It’s important to maintain the mechanical safety standards of an aircraft all round the year. However, springtime is a particularly significant time to perform a thorough aircraft maintenance, since spring comes after a long span of inactivity and cold. Before pulling out your airplane from the hangar for spring/summer flying season, there are several things you need to address and check. Following is a list of things you need to do as part of your spring aircraft maintenance.
Checklist for Spring Aircraft Maintenance
1. Review the Maintenance Records of your Aircraft
The first step in the spring maintenance of your aircraft should be reviewing its maintenance history. Find out what preventative maintenance and repairs have been carried out recently. Also check out if there are any aircraft repairs which had been postponed but should be done. Now is the right time for doing them, particularly any safety repairs based on FAA Airworthiness Directives. These are aircraft safety repairs required by FAA for flying a plane legally.
2. Examine Battery and Other Electrical Accessories
If the battery’s condition or age is in question, check it and replace if necessary. A rule of thumb to follow should be removing and inspecting the batter after every 50 hours of use. Moreover, examine the condition of the mounting apparatus and the battery leads. Check other electrical accessories too that include radio and antenna, wiring at terminals, circuit breakers, and circuits.
3. Examine the Fuel System and Change the Oil
Even if your aircraft’s gas tank was filled and oil changed before laying it up for winter, it’s crucial to check your plane’s fuel system and do an oil change in spring before starting with flying again. Oil may become acidic leading to corrosion and pitting of the components like bearings and cam lobes. Rust may mix with oil resulting in extensive engine damage.
Furthermore, examine the fuel system. The fuel filter should be removed, cleaned, and replaced if necessary. Check for any condensation in fuel tanks, which may happen if there is air in the tanks and tanks were not full. Corrosion can be caused by water at the bottom of a tank. In case static vent covers and pitot were installed prior to the winter, they should be removed now. Check that master switches are back on and fuel cocks are open. Additionally, check:
- Fuel gauge for any damage
- Fuel valve for leaks or damages
- Fuel drain for any foreign matter or water
- Fuel lines for leaks or damages
- Condition of fuel tanks and the straps
Although a fuel system flush and an oil change may appear to be a redundant expense at the moment, they can save you from way more costly repairs later on.
4. Inspect Wear and Pressure of Tires
Like in case of car tires, air pressure tends to decrease over time for aircraft tires. Ensure that the tires of your airplane are at the recommended psi. In addition, inspect the tires visually for bald spots and tread wear. Examine the wheel brake assembly also for strut condition and leaks.
5. Test the Landing Gear, Propeller, Tail Fins, and Wing Flaps
Ensure that the landing gear doors, landing gear, tail fins, wing flaps, and propeller assembly are all working well. Check that no components or parts are dirty, damaged or loose.
6. Check for Structural Damage
If you had hangared your aircraft inside, there are low chances that it suffered any winter damage. However, it’s always wise to do a walkaround before starting with flying. Check out for any structural damage or hairline cracks on the wings and fuselage caused by contact with another aircraft or wind. Examine seals and gaskets to ensure they are not dried out or corroded. Additionally, check the cowling and air intake, pilot tube, stall warning vent, and the static ports for any animals, as birds and small rodents may have made nests in these areas and other places.
7. Wash Well
Last but not the least, give your aircraft a good interior cleaning and exterior washing. Ensure that no foreign materials or dirt interfere with the operations of the tail fin and wing flap. While washing windows, remember to wash in up and down motion rather than swirling in circles since that may cause scratches on the windows.
So, before you begin with flying, make sure you carry out a proper spring plane maintenance by following the above steps. Proper aircraft maintenance ensures optimal performance of an airplane.
You may also consider seeking the assistance of a reliable company providing aircraft maintenance services. Boca Aircraft Maintenance provides high quality aircraft maintenance services and specializes in spring aircraft maintenance program.