Engine Failure

While waiting for my SR20, patiently I must say, I am flying my dear ant trusted Cherokee 180. The top of cylinder No 4 decided to separate on take off Thanksgiving’s day, fortunately at 1200 feet, allowing me an easy come back and landing on intersecting runway. The engine has 32 months and 280 Hrs. on a Mattituck overhaul with new Lycoming cylinders. When I called Mattituck, the answer was that I needed to replace that cylinder, that probably the other cylinders were fine, as would be the bottom end of the engine, and that by the way, warranty is prorated to 2,000 Hrs. @ 40 Hrs. a month. Meaning Mattituck would be paying 35% of replacing that cylinder. Good luck. When I mentioned my concern regarding the other cylinders, I was told it was normal to have psycological problems after an engine failure and that it would take time.
It seems to me that separation of a cylinder top after 2 1/2 years should be regarded as a manufacture defect and not as usual wear and tear covered by insurance.
when time came for overhaul, I went to a most reputable shop, bought new cylinders and paid extra because I often fly family in IMC and at times over water. I am surprised by Mattituck answer, and wonder what the real expectation should be.
I realize this may not be the most appropriate forum to discuss this, but I do long for my new plane. Maybe this spring…
Any thoughts?

In reading your post, I (an aviation insurance broker) saw something that you typed and just wanted to clarify something.

Wear and Tear is not covered by insurance usually. Read your policy to be sure, and call your agent if you have questions.

The insurance company is not warrantying your plane or the work you have done on it.

The language of your policy may differ slightly, but usually it says something like “This policy does not apply to loss or damage which is DUE TO and CONFINED TO wear and tear, deterioration, freezing, mechanical hydraulic pneumatic, structural, or electrical breakdown or failure, or to tires unless damaged by fire or stolen” or something like that. (I typed this directly off of a light aircraft policy of one of the best companies)

You are about to contact me or your agent or reply to this post and say that your policy doesn’t cover anything according to that sentence if it or one like it is in your policy. But before you do, please notice the words I capitalized. (Due to and Confined to.)

EXAMPLES: an engine failure that results in you landing in a field and damaging the aircraft further would be covered. You taking off (as in the post I am replying to) and landing safely at an airport will usually result in no coverage from your insurance company. The major exception to this is if you land off field (i.e. on a road) and don’t do any damage to the plane, usually now insurance companies will cover transportation costs to truck your airplane to an FBO to fix it. (They didn’t used to do this, then people started aiming for fields instead of roads… even though it did more damage to the plane, it was less out of pocket expense for the owner.)

The engine (or other part) manufacturer or FBO that installed it (if they did it improperly) may be at fault, and might pay for some or all of the damage to the engine as indicated in the post above.

John “JT” Helms
NationAir Pleasure and Business Branch