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General Aviation Aircraft Maintenance

Our general aviation maintenance tips help you preserve the airworthiness of your aircraft. Get advice on everything from how to keep an older aircraft flying to advanced engine maintenance techniques. Trust our general aviation maintenance articles to help you improve your mechanical skills.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Engine Break-In: It's Easier Than You Think

A proper engine break-in can go far in encouraging long engine life, low oil burn and reliable service

Engine Break-In: It's Easier Than You Think Perhaps more than some aviators, I'm often reminded how essential good mechanical work is on an airplane.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Caring For Your Aircraft

Part V: Understanding your aircraft’s battery is simple, useful and important

Caring For Your AircraftThe aircraft battery is a seldom-noticed and somewhat-ignored component of the machine’s life-giving systems.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Caring For Your Aircraft

Part IV: From selecting the correct grade to changing it at correct intervals, knowing your oil is important

Caring For Your AircraftOil is to an aviation piston engine what blood is to the human body: a crucial element in keeping it alive.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Upgrade Your Plane! Part III

Firewall forward—life after TBO

Upgrade Your Plane! Part IIIWhen purchasing an aircraft, the selection criteria usually relate to mission capabilities such as seating capacity, speed, range, weather capabilities, etc. Consequently, the first engine-related decision that most aircraft owners make comes at TBO (time between overhauls).
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Airplanes, Cars—What’s the Difference?

What you need to know, on the road and in the air

airplanes vs carsWhat’s the difference between car (or motorcycle) engines and aircraft engines? It’s a perennial question with a series of stock answers, none of which is sufficient.
Friday, June 1, 2007

I Need A Price Check On Runway 6, Please

User fees have the potential to significantly change the way we fly

I Need A Price Check On Runway 6On February 5, 2007, President Bush released his 2008 fiscal year budget. Fears of how the budget would affect aviation came to fruition with a proposed budget cut of $1 billion off of the present funding level of $14.3 billion. A week later, the government declared that they’d be looking for a closer matching of costs to benefits; additionally, they recommended increases in the fuel tax and the implementation of several user fees. To make matters worse, if the budget goes through as presented, general aviation will be at war with commercial aviation about who and how much each side will have to pay for the right and privilege to fly. And the clock is tickling—funding for the FAA expires on September 30, 2007.
Tuesday, August 1, 2006

How To Keep Older Aircraft Flying

A new proposal offers some hope for owners of America’s aging aircraft fleet

How To Keep Older Aircraft FlyingIt’s a sad state of affairs when it’s far easier for older pilots to have new knees installed in their vintage bodies than to have new fuel valves installed in their vintage airplanes. It’s, however, becoming an unfortunate reality, as the general aviation fleet grows progressively older and accessing “approved data” becomes more difficult. But now a glimmer of hope is on the horizon for those owners who wish to safely and legally maintain and upgrade their antique, classic and vintage airplanes.
Thursday, December 1, 2005

How Old is Too Old?

A number of recent airworthiness directives for the general aviation fleet seem to be directly related to the aircraft’s age and flight time. So when is it safe to fly an aging plane?

How Old Is Too OldIn just the last few years, a series of T-34s, the military equivalent of a Bonanza, have suffered wing separations. An emergency airworthiness directive (AD) grounded the fleet. Just a couple of months ago, a well-maintained T-6, a World War II trainer, lost a wing doing maneuvers over Florida. With the general-aviation aircraft now averaging just less than 30 years of age, how can you tell if an airplane is safe to fly?
Monday, November 1, 2004

Money-Saving Maintenance

A forum of experienced A&P mechanics and IAs pass along tips to preserve the value and airworthiness of airplanes in the most cost-effective way

Money-Saving MaintenanceThose pilots who have ever found themselves paying huge chunks of money on maintenance bills know that they can get quite expensive. What most people don’t realize, however, is that there are other simpler and less expensive ways to save on aircraft maintenance bills—and it all starts with the aircraft owners and operators themselves.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Just Tires?

Very few pilots realize how important they really are

When we were student pilots, we were told to check the tires for condition and inflation before each takeoff. But as we progressed in our flying careers, some of us have taken tires for granted. Sure, we’re careful to check the “important” stuff—engine oil, fuel, headset batteries and radios—but we keep tires on a second-class status, merely glancing at them to make sure that they’re all accounted for and aren’t flat.