According to the latest reports, a very small percentage of Americans own planes of their own. Many, even the very wealthy, prefer more economical options like chartering or using a jet card membership program.
If you are one of the few who is lucky enough to have your own plane, though, you ought to do everything you can to keep it in good working order.
Not sure where to begin when it comes to aircraft maintenance? Listed below are some essential tips every plane owner ought to know.
Common Aircraft Maintenance Mistakes
Before we dive into the specific steps you ought to take when caring for your plane, let’s touch on some common mistakes new aircraft owners make. Avoiding the following mistakes can save you a lot of time and money and allow you to fly your plane with ease whenever you want:
No Maintenance Plan
You should always have a maintenance plan in place for your aircraft as you do for your cars.
You ought to know when services and inspections should happen, and you should also have time blocked off to take care of other maintenance tasks, such as cleaning and oil changes.
If you don’t have a plan, it’ll be easy for you to let things fall by the wayside, which could end up shortening the lifespan of your plane.
Skipping inspections is a common failure among aircraft owners. They might forget when inspections need to happen, or they may assume that they’re not necessary because everything “seems” fine.
Regular inspections can save you a lot of time and money later on.
During an inspection, the inspector can determine whether anything is wrong long before you start to notice symptoms. This, in turn, means you can take care of issues right away and prevent serious and costly problems from occurring.
Missing Oil Changes
Oil changes are another essential step to take if you want to keep your plane in good condition.
In the same way that you need to change the oil in your car on a regular basis, you also need to change the oil in your plane. Failing to do so could lead to serious mechanical issues and could have a negative effect on its fuel economy.
Essential Aircraft Maintenance Tips
Now that you know what not to do when it comes to maintaining an aircraft, let’s go over what you should do. Here are some basic steps everyone ought to take to maintain their aircraft and ensure it always runs smoothly:
Schedule Regular Inspections
Start by making sure you have inspections scheduled at regular intervals.
Consult your manual or talk to a maintenance specialist to find out how often you need to have it inspected and what kind of inspections are required. Then, write them down on your calendar or have your assistant schedule them for you.
That way, you’ll know that they’re planned for even if you happen to forget about them.
Keep the Inside Clean
If you want your plane to look good and last as long as possible, make sure you have the inside cleaned on a regular basis. Take good care of the seats, the carpets, the console, and all other aspects of the interior.
This might seem tedious or unnecessary at first, especially if you don’t fly your plane very often, but you’ll be glad you did it (or hired someone else to do it) when your plane remains in pristine condition for years after you purchased it.
Clean the Exterior
In addition to cleaning the interior, make sure you’re also keeping the exterior clean. Use a pressure washer to get into all the nooks and crannies and keep it sparkling clean in between uses. This will help to preserve the beauty of the plane and make it more appealing to buyers should you decide to sell it later.
Use Clean Fuel
Make sure the fuel for your plane is always clean, too. It’s especially important to test the color and quality of your fuel before every flight. Doing this will ensure a smooth flight and keep your plane running smoothly.
If you don’t know how to check the fuel in your plane, ask a mechanic to teach you or have them check it for you before you take off.
Schedule Regular Services
In addition to scheduling regular inspections, it’s important to also schedule regular services. This will help you stay on top of things like oil changes, cleaning appointments, and other maintenance tasks that you might not have time to do.
Schedule them into your calendar or have your assistant do it so that too much time does not pass in between these services.
Check the Tires
Don’t forget to check the tires (or have them checked) at regular intervals.
If you want to have safe take-offs and landings, you need to have tires that are in good condition (this means proper pressure without too much wear and tear).
Change the tires when necessary, or have someone change them for you, to ensure they’re always ready for flight.
A key rule of proper aircraft maintenance is to act fast. As soon as you notice something with your plane that seems a bit off, contact a professional to get the problem diagnosed.
The sooner you have your plane repaired, the less likely you are to have a serious issue on your hands. This can also save you money and time in the future and ensure your plane runs in the most efficient way possible.
Start Focusing on Aircraft Maintenance Today
As you can see, there’s a lot you need to keep in mind when it comes to aircraft maintenance and making sure your plane is always fit to fly. If you follow these guidelines, though, you shouldn’t have any trouble maintaining your aircraft.
Don’t forget to check out some of our other aircraft-related articles today. Whether you’re looking to save money on a plane or want to see what other folks like you are flying, we’ve got lots of great resources for you to peruse.