Owning and operating a personal airplane is an extraordinary experience. There is nothing quite like soaring through the skies and getting a bird’s eye view of the world below you. It is exhilarating, breathtaking, and downright addicting. As soon as you land, you will be planning your next flight. It will be hard to keep your feet on the ground.
As an airplane owner, you have a lot of responsibilities on your hands. Taking care of your airplane is much different from taking care of a car. It will require a lot of routine maintenance and possible upgrades. All of the maintenance and upgrades will keep you safe in the air, extend the life of your airplane, and they will also bring a higher resale value if you ever decide to put your plane on the market. Your airplane is an investment, and in order to protect your investment, these things have to be done.
Federal Aviation Regulations
In order for your plane to legally take flight, it must meet a very specific set of rules that have been created by the United States Government. Many pilots see this set of rules as the minimum standard to fly safely. Not only do you put your own life on the line by violating these regulations, but you also put innocent bystanders in harm's way.
To say there is a list of Federal Aviation Regulations would be an understatement. There is practically an entire manual, but luckily this manual refers to every type of airplane that can be legally flown.
For example: An acrobatic airplane will have an entirely different set of regulations than a transport airplane. Knowing which regulations are designed for your specific type of aircraft is important.
The regulations also cover very specific parts of the aircraft. Propellers, engines, titles and security documents all have their own set of rules, and they should.
If you plan on flying, your airplane must at least meet the Federal Aviation Regulations.
Manufacturers have guidelines too
Airplane manufacturers want to keep their planes in the air. It just makes good business sense. In order to do this, airplane manufacturers have regular recommendations, instructions, and service kits that are released at regular intervals. Many pilots will review all of this information as strictly a recommendation, and not always necessary to keep an airplane in the air.
Manufacturer’s suggested maintenance
Maintenance is a completely different story altogether. Manufacturer’s suggested maintenance should not be ignored. These suggestions are designed to keep your airplane safe at all times. The longer these types of suggestions are put off, the more expensive the maintenance will become.
Keeping accurate records
Accurate records will tell a person everything about an airplane. In order to get the most from your aircraft, everything that happens to it should be recorded in a log book. This book should include: all regular maintenance, aviation components that have been replaced, service bulletins, inspections and anything else that has been done to extend the life of the aircraft.
Look at it from a buyer's perspective. Would you buy a used aircraft without a detailed log book, which listed all of the repairs and maintenance performed on the airplane during its lifespan? Probably not.
Use a reputable maintenance company
In some situations, using a reputable maintenance company can be just as important as keeping fuel in your plane. When someone is looking over the log books and sees the name of a reputable airplane maintenance company they know all of the work went above and beyond basic recommendations. A reputable airplane maintenance company will not use cheap parts from an unknown electronic components store. They would only use high quality aviation components that are trusted standards throughout the industry.
Following these simple steps will keep your airplane in tip top shape. There is nothing worse than second guessing a replacement part when you are over 5,000 feet in the air.
About the Author:
Frank Lane has been flying airplanes as a hobby for over 10 years. He is planning on penning several books on flying when he retires in just a few years.