Flying past TBO- ins company won’t pay?

Anyone have any REAL WORLD experience with an insurance company refusing to pay for an incident/accident because the engine was flown past TBO?

im 20 hours past TBO in my Arrow and the engine is performing flawlessly. Low CHT’s, no metal, 50 hour oil analysis, and 1 qt of oil usage every 3 or 4 hours. ( normal rate)

Also- opinions again please on HOW long is TOO long to fly my i0360 safely- even with good indications in all of the above areas?

yes, I realize it’s all about each persons comfort level. But I’m still curious what YOU think.😊

Thanks All Scott N9091Y


  • Read your ins binder cover to cover. That’s the only benchmark worth anything.

    I own and fly a 79 PA32RT-300T. Previous aircraft are a 79 Archer and 76 Arrow.

  • Scott;

    +100 to Unit74, he absolutely nailed it.

    I'll cut right to the chase. If something bad happens to you and/or your airplane, and you wind up in court, 2 things will be enforced:

    1. the FAA rules.
    2. the policy you signed.

    Advice you've received in on-line forums like this one (no matter how good) are considered heresay.

    Sorry, but those are the rules. Read your policy carefully.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Scott;

    From a math perspective, consider this; your Arrow cruises around 137 KTS (from the Piper website). Your engine TBO is 1,800 hours. At 1,800 hrs, your plane has covered well over a quarter million miles (280,000+). Most people would be ecstatic to have a car engine go that distance. That engine doesn't owe you anything.

    The engineers spec'ed a TBO of 1,800 hrs on your engine for a reason. You can push it if you like, but what do you expect to gain? You may put off engine rebuild/overhaul a couple hundred hours, but you're still going to face it sooner or later. I've never seen rebuild/overhaul prices go down, so I don't see a big upside, but I see a lot of risk.

    My opinion: have the rebuild/overhaul done.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Time to start saving.😊

  • edited August 2022

    Scott N9091Y et al;

    To be clear, I have nothing against going beyond TBO. I've done it with 2 engines, the last one was 14 years ago. Back then I didn't read my insurance policy regarding going beyond TBO, but I have since, and I'll address that below.

    I ran my old engine (2,000 hr TBO) to 2,200+ hrs. Much like your engine, compressions were still good, oil and fuel consumption were normal, etc. At some point, anyone who's pushed their engine past TBO, begins to wonder how long they can continue, and I was not immune. My inner voice began to ask why was I pushing, especially since I already had a brand new Lycoming replacement engine in a crate. If you're running past TBO just to brag that you went to 2,200+ hrs, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Can our engines safely go past TBO? Absolutely, they do every day. Do some fail long before TBO? Yes, absolutely. It's a matter of maintenance and a bit it of luck.

    I searched, but couldn't find anything in my insurance policy that stated they would not cover an "occurrence" if my engine was past TBO. Your policy may differ. My policy DID state that whether owned, rented, or borrowed, any aircraft I fly must be in airworthy condition for me to be covered. The logical follow-up question is "Does going past TBO make your airplane un-airworthy"? Nothing that I could find stated so. The engine TBO number is set by the manufacturer (Continental or Lycoming), not by the FAA.

    This topic boils down to risk/reward. Risks: If you go beyond TBO, and (God forbid) something bad happens and you wind up in court, it's a good bet that it will be used against you. Even though it's not a regulation, you'll need to defend why you didn't follow the engine manufacturers' recommendations. If your policy doesn't cover you when the engine (or other parts) are beyond TBO, the damages will come out of your pocket.

    Rewards: You put off the cost of a rebuild/overhaul. That's pretty much it, because sooner or later a rebuild/replace will have to be done anyway.

    The TBO guidelines are not a hard and fast rule, but the valves, piston rings, bearings, etc., will only open/close/spin/slide so many times before the part is worn out or fails completely. No matter how you look at it, that engine is near end of life.

    There are probably more legal risks associated with going past TBO than there are mechanical risks, but in my opinion, the rewards don't make it worthwhile.

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Got it. Thanks for clarifying, Griff.

    I gave a revised TBO plan that may make more sense considering my “mild)” recent diagnosis .( I’m 70) Plus I’m on basic Med with no current symptoms and clear body scans.

    1. Fly ( and enjoy ) it through the Fall and early Nov. knowing that maybe I’ll end up putting 60 ish hours on it. ( Not much to worry about)
    2. Drop it off in Dec for a reman to a reputable overhaul shop. Columbia Aircraft in Pa has a great reputation.
    3. Since Airmotive now claims that Lycoming has a (1) year waiting list, that lets them out. IMHO
    4. Columbia is running 10-12 weeks rebuiid time, and as I hate a freezing cold airplane in the dead of winter, I’ll be flying again by March when it’s warm again. I will be Rusty as hell- but that’s life.

    i hate the idea of being grounded for 3 months but if I preorder a new Lycoming now, it’s still a YEAR away if it starts making metal before that time has elapsed, I’m screwed.- FOR A YEAR!

    This way I’m 3 months away from a new ( Sort of ) engine and I have more peace of mind that by spring I’m good to go.


    Other opinions from members are welcome also!

    I love the member interactions on this forum. Always positive and thoughtful .👍 Great job Scott Sherer

    You guys ( and Gals) ROCK.😊

  • Thanks and good luck!

    Scott Sherer
    Wright Brothers Master Pilot, FAA Commercial Pilot
    Aviation Director, Piper Owner Society Forum Moderator and Pipers Author.

    Need help? Let me know!

  • Scott (N9091Y);

    It sounds to me like you have a well thought out plan. I agree with getting the work done over the winter when flying can be iffy. I'm in the Chicago area, so I understand winter.

    Good luck and keep us updated!

    Jim "Doc Griff" Griffin
    PA28 - 161
    Chicago area

  • Great.

    Thanks as always 😊

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