Aircraft Maintenance

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Aircraft maintenance: Mystery upgrades and opportunities

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 09 11

What’s legal when it comes to modifying older aircraft? The starting point in any analysis of a potential aircraft modification is to answer the question: Is this a major alteration or a minor alteration?

How to handle aircraft maintenance when traveling

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 08 18

Having to deal with any form of aircraft maintenance when you're far from home isn't fun. Your resources are limited, you don't necessarily know the local fixed-base operator, and your options may be very limited. When you're away from home, it's in your best interest to become your own maintenance manager and advocate.

Summer vacation flying: Packing for your trip

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 08 04

Before taking off on a trip where you’ll be gone for an extended period of time or flying in remote areas, gather some spare parts and tools to take along in case a maintenance issue arises along the way.

Tips for smooth trips, part 2: Pre-trip maintenance

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 07 18

Get your airplane ready for a long cross-country trip by keeping an eye out for these common “trip interrupters.”

Summer vacation flying: Maintenance tips for smooth trips

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 07 08

Any successful cross-country trip requires careful maintenance planning well in advance of the first leg of the trip.

Aircraft maintenance: Breaking breakers

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 06 25

When electrical system gremlins started to appear in A&P mechanic Jeff Simon's airplane, he discovered that his aircraft's circuit breakers (one of which was 41 years old) were failing one by one.

Aircraft maintenance: Building an experimental aircraft

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 06 17

The idea of building and flying your own aircraft can be daunting to the average pilot. But many things in aviation are a continuum: student to pilot, pilot to aircraft owner, owner to mechanic or builder.

Eating the elephant: Using experience to qualify for your A&P certificate

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 05 21

A decade of aircraft ownership may put you closer to your A&P certificate than you might think.

Eating the elephant: Becoming an A&P is closer than you think

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 05 05

If you own and work on your aircraft under the guidance of your local mechanic, you could count that time toward the requirements for becoming an A&P.

Eating the elephant: Become an educated owner

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 04 23

When you set out on a mission to learn about your airplane, it’s amazing how many people step in to help.

Eating the elephant: Charting a course to aircraft ownership

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 04 10

For all its regulations and costs, there are options out there to make the dream of aircraft ownership a reality for most pilots.

Aircraft maintenance: Cold weather checkup

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 03 24

Even late-winter presents a number of unique challenges to the aircraft’s systems, and it pays to take the time to do what you can to protect your aircraft (and yourself) while we’re still in winter’s grip.

Aircraft maintenance: Proper engine preheating

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 03 10

Preheating is about far more than just oil temperature. Proper preheating involves heating the entire engine, so that all critical engine parts can be brought into the ‘safe’ temperature range.

Aircraft maintenance: Myths, realities of engine preheating

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 02 27

The engine heater and a small cabin heater have been keeping the aircraft warm and ready to go for almost two weeks. Heresy, you say? Leaving a preheater on for this long will corrode the engine, you say? Not necessarily.

Aircraft maintenance: Listen to your airplane

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 01 22

Aircraft do not heal themselves. That sounds obvious, perhaps, but if you sincerely want to protect yourself, your family and your aircraft, read that sentence again and take it to heart.

Maintenance: Spark plug gapping and replacement

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 01 08

Learn how to save money by doing your own spark plug maintenance. A&P Jeff Simon explains how to clean, gap, and reinstall spark plugs on your aircraft.

Roll up your sleeves for spark plug inspections

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 12 17

Roll up your sleeves and get into the how-to of maintaining your aircraft's spark plugs yourself.

Stay ahead of your spark plugs

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 12 04

A bad spark plug can do a lot of damage. Giving them a look more than once a year can pay dividends.

Layering STCs: Understanding and managing the risks

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 11 21

The concept of implementing STCs on previously modified aircraft is known as "layering STCs," and doing it properly is paramount to safety.

Improve aircraft performance with more power, part 5

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 11 04

Looking for more power? Start by maximizing what you already have, then check into supplemental type certificates.

Improve aircraft performance with efficiency mods, part 4

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 10 23

If you own an aircraft produced in reasonably large numbers, you can be assured that there are companies marketing modifications to improve performance. However, it pays to be a bit skeptical when evaluating any specific speed gains promised.

Rig it right: Improving aircraft performance, part 3

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 10 07

If your plane is not properly rigged, the aircraft is fighting against itself in flight.

Maintenance: Improving aircraft performance, part 2

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 09 24

Chances are that your aircraft's performance is somewhat less than the "book" numbers in your operations manual, but there is a lot that you can do to get reasonably close. A fresh wash and wax could give you an extra 3 knots in cruise.

Maintenance: Improving aircraft performance, part 1

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 09 12

Indulge your wild side and find out what you can do to your aircraft to improve true airspeed in the quest to win you bragging rights as the fastest (insert your aircraft here) out there.

Propeller care: Overhauls

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 07 16

Many owners of fixed-pitch propellers are unaware that a TBO even exists for their props. But it does, and for good reason.