Aircraft Maintenance

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Fuel injection systems: You still need to maintain them

Aircraft Maintenance | 2015, 03 25

If you are flying behind a fuel-injected aircraft engine, it pays to thoroughly understand how it works, how to maintain it, and what typically goes wrong when you encounter a problem.

Aircraft Maintenance: Lonely airplanes, problems that come with them

Aircraft Maintenance | 2015, 03 12

Airplanes and pets have a lot in common: They like activity. Being left alone for extended periods of time can generate some undesired behaviors in both.

Aircraft Maintenance: Warm panel, cool wallet

Aircraft Maintenance | 2015, 02 24

Pilots focus on preheating the engine during cold weather, but what about the cockpit? More than 30 percent of an aircraft's value is often tied up in the panel.

Aircraft maintenance: Remove snow and ice

Aircraft Maintenance | 2015, 02 12

For pilots in parts of the country where they are measuring the snowfall in feet, here are some tips to keep in mind when clearing the path to your aircraft. For starters, snow blowers and aircraft are a bad combination.

Exhausting maintenance

Aircraft Maintenance | 2015, 01 05

An in-depth exhaust system inspection should be done as part of the aircraft's annual inspection.

Exhausting maintenance

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 12 23

Exhaust systems are one of the few systems in our aircraft where a single point of failure can be catastrophic. Here are tips for inspecting the system for safety during every preflight. This is one area in which catching an issue on the ground can make all the difference in the world.

Breaking up is hard to do: Switching maintenance shops

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 12 11

You should stick with someone you trust for the long-term maintenance of your aircraft assuming he or she is skilled and thorough. That said, there is significant value to getting a fresh pair of eyes on your airplane every so often.

Aircraft maintenance: Heater health for your twin

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 11 24

All aircraft heating systems should be inspected prior to seasonal use. Learn considerations specific to the combustion-based heater systems found in most twin-engine aircraft.

Aircraft maintenance: Heater health for your single

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 11 12

The No. 1 concern with any aircraft cabin heating system is safety. In the muffler-based heating systems found in single-engine aircraft, the primary danger comes from carbon monoxide. Here are tips for inspecting your heating system to make sure it’s safe.

Aircraft Maintenance: Major vs minor alterations, part 2

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 10 22

Find out how to determine if an alteration you want to make to your aircraft is major or minor and how to build a case for any modification you are considering.

Aircraft maintenance: Major vs. minor alterations

Aircraft Maintenance | 2014, 10 08

The most important place to start with any repair or alteration is with an assessment of whether it is a major or minor alteration. This is critical because the approval and documentation requirements for major vs. minor alterations are significantly different and, in fact, can be the difference between a simple logbook entry and a complex FAA approval process.

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.