How are Turbine Engine Igniters Operationally Checked?

Turbine engines are one of the most important systems for many aircraft, providing for the combustion of fuel to generate propulsion and flight. To begin the combustion process, the engine depends on the ignition system to generate a spark that can kickstart the combustion process with fuel ignition. Because of this critical role that turbine ignition systems play, it is important that they can be relied on to always operate and start the engine. An engine that cannot start could cause lengthy downtime, causing both maintenance expenditures and delays in flight schedules. Having the turbine engine igniters and other turbine engine parts inspected regularly can help ensure that such issues do not come about. In this blog, we will discuss turbine engine ignition system troubleshooting and maintenance.

When the turbine engine starts its operation, the exciter generates a high voltage pulse that is transferred to the igniter plugs through the turbine ignition lead. When the plugs receive the pulse of voltage, they convert it into a spark for igniting the fuel and air mixture in the combustion chamber. Each of these turbine engine components may have manufacturer guidelines for service life and replacement, and these set instructions can help you know when it is time to replace parts before they cause an AOG situation that can be much more costly. Components should also regularly be inspected to check for wear, erosion, damage, or other issues that may warrant immediate attention.

During turbine engine ignition system troubleshooting, components may be inspected or tested using various methods including audio and visual checks, as well as through the use of tools and equipment. With tools, mechanics may check the turbine engine igniters for their spark rate and magnitude of energy. Through their testing, mechanics attempt to eliminate components one by one to find which is causing the engine to not start. As turbine engine parts may be very complex, having a knowledgeable mechanic is recommended for maintenance and troubleshooting procedures.

When troubleshooting does not solve your issue, or the problem is caused by damages, the turbine engine will need to maintenanced. The exciter of the engine is typically very robust, requiring little maintenance over their service lives. Exciters can be expensive to maintain or repair, thus overhaul is the more common choice. The igniter plugs are inspected for their gap distance between the shell and center electrode, and when the distance exceeds manufacturer recommendation, the plug is replaced. As plugs are used each time the engine is started, aircraft that operate in more rapid succession may have quicker deterioration of spark plugs due to heavier use. Turbine ignition leads are similar to plugs in that they tout long service lives that may match the engine itself. Issues that arise in ignition leads may often come about due to exciter and plug contamination by dirt or grease, and cleaning may decrease the chance of an flashover. All connectors and seals will also be inspected and replaced as necessary to maintain system integrity. With ample maintenance, inspection, and troubleshooting, the functionality of turbine engine parts can be more reliable during consistent operation.

When it comes time to begin sourcing the turbine engine ignition system parts and components that you need for your next operation or project, look no further than Sourcing Streamlined. Sourcing Streamlined is owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, and we can help you find the turbine engine parts and other aerospace components that you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we're always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. ASAP Semiconductor is an FAA 0056 accredited and AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015 certified enterprise. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


March 17, 2021

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