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Superior Air Parts Celebrates 50th Anniversary

By James Wynbrandt

July 29, 2017 - Piston engine and engine parts manufacturer Superior Air Parts is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and highlighting important milestones in its history, at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2017.

The company began with a single product: a valve guide created by founder Burt “Inky” Dedmon that out-performed — and lasted longer — than competitive products. It just grew from there. Superior introduced its Millennium Cylinder in 1991, its Millennium Generation II as well as complete engines for experimental aircraft a decade later, and subsequently, an engine certified for installation on production GA aircraft. This year, Superior received its 3,500th FAA authorization for an engine part, and lays claim to being the world’s largest producer of FAA-approved PMA parts for piston aircraft engines.

“Our tag line is ‘Making flying more affordable since 1967,’ and that commitment means a lot to us,” said Keith Chatten, CEO of the Texas-based company. “Our customers have come to rely on us to bring some competitive cost control to the aftermarket parts business, and we take that role very seriously.”

Scott Hayes, vice president for Superior sales and marketing, added, “My hope is, any dollars I can help them save, they put it in fuel and fly. They introduce a friend or neighbor to flying, they get excited about it, and that keeps the cycle going.”

In addition to its parts, Superior now offers the 180-hp Vantage engine, STC’d for installation in production aircraft, including the American Champion Explorer and Cessna 172, and the 150-hp XP-320, the 200-hp XP-382, and the 215-hp XP-400 for experimental aircraft.

At AirVenture 2016, Superior inaugurated a series of educational presentations on engine topics at its tent (257, Main Aircraft Display area), led by piston guru Bill Ross, vice president of customer support. This year, it hosted 18 such sessions, in partnership with AeroShell, Camguard and RAM Aircraft, covering topics including engine oils, compression testing, and owner inspections.

As part of this year’s anniversary celebration, Superior also debuted a new book, Engine Management 101, by Bill Ross, the company’s vice president of product support. The book is filled with proven tips and insights into how to get more performance, reliability, and value out of a piston aircraft engine.

“I’ve spent my entire career around piston aircraft engines, either as a charter pilot, A&P/IA, or working for an aircraft engine manufacturer,” Ross said. “I’ve seen just about everything an owner can throw at their aircraft engine, and have learned the right ways to operate and maintain an engine to avoid all the major problems. That’s the insight I’ve put in this book." 

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