Checklist for Spring Aircraft Maintenance: 7 Things You Need to Do

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. 

 

Wrap Up 

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 

5 Must-Know Aircraft Maintenance Tips

Whether you are an individual or a company owning a private airplane, you need to ensure regular aircraft maintenance as well as inspections so that your airplane stays in a sound condition and delivers optimum performance while flying. An airplane is a complicated machine and needs to be serviced in several ways to ensure that every component of the aircraft is functioning properly.  

Both new and experienced aircraft pilots and mechanics need to realize the significance of properly carried out aircraft maintenance and repair. Tune-ups at regular intervals keep your flying machine free from any potentially life-threatening issues as well as fully operational. Following are some useful tips for proper aircraft maintenance, remembering which would help you keep your airplane at its peak safety status and operation. 

Tips for Aircraft Maintenance

1. Keep a Schedule for Regular Inspection 

According to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rules, all airplanes must undergo one inspection at the least each year. In case the aircraft carries people apart from the crew, additional inspections would be required by it, after every 100 hours of flight. Such inspections ensure the aircraft’s safety and airworthiness.  

For airplanes with heavy use, progressive inspections and checks are an option. They shorten the time between the regular inspections, however, the number of checks in the entire year are more. For example, a corporate airplane may undergo inspections and checks after every 25 hours of flight. A special approval is required for this schedule which cannot be transferred.  

Additionally, different inspection schedules may be required for individual components. For example, altimeters and transponders must be examined every 24 months. For emergency locator transmitters, the checking needs to be performed every 12 months, although they may not be inspected at the time of the required annual inspection. Inspections of all types should be considered while scheduling airline maintenance 

2. Determine Aircraft Maintenance Goals 

Aviation maintenance jobs include looking after the aircraft’s components and structure. The goal is balancing the cost of maintenance and inspections with optimizing the safety of the aircraft. Maintenance offers the opportunity to repair or replace worn-out components and parts of an aircraft before they fail. Aviation maintenance also offers chances to improve the aircraft’s design through modifications. 

While performing maintenance jobs, technicians should make sure to stay safe. They should employ a work platform which can help them work efficiently and minimize any risk of falls at the same time. Aircraft maintenance and repair should be a completely safe and secure process for technicians.  

3. Perform Component Maintenance 

Components need maintenance and checking on a regular basis through inspections for preventing failure. The most common reason behind failure of components is not simply age-related wear. It is, around 90% of generic components and parts failing by chance or slowly over time. To ensure the components have the maximum longevity, choose one of the three preventive maintenance methods. 

Hard time maintenance method is the least economical. This method involves replacing a component after it has reached the factory-determined lifespan. Functional inspections examine a certain operation of an aircraft part for verifying that they remain operational prior to replacing them. The most thorough method is functional verification. It examines a component’s all functions, especially the ones that may not be seen by the crew during a flight.  

Several steps must be followed for component maintenance. The primary step is regular repair and lubrication of worn-out parts. Operational or visual inspections can show whether any failure has occurred or not. Functional inspections help find indications of impending failure. The rate of failure should be predictable at this step. If not predictable, the component requires to be replaced or restored.   

4. Perform Structural Maintenance 

An aircraft’s structure is susceptible to damage through standard use and age. As a matter of fact, around 40% of an aircraft’s structural damage occurs because of “friendly foreign object damage” that is caused by ramps or maintenance. Checking for such damage and fixing it, alongside the damage resulting from fatigue and age, is included in structural maintenance program.  

5. Perform Regular Maintenance Checks 

For commercial airplanes, a set of maintenance checks are required by the FAA that include A, B, C, D, overnight, and preflight checks. The preflight check involves a walk around an airplane before each flight. The preflight check is aimed at looking for visual indications of wear and damage, especially to tires, brakes, and engines.  

Between the 100-hour flight inspections, airplanes must be provided with overnight maintenance. The check involved in overnight maintenance is far more thorough that includes checking the fluid levels – including hydraulics and oil – and other types of aircraft-specific maintenance jobs. The A check, conducted every 200 flight hours, needs another period of overnight maintenance. The check is focused on the aircraft’s interior. It ensures correct operation of hydraulics and air conditioning and proper lubrication of every system.  

The B check makes the final overnight aircraft check that involves torque tests and flight control tests. This check occurs every 400 hours. In C checks, the aircraft is taken out of commission for about 5 days. This check occurs after every 13-15 months. The C check includes a thorough evaluation of all flight systems and the engines.  

If more extensive aircraft repair is needed, or there’s a need to carry out the most thorough examination – the D check – the aircraft would be pulled from making any flights for around 30 days. The D check is conducted after every 2-5 years. It includes checking for and fixing any corrosion issues. In extreme cases, an aircraft may be required to be dismantled and rebuilt because of structural problems. If this occurs, the aircraft also needs to be painted again.  

Wrap Up 

Proper aircraft maintenance services, repairs, inspections, and routine checks are crucial for the safety of an aircraft and the people in it. They facilitate safe flying of an aircraft that improves the bottom line of an operator while providing protection and peace of mind to people. Additionally, aircraft owners should ensure that they conduct the mandatory aircraft upgrade like installing ADS-B (OUT) and FANS-1/A+ in their airplanes so that their planes comply with FAA regulations and deliver optimum performance. 

How TCAS 7.1 Updates Have Improved Flight Safety and Made Airspaces Safer

We cannot imagine modern aviation without considering flight safety and airspace protocols. NextGen Systems and evolving technology like TCAS 7.1 updates feature advanced automated data interpretation to help pilots with in-flight instructions. These are among the most essential elements of modern avionics engineering and airspace management.

However, many private aircraft in the US have not upgraded their flight navigation equipment in years. Leading US aviation companies like Boca Aircraft Maintenance, LLC provide TCAS 7.1 updates since 2012. However, few private aircraft owners keep their avionics up to date unless they fly internationally.

All aircraft must be equipped with a standard set of avionics according to NextGen Systems and EUROCONTROL Link 2000+ protocols. However, currently TCAS 7.1 is still most commonly used international system for navigating over regulated airspace. Avionics engineering companies like BAM can upgrade your aircraft according to these international mandates.

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