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What preventative maintenance do you do to your C of A aircraft between checks

I’m interested in what owners/operators of complex SEP C of A aircraft feel are valuable and allowable areas of preventative maintenance on a C of A aircraft between checks besides the usual cleaning/tyres etc. I gather lubrication of the retractable gear is one area, but any other suggestions would be really interesting to know of.

United Kingdom

If you mean between the 50hr checks, it is

  • checking oil
  • visual inspection of anything possible
  • checking the electrics work
  • checking the alternator charge drops out when the rpm is reduced to a specific value (1100rpm for me)
  • tyres
  • control surfaces secure and linkages ok
  • antennae ok
  • prop (nicks, grease leaks, hub cracks)

so basically what you do on a preflight.

If you mean between Annuals, it is the above plus the 50hr check, which is

  • a full visual around the engine (e.g. chaffing wiring, anything loose)
  • leaks (oil leaks, exhaust leaks, fuel leaks)
  • greasing everything, especially the landing gear
  • oil change (strainer checked, sample sent for analysis, oil filter cut open)
  • stuff I can’t remember now…

Each time you note discrepancies and fix them at the earliest opportunity.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

The biggest thing in preventative maintenance you can do is hangar your aeroplane. That’s a bitter pill for many people to swallow as hangarage is not available to them. I guess flying it often would be a close second. You mention retractable undercarriage, owning a set of jacks would be ideal too. Something hangared and regularly flown is miles ahead already.

You can learn little bits as you go, or depending on your hunger offer yourself up to a maintenance provider FOC to help out. If you are really interested in your aeroplane go see it with all the panels off in maintenance. Buy a really good LED lenser torch, some Snap On screwdrivers and understand what’s under the cowling and how to remove and refit the cowling. Learn the difference in all the screws and fasteners on your airplane. Where do mushy #8’s go and where do the CSK#10’s go? Get someone to show you how to check your around an engine, for example;

- Is the exhaust cracked, loose or blowing by…
- Are induction hoses cracked/perished and do they need a nip…
- Are leads chaffing…
- Are baffles seating correctly…
- How tight is the alternator belt…
- How to check for leaks on things like injector lines and primer lines…

Let your curiosity expand from there. I used to be a complete idiot who knew nothing about my first shareoplane and I had to call “the man” to fix everything. Now if you said we have to take the wing off, the fuel tank out or put the aeroplane in a container I wouldn’t bat an eyelid. I also used to be a complete ignoramus about my boat, John Deere and Toyota too. Now I’ve fixed each of those when they let me down. I live in awe and respect of my IA/LAE friends, but if we were in a plane broken down somewhere I’d want to at least know what was wrong and what we would need to fix it. Developing this insatiable curiosity for all things mechanical in your aeroplane helps you spot things such as cables crossing, turnbuckles not locked, flaps asymmetrically set or circuit breakers shorted out to pick some recent examples for me.

Edit – Typo

Last Edited by WilliamF at 04 Sep 22:32
U206F, J3 Sea, PA32R & others

WilliamF wrote:

The biggest thing in preventative maintenance you can do is hangar your aeroplane

Agreed but not a lot of hangars about and of those that are the biggest issue is internal dampness, leaking roofs and hangar rash. The nirvana is your own shed, on your own strip, but these items are like hens teeth. The shed to be kept at optimum temperature.

It is very difficult, a bit like storing your classic sports car, or your super yacht. Example, I have a yacht and the front teak deck has lifted giving me a headache and water ingress. Put it under cover, yes but the sheds are giant damp buildings. Put it to a warmer climate, yes but the sun dries it out and causes a lot of damage in turn causing more difficulty. I spoke to a boatbuilder who said not worth fixing it if you keep it in the UK. It is impossible to keep these things intact if you live in western UK.

Problem with owning things. Nice issues if you do not let it get you down and you have the money to fix it all.

My take is to ensure that the aircraft is well lubed, greased and rust protected. Look after the corrosion as it arrives, which it will.

Last Edited by BeechBaby at 05 Sep 11:32
Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow
Apart from hangarage and regular flying:

- installation of an engine monitor and uploading all data to
- oil and filter change/check every 25-30 hrs i.s.o. every 50 hrs
- oil analysis
- preheating the engine (and avionics) in winter
help a lot in prevention (or early identification) of problems

United Kingdom

A hangar performs many functions;

- Keeps the rain off the aircraft which is not a watertight item (unlike a car)
- Keeps UV light off the A/C
- Stops the wind from damaging it
- Stops birds in so much as is possible

Our one doesn’t change the humidity as it is not sealed or heated. I spoke to a guy with a TBM, own hangar and strip and complimented him on the entire outfit. He simply replied “if I left my bike outside it would rust” and he is indeed correct. If you take an aeroplane that was indoors and leave it out for six months you will notice the difference. I see lines of Cessna’s outside, no blanking plugs in the tops of the wings. That’s about 8 holes for water to get in. Worst of all is water pouring in on the aileron bellcrank and it corrodes in there. You can’t easily fix a lot of corrosion after the event. To remove the corrosion above the door where the wing roots are, we had to de-rivet the skins which was only possible with the wings off. On a little 150 there, I had the vertical stab attach brackets off which looked fine as they painted over but underneath was manky. I’ve got pics of both on my phone. Also worth mentioning sheet metal guys can be moany gits who make a massive mess!

ACF 50 also would be right up there on a must-have list. It’s a minor miracle in a bottle.

U206F, J3 Sea, PA32R & others

A hangar does change the relative humidity – because it is warmer than the outdoors. If say the outside is +10C and rain, the RH is close to 100%. If the inside of the hangar is say +12C then the RH will be much lower (there are tables for working it out) and you no longer have moisture condensing on surfaces so readily.

Also you need a hangar for any nontrivial work, especially if it is bad wx. For landing gear work it is essential, for jacking up. Not really under the subject heading though

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

“Stops birds in so much as is possible”
Provides perches and nesting sites above your aircraft, if doors are frequently left open.
Agree with other advantages, and regard hangarage as essential.

EGPE, United Kingdom

Thanks guys, thats great information. The aircraft fortunately does live inside and gets cleaned/polished/flown regularly. Some good food for thought for expanding the cosseting though thank you!

United Kingdom

Maoraigh wrote:

Provides perches and nesting sites above your aircraft, if doors are frequently left open.

Forms clouds indoors where your aircraft is wetter inside the shed than out. When they do not open the doors.

Protects it from the wind though, and yes, that was stated to me with the clause in the agreement that it was not a hanger, it was a large shed which just happened to store aeroplanes

Last Edited by BeechBaby at 07 Sep 21:21
Fly safe. I want this thing to land l...
EGPF Glasgow
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