What is an Aircraft Magneto? 

An aircraft magneto is an engine driven electrical generator that uses permanent magnets and coils to produce high voltage to fire the aircraft spark plugs. Aircraft magnetos are used in piston aircraft engines and are known for their simplicity and reliability. Maintenance for aircraft magnetos is a little different from other parts.  

In this blog article, we’re going to dive into how an aircraft magneto works, what a 500-hour inspection is, and what happens when your accessory arrives to AAI.  

How Do Aircraft Magnetos Work? 

The magneto is a self-contained generator of high voltage that provides ignition to an engine through spark plugs. A magnet spins in close proximity to a coil of wire. As the magnet spins (or the magnet rotor is turned), it generates a strong magnetic force that is “held back” by a primary coil.  

The moment the contact points open, a rapid magnetic flow generates a high voltage in the secondary coil, which ignites the spark plug, thus firing the engine. The two magnetos on most GA aircraft – the left and the right – each fire one of two spark plugs on each cylinder.  

Check out this video to learn more about how an aircraft magneto works⤵️ 

The 500-Hour Inspection

In addition to a regular overhaul, aircraft magnetos also require inspection and repair every 500 hours. When you send your Magneto to AAI, here are a few things we do: 

➡️ Complete disassembly of the magneto 

➡️ Thorough cleaning of components 

➡️ Replace all required parts called out in inspection manual 

➡️ Inspect remaining parts for wear, damage and their ability to function, and replace if needed.  

➡️ Repaint housings 

➡️ Perform complete functional test 

Insider Tip: 

While a 500 hour inspection isn’t required by FAA regulation, it is good practice to accomplish to ensure safe and reliable operation of your aircraft engine.  

Check out this video of our 500-hour inspection process

What Components is an Aircraft Magneto Made Of? 

An aircraft magneto consists of several different components: 

➡️ Housings 

➡️ Rotor 

➡️ Gears 

➡️ Capacitor 

➡️ Coil 

➡️ Distibutor Block 

➡️ Bearings 

Where Can You Find Aircraft Magneto Service? 

AAI conducts 500-hour inspections on aircraft magneto brands like Slick and Bendix. We understand that when you can’t find the parts you need, the problems multiply. You send in your plane for routine maintenance and expect to have it back in a week. But inspections turn up several parts that need to be replaced, which could take weeks or even months. What now? 

The entire process of locating, ordering, and receiving certified aircraft accessories is a huge headache. 

Uncertified, untested parts are all over the internet, but do you really want to risk your safety for convenience? Certified replacement parts can take a ridiculously long time to ship – sometimes months – and the cost can be absurdly high. 

Unless you shop with AAI. 

We’ll help you avoid the delays and headaches, and instead get certified, safe, and tested aircraft accessories so that you can fix your aircraft and get back to flying. 

1. Call AAI  

2. Get a quote  

3. Fix your plane and fly  

Find the parts you need and get back in the air, fast. 

Share this post

Join the AAI Frequent Flyers Email List

We believe having your head in the clouds is a good thing, so we publish a monthly newsletter about planes and flying.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.