fallen prey to, in cases where a little putting two and two together could have guided me better than conventional wisdom. Or maybe it was just the conventional wisdom of the people I had happened to talk to.

This article is not a systematic exposition on radial engines. Nor is it an operating manual for the M14P. Much of the discussion here will only make sense if you know something about radial engines already, and you have seen the innards of the M14P, or have at least seen some drawings. Serious disclaimer: If you try to operate your engine based only on what you read here, God help you.

An Introduction to the M-14P for Flat-Engine Pilots