Aircraft Maintenance

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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.

Propeller care: Preventive maintenance

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 07 08

Preventive maintenance begins with regular, careful inspections of the propeller. Even small areas of damage such as nicks and rock dings can represent stress points that can lead to cracks or corrosion.

Aircraft maintenance: Propeller care

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 06 26

Here’s a quiz: What travels at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour, endures 10 tons to 20 tons of force trying to rip it apart and gets so little respect that the average pilot equates it to a tow-bar? It’s your old pal the propeller.

Aircraft maintenance tips: Spring cleaning

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 05 23

Before you jump back into the air after a long winter and cold spring, it's wise to take some time to prepare your airplane for the busy flying season.

Time to change those tires

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 04 19

Most aircraft maintenance tasks are the domain of licensed A&P mechanics. However, with the proper training and tools, changing a tire is something any aircraft owner or operator can do.

What’s so special about aircraft tires?

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 04 15

Did you know that aircraft tires are hand-made? Every tire is carefully constructed and inspected to ensure it meets the stringent requirements the FAA's Technical Standard Order (TSO) TSO-C62 (current). Regardless of which brand you choose, there is no bad aircraft tire.

From touchdown to tiedown: Aircraft tires

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 03 19

They sit immobile, baking in the hot sun or hardening in the freezing cold for weeks at a time until they’re called upon to go from 0 mph to 60 mph faster than any earth-bound speedster. And, although it is one of the most stressed components of the average general aviation aircraft, it is often the most undervalued.

Time for a change: DIY oil changes

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 03 01

DIY oil changes are a great way to learn about the health of your engine, while saving some money in the process. Think of it as a free hour of flying every 50 hours, courtesy of your own sweat equity.

All about oils

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 02 19

Trying to pick the right oil for your aircraft's engine? Consider your operating environment, outside temperature, engine/cylinder type, and how frequently the aircraft is flown.

Oil changes: Roll up those sleeves and save some money

Aircraft Maintenance | 2013, 02 07

One of the best ways to improve the safety of an aircraft is also a great way to save money: owner-performed preventive maintenance. Oil changes are a good place to start.