There is a lot of confusion out there on what Time Between Overhaul (TBO) actually is, and what the time limits are that comprise your engine's TBO. To address this, and allow you to more fully understand how Gemco's programs work, we've compiled some answers to common questions. Always feel free to contact us directly if you have any questions not answered here.
Where Do I Find My Engine's TBO?
Engine TBOs are published by your engine manufacturer. For those who operate Lycoming Engine, you can find this information in Service Instruction (SI) 1009AZ. Continental publishes the same information in Service Information Letter (SIL) 98-9C. A quick web search of these documents should yield the actual documents in both html, and .pdf format. These documents change often, usually to reflect the newest engines being produced, so be sure you're looking at the most up-to-date information.
What Does TBO Actually Mean?
To put it bluntly, nothing. Absolutely nothing. TBO is not a guarantee that an engine will operate trouble free to that mark. It is not (for piston engined, Part 91 operators) a legal requirement for maintenance/inspection. It really is nothing.
So What Is TBO? Why Care?
We here at Gemco have developed an important use of TBO: as a marker beacon to use when determining the accrued liability you have in an engine. At Gemco, we have developed our own proprietary models that predict how many engines will make it to TBO without major trouble, how many will make it limping across the finish line, and how many will collapse mid-race. We use this information to help you financially plan more effectively.
So What's the Takeaway?
Don't look at TBO as an engine limitation, because it is not. Instead, think of it as a tool the manufacturer provides to you to be used when financially planning for future liabilities. If you view it that way, you can operate your engine using proven preventative maintenance techniques, while also saving the appropriate amount of money to cover future overhaul expenses.
Gemco is always here to help you wade through the muddy waters associated with engine liability planning, and we welcome you to contact us at any time to discuss how Gemco's products can help you better integrate TBO numbers into your everyday operations.