October 1, 1996
Want to save thousands of dollars a year? Get your hands dirty. There are more than two dozen preventive maintenance items a pilot may do, from changing oil to replacing side windows. For AOPA members only, the Pilot's Guide to Preventive Maintenance is available for a nominal shipping and handling charge of $5; it's also available free for member downloading from AOPA Online. As an active pilot and A&P myself, I know how important it is to get the most for every flying dollar you spend. To help get more hours for your bucks, I recommend:
Service bulletins. Several members have asked if compliance with manufacturers' service bulletins is mandatory. Basically, no, unless you're flying for hire under FAR Part 135 (air taxi rules). Of course, "not mandatory" is not always the same thing as "not a good idea."
What can you do yourself? The rules are changing. Pilots may now remove and replace self-contained nav and com radios from the panel, excluding transponders, DMEs, or autopilots. You may also update databases in self-contained panel-mounted lorans and GPSs.
Crankshaft AD. Member Ronald Baird, AOPA 913963, of Minnesota was one of hundreds of members asking for details on the proposed Lycoming crankshaft airworthiness directive. AOPA is working to downsize this proposed AD, of course, but if you're planning to buy an airplane with one of the affected engines, have that inspection (Lycoming SB 505A) done prior to purchase; if pitting is found on the crankshaft, negotiate a price adjustment to reflect a major overhaul within five years.
Things to know about this proposed AD:
New 720-channel radios. Member Colin Murphy, AOPA 517352, of Texas was one of many members worried about his old 360-channel com radio's becoming obsolete on January 1, 1997. Things to remember include:
Lycoming oil pump impellers (AD 96-09-10). This revises AD 81-18-04R2, which required replacement of either iron or aluminum impeller gears with steel gears at the next overhaul or at TBO, whichever occurs first. For the 45,000 affected airplanes, this new AD goes further, requiring replacement of iron gears after the next 100 hours, not to exceed recommended TBO; aluminum gears must now be replaced within five years or at TBO, whichever comes first. Here's the scoop:
The FAA announces completion of the ADS-B ground radio network, but AOPA says there's a lot more to do before there are significant benefits for general aviation pilots.
Google buys Titan Aerospace, builder of high altitude solar-powered unmanned aerial systems.
A community bands together to save Smith Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Now it's thriving.
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