You might have read this here or in one of the magazines I write for already, but i feel it is very important to remind owners to not ignore their aircraft.
exercising your aircraft...anytime of the year!
Winter is the hardest for the northern states. But no use is bad anytime. The worst thing you can do is just let it
sit! The following tips are a few basics
to get you started. Talk to your
mechanic for more details and further recommendations.
will tell you the not to let your aircraft sit without running. If you can't fly the aircraft at least 30
minutes to an hour a month, at least ground run it.
But don't just
run it for a couple of minutes and put it away.
You need to run it long enough to bring the oil temperature and cylinder
head temperature up to the green arcs. This
will keep the upper part of the engine lubricated and free of moisture and
corrosion. It's also important to change
your oil at least every six months. Oils
can develop acids and other contaminants that are hard on the engine. Another benefit of running the aircraft is it
will allow the gyros to spin up and keep the bearings from pitting.
Fuel systems need
special attention. Make sure that you
keep the fuel tanks full! If there is
very little room for air, there will be less moisture and less chance of water
in the fuel system. And for those owners
with bladder tanks, it helps to keep the bladders from drying out.
What happens if
you have water in your tanks? Some mechanics
rule of thumb is to add about 10 ounces of isopropyl alcohol to every 20
gallons of fuel. Don't get carried
away with the alcohol. More is not
always better. Too much alcohol will attack
the rubber parts in the fuel system. Why
use isopropyl alcohol? Methanol only
mixes with the water and keeps it from freezing, while isopropyl combines with
the water making it light enough to move through and out of the fuel
Another thing you
need to do is keep your batteries charged or remove them from the
aircraft. When a battery goes low it can
freeze and break. Not a problem if you
live where it stays warm all year. Of
course, a dead battery it is still a problem, wherever you live.
forget that the brakes and wheel bearings draw a tremendous amount of
moisture. If you leave an aircraft
parked, the lowest most humid location is around the wheels. If you have a tail wheel aircraft it is
especially important to check these areas before flying. Cleaning and repacking is essential on a
regular basis. The grease or lubrication
is the only thing that is going to keep the moisture out of the bearings.
Other areas that
need to be worked and lubricated regularly are radios, doors and controls. When you think about all the things that
might need repaired or replaced because you didn't "work" your
aircraft, it can get pretty expensive. In fact, it usually ends up costing more than
if you just went flying!
Labels: affordable flying, aircraft, aircraft maintenance, aircraft ownership, aviation insurance, flying