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Maintenance Recommendations

Jason Erickson

Jason EricksonFall is a nice time of year for flying. All the colors, mild temps and fall festival destinations around the tri-state area make for perfect conditions for a enjoyable time. Once the leaves fall and the cold rains start, flying is typically not high on the list. As your plane sits, (hopefully in a hangar) your battery is slowly draining, your oil with 20 hours on it is collecting moisture, and your windshield is collecting dust.

Personally, I have dealt with this matter and had a few times in which I regretted neglecting my ship. Floatplanes and landplanes have different concerns and share some of the same. Both suffer from slow draining batteries. You can attack this by installing a battery maintainer so you have full voltage for your next trip. Your oil should be changed at regular intervals to combat moisture and corrosion due to lack of use. You should put your winter fronts on soon and consider switching to multi-grade oil.

There are countless articles on the use of engine heaters but we all know the damage caused by cold starts. It may be time to think of installing an engine heater. Floatplanes should remove inspection covers and dry the bays of all water. Even small amounts of water can split suction tubes and large amounts of water can split bulkheads or even split skins.

Fall is a time to schedule any of your winter maintenance items with your provider and catch up on any of those items that have bothered you all summer. Large projects such as paint, interiors, avionics installations, annuals, or modifications are best completed in the off season. With all of us working ample overtime and juggling families, precious days in the summer need not be wasted with downtime.

I hope you all had a great summer and enjoy a safe fall flying season.

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