Early 3% Failure Rate "Unacceptable"
An intriguing product
designed to bring a here-to-fore unprecedented degree of
realiability to GA vacuum pumps has apparently not held up in the
field. After hearing very recent complaints from buyers of the Aero
Advantage Dual Rotor Vacuum Pump, using the system on 540 series
powerplants, we learned that the company has shut the doors and
left a short message (see below) announcing their situation on the
home page of their web site.
It was a novel product... Aero Advantage designed a Dual Rotor
Vacuum Pump that incorporated a shear coupling between the forward
rotor and the driveshaft. This allowed the forward rotor’s
shear coupling to shear away from the driveshaft without causing
the entire driveshaft to fail. A similar coupling was installed on
the rear rotor. As an additional safeguard, the shaft had a 'necked
down area' between the two rotors. This way, either the rear
rotor’s shear coupling or the necked area in the driveshaft
can shear away from the forward rotor without effecting the forward
rotors continued operation.
In the event of a failure of either rotor, a monitoring system
offered the pilot instant notification via a warning lamp in the
cockpit, indicating which pumping chamber was inop.
The future of this product line looks dim. There are obviously
some massive legal issues inherent in what has occurred, and the
possible list of buyers for such a product would be limited by
this... We'll keep you informed as soon as we have more
The Aero Advantage Customer Statement
Customer experience has
uncovered a type of pump failure never experienced in years of
field and laboratory testing of the dual rotor vacuum pump design,
including the deliberate destruction of over 300 test pumps. These
failures resulted in malfunctioning of both pumping chambers
simultaneously. The failures are concentrated on the 300 horsepower
Lycoming IO-540 engines. We believe that these engines generate a
resonant frequency resulting in breakage of both graphite rotors.
Multiple replacement pumps have failed on three different engines.
At this point, we can’t be certain about similar failures
occurring on other engines. A failure rate of 3%, while seemingly
small, is not acceptable for our product. Although the dual rotor
pumps are performing well in the other 97% of installations,
shipping of dual rotor pumps has been halted. The tens of thousands
of dollars of orders on hand will not be filled. Aero Advantage
refuses to continue marketing a product that might not perform
satisfactorily for all its customers.
Aero Advantage was founded, in good faith, to improve safety
of flight and to allow greater peace of mind for its customers by
eliminating sudden loss of the vacuum source. While the precise
changes that are needed to improve reliability may already be in
place, they would likely require between 3 and 9 months to finalize
and place into production. The company can not survive the
financial burden of having no sales for that length of time and is
closing its doors. Closure of the business was an extremely
difficult decision for me, the inventor and company founder, since
I have invested five years of work and most of my life’s
savings in the business.
Several parties have expressed an interest in procuring the
current technology and continuing the development of the necessary
It is with much regret that I announce the above decision. I
believe it is the correct one for all concerned.
Sincerely, David A. Boldenow