Aviation101's Skyhawk Graduates to a Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System

Flight Test Results: A better breathing engine equals much better engine performance.

Watch from start to finish how Josh Flowers' Cessna 172 was transformed with a Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System designed to achieve peak engine performance, operating efficiency and cooler temperatures that contribute to longer engine life.

Post-installation flight test data summary:

  • Quicker rate of climb

  • Increased airspeed

  • Lower fuel consumption

  • Higher RPM

  • Cooler oil and cylinder head temperatures

Story Background

For eleven years now, Aviation101's creator, Josh Flowers had been building a solid reputation among his many followers as an excellent resource for pilots who never want to stop learning. Fueling his success has been Josh's unwavering commitment to his twin passions of Aviation, in all its forms, and Video Production as evidenced by the often stunning imagery displayed on Aviation101's YouTube and Instagram channels.

Flying his 1976 Cessna 172M, N80991, into some of the Nation's busiest airports and most crowded airspace leaves Josh little room for error or doubts about the reliability of the equipment installed on his 45 year old Skyhawk. The endless vistas and towering mountains he is able to capture so beautifully also demand the best possible performance out of the 150 HP Lycoming engine which powers the ship.

So, when Josh approached us at AirVenture in 2019, we were both excited and intrigued: excited to be working with one of Aviation's newest and most well-regarded ambassadors and intrigued because we KNEW that the extra 10 - 20 HP our system provides would serve Josh well in the course of his aerial adventures.

With a full suite of modern avionics and a complete engine monitoring system, -991 proved to be an ideal "test-bed" aircraft to measure and record the effects of the Power Flow System on aircraft performance.

As it turned out, between the COVID crisis and our busy schedules, scheduling the installation turned out to be the trickiest part of the whole venture. Things finally fell into place in late January this year when Josh, accompanied by Ms. Chelsea Smith, his accomplished co-pilot (who is also a certificated A&P specializing in Russian built radial engines!), landed in Daytona Beach.

The first order of business was the pre-installation test-flight crewed by P.I.C., Josh Flowers, Power Flow's President and Chief Technical Officer, Mr. Darren Tilman, serving as co-pilot and data recorder on this flight, and Chelsea, acting as observer and camera operator.

After the trio had established the Skyhawk's baseline performance, work began in earnest.

The exhaust system was installed by Power Flow's ace father & son team of installation experts, Mike and Josh Mysicka. The normal 3 - 5 hour task was purposefully slowed down to allow Josh and Chelsea to observe, question, and film the process to their heart's content.

The Power Flow Tuned System is available in two basic configurations for the Skyhawk: The original “Classic” (Long Tailpipe) version and the newer “Short Stack”. The Classic version does give the biggest performance boost, but the difference is usually only noticeable if the aircraft is on floats or is routinely operated in high density altitude environments (8,500' msl and above). The Short Stack system provides 90% - 95% of the performance increase that is possible with the Classic system with a more attractive installed appearance.

To maximize his performance gain, Josh selected Power Flow's "Classic" configuration for -991. He also included the optional Exhaust Fairing for improved engine cooling and the Challenger Air Filter to increase the air flow on the induction side of his -172's engine.

In due course, everything was carefully installed and inspected, the cowl buttoned-up, and the ground run successfully completed.

We were "Good to Go" for the eagerly anticipated test flight.

Test Flight!

With the intrepid trio of Josh, Chelsea, and Darren reprising their roles, the flight profile flown a couple of days earlier to establish the baseline performance profile was carefully replicated.

Based on experience gleaned over the course of our 20+ years designing and building high performance exhaust systems for general aviation aircraft, we were careful to schedule the "After" test-flight for the same three hour "window" of relatively stable atmospheric conditions in Florida's often turbulent skies.

Since Josh will be covering this flight in his upcoming video(s), we are loathe to steal his thunder here.

For now, suffice it to say that the extra 10 - 20 HP made possible by the Power Flow System typically shortens the aircraft's ground roll on take-off by 100' - 300', increases the rate-of-climb by 100 - 150 fpm, reduces the fuel burn in cruise by 1/2 to 1-1/2 gph, and reduces the CHT's by 10 - 15 degrees Fahrenheit.

See how we measured-up on Josh's Skyhawk. Watch video at top of page.

Masked-up & ready to fly: Power Flow Systems president Darren Tilman, Flight Engineer Chelsea Smith, and Aviation101 founder and P.I.C., Josh Flowers.

Josh's 1976 Cessna 172M

N80991 - Resplendent in her newly installed Power Flow Tuned Exhaust System, Classic Configuration with the optional Exhaust Fairing for improved engine cooling.

Power Flow Systems, Inc. is pleased and proud to be supporting the efforts and activities of Aviation101 and Josh Flowers through a Sponsorship Agreement.