By Peter Krok, EAA 695471
Pete’s Eggenfellner Subaru 2.5L SOHC engine with supercharger.
Pete’s RV-7A over the high desert of California.
Pete with Redlands Police plane.
“Subenews” (Subaru Eggenfellner News) is an independent newsletter and Web community for those owning an Eggenfellner Subaru FWF engine package. Initially, my goal in publishing the newsletter was to help bring Egg engine owners together as a group of friends sharing good (and maybe not so good) Egg engine experiences. After the first newsletter was published, I got extremely positive feedback. The group members wanted to share more information and wanted to find out who their fellow Egg owners were and where they lived.
I couldn’t handle all this by e-mail, so I started the Subenews Yahoo Group—another success. The group members have so much in common: engine type, gear drive type, ECUs. The more experienced members (those with completed installations, many of whom are flying) are sharing valuable information and lessons learned with those who are in trail. Cooling issues, safety concerns, and maintainability topics are all being addressed. We are now making videos of engine maintenance items (timing belt replacement, valve lash adjustment, supercharger maintenance, compression checks, propeller limit switch adjustments, etc.) to make sure fellow members know how to do it correctly. We also plan to host fly-ins at regional locations…to be held in conjunction with events such as Golden West, Arlington, COPPERSTATE, and, of course, EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
I’ve also started a website, www.subenews.com. It’sstill in development but will have copies of past newsletters, member locations, downloadable maintenance videos, performance numbers, and data sets on various Eggenfellner engine, propeller, and airplane configurations. With user feedback, we will upload reliability data on the new Gen3 drives. There will be a running index where readers can look up past articles by subject, author, and date.
A unique feature of our newsgroup is that it is completely independent of the Egg factory; the company knows about us but we are not affiliated in any way. Most of our group members monitor Jan Eggenfellner’s Subaru Aircraft Yahoo Group site for technical updates on a daily basis. That keeps them in tune with the factory. Our added advantage is that we have enlisted the help of some technical experts on Subaru engines from other auto-conversion groups. We therefore get to evaluate suggestions from both sides. At times, our own experts provide detailed analysis based on data taken and applied formulas. Very impressive!
Membership on the Rise
Our membership group continues to grow weekly. I personally interview all new members and ask them to fill out a survey based on their experiences with their engine packages. These surveys have been the key to understanding the common technical problems and relationships of members with the factory. They have also been useful for finding topics for newsletter articles.
My original intent was to focus only on the earlier H4 engine owners such as myself. However, there was strong interest from the STI, H6, and E6 engine owners in joining our Subenews group. They now outnumber the H4 owners!
Things began to get very busy for me, and I started asking for volunteers. One member has stepped forward to handle all the survey data and keep track of all members on a spreadsheet, relieving me of a huge burden. We have four knowledgeable technical advisors who closely monitor, offer advice, and answer group questions on our Subenews Yahoo site. We have two people who are continually searching for new members. Our goal is to have 250 members by next summer; we are well on our way to achieving that.
One thing that impresses me most about our group is the friendliness of our members and their willingness to help out, which is the embodiment of the EAA spirit. One person who comes to mind is Jim Payne (H4 owner), who wrote, “You might also include a list of people willing to help others. I live at the Rosamond Skypark, California. If an Egg owner drops by with an issue, I am willing to loan tools and hangar space. Attached is a checklist I made for changing the timing belt on an H4.” I included Jim’s checklist in our first 16-page newsletter.
Exclusive Membership - For Now
For the time being our membership is restricted to the owners of Eggenfellner FWF engine packages. The key here is commonality. Membership requires showing proof of Egg engine ownership (invoice, pictures, phone conversation, etc). A survey form must be turned in prior to admittance. Finally, upon joining, we also ask that any negative comments about Jan Eggenfellner or his business be kept within our group. It is no secret that Jan Eggenfellner has not pleased all of his customers; what businessperson has? Some group members have let off steam about this in the past. We also have satisfied members. We, as a group, have decided to not be involved with Jan Eggenfellner’s business. We neither endorse nor defame his products; we merely offer assistance to one another.
My hope is that the newest E6 engine package issues have been resolved, as Jan Eggenfellner now reports. The E6 is indeed much improved over the STI and H6 versions, with a robust drive, larger radiators, a Simple Digital Systems ECU, and clean wiring. These engines will certainly be less challenging and problematic than the STI and earlier H6 engines. However, up to now the Egg factory has not been able to amass and publish enough fieldwide performance data on these new engines. A main problem is that there has been a production delay at Quinti, and delivery of propellers for these engines has slipped until next month (March).
The primary goals of our independent Egg-Subaru group are to make the best of what we have and share information that will keep one another safe. In the end, with more members flying, we should be able to collect independent performance and reliability data that will show the true worth of our engine packages. In the next year and a half (I gave myself two years), I hope to have an accurate database with engine weights, specifications, part listings, etc. Performance data for each engine type/configuration will be listed for the various airframe types in our group. At that time there should be no question as to what the performance numbers really are for the Egg-Subaru engines. At the end of the two-year period, I plan to share these data with the EAA community and also hope to blend my newsletters into a subsection of CONTACT! Magazine.
To those Egg engine owners who are not yet part of our group, please contact me at Subenews@verizon.net. You’ll be glad you did.
About Pete Krok
As a youngster, Pete Krok was a dreamer who always kept his eyes looking skyward. He got his pilot certificate when he was 17. His eyesight prevented him from flying jets in the Air Force, so he earned a bachelor’s degree in math and meteorology from Oregon State University and entered the Air Force as a meteorologist.
Four years later, he went to graduate school and earned a master’s degree in plasma physics and laser optics. He worked for a few years in the Air Force Avionics Lab developing laser designators for air-to-ground weapons delivery. Over the following years, he became a program manager for systems such as the F-15 radar and anti-satellite weaponry. His last assignment was with the Ballistic Missile Office at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California, after which he retired and became a program manager for Orbital Sciences, an aerospace firm in Southern California. He managed the Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) satellite program, which produced global maps of ozone depletion areas (holes) in the atmosphere. He retired from this second career in 2001 and then decided to build his own airplane.
Pete lives with his wife, Carol, in Redlands, California. Their three kids have now left the nest. He’s been president of and is currently newsletter editor for EAA Chapter 845, which gave him the idea as well as the skills to create a newsletter for Eggenfellner Subaru engine owners. He completed his RV-7A with an Eggenfellner 2.5L supercharged package in April 2005. To date, he has 265 hours on his Eggenfellner Subaru.