Cessna Ignition Switch

I think I still have a few “worn-out” Cessna ignition switches in my old toolbox. I am not sure if it was a manufacturer thing or if our many new students had anything to do with it, but we changed them very frequently. Of course you do turn them a lot more than a car ignition switch when you hopefully do your magneto checks. Also, it is 1970’s or earlier technology. We had a few keys break off as well. That one I was chalking up to either getting in and out of the aircraft funny, hitting it with your knee, or just being so tense on run-up that they muscled the key right off.

Of course ANY weakness in any aircraft immediately falls prey to Chuck’s lucky hand with technology and short attention span. In the Chinook we have a parking brake handle that immediately let’s go and slams into a very hard to replace micro-switch for the advisory light if you don’t hold on to it while you push the brake pedals. Obviously a weak point in the wrong hands. And in true Chuck fashion it didn’t take me a long time at my new job before that handle slipped out of my hand (it’s hard to reach from the left seat) for the first time. You should have seen the mechanic’s face! It looked just like Stefan draws Julio’s face when Chuck messed up. The switch was fine in that case (I was lucky) but beers were owed nonetheless.

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4 comments on “Cessna Ignition Switch
  1. Johsua says:

    Honestly, I’d expect more wear from the Piper switch, particularly in the Arrow. Those babies love to flood and are a real pain to clear. I almost toasted the battery the other day. But I guess with chuck the Cessna must be hard to start too.

    The really funny thing I’ve learned is the manufacture’s recommended starting procedure is almost always sub optimal. Piper’s procedure for an Arrow will flood it and hot starts are almost impossible by the book. If you know the secret, don’t give it gas, it fires right up. Same thing with the Bonanza. Don’t follow the manufacture’s procedure for a hot start. Just prime it normally to clear the vapor from the lines.

  2. Fbs says:

    Never replaced an ignition switch yet on cessna. But the local chucks broke the parking brake handle twice already. They probably use it the same way you use a car parking brake…

  3. Leia says:

    Had to replace one on my little X’Air just last week. I’m sure I’d have had a Julio frowning-at too because it had been on the way out for a loonnnngggg time before I was forced into do it!

  4. Bruce Bergman says:

    Dang, if they made a bad design that is always breaking, you figure out why and solve it forever – but I realize with aircraft you have to be very careful and “Schneaky…” subtle. Something they wont immediately scream “Do you have a STC for that!?!?” Or you go through channels and get one – “Gee Cessna, can I replace that turkey switch with this model that’s functionally identical out of a newer plane? They never break, and I just put a cap on that extra ACC contact…”

    Like the parking brake warning microswitch, Julio could mount the switch with extra flat washers or a sheet of gasket rubber between the switch and mounting plate to get that tiny bit of extra space, and/or sneak in a rubber bumper where the pull rod contacts the switch so a hard release goes “thoomp!” and harmlessly dissipates the extra force.

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