How to Maintain Your Plane

Jason Erickson

Proper maintenance is the best way to protect your investment in your aircraft. There are many things to consider when your aircraft needs maintenance. First are the FAR’s (Federal Aviation Regulations). These are mandated minimum standards our government sets as operating rules. Any aircraft owner must follow these rules to fly legally.  

Next are the manufacturers recommendations. These come in many forms from service bulletins, service instructions, corrosion inspection programs, life limited parts status, to service kits. Unless an aircraft is operated for hire, manufacturers recommendations are just that: recommendations. Keeping an aircraft current per all their data can be daunting. This is where a good service station becomes worth every penny. Delaying maintenance over several years becomes more difficult and costly. The manufacturer’s recommendations intend to keep you in the air and reduce unscheduled down time. 

Keep accurate records for all maintenance performed on your aircraft. Maintaining your aircraft is not enough, accurate documentation in log books and work scope history are critical to a prospective buyer. Manufacturer recommended life limited part replacement, service bulletins, and recommended inspections are examples important things to document beyond your annual. 

Lastly, the reputation of the maintenance shop gives your documentation credibility. A freelance A&P mechanic can sign off a log book entry, but Joe the mechanic may not be known by your buyer. Many log books contain subjective entries and work is performed to meet the minimum requirements. A reputable maintenance shop will advise you on the safest repairs, not just the minimum requirements. Flying IFR at 8,000 feet is no time to second guess your decision about who did the maintenance on your aircraft.

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