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A Private Pilot’s Guide on How to Prepare for Spring Flying

While the air still may be cold, spring is right around the corner – and you know what that means – it’s time to pull the airplane out of storage and head back to the sky.  

In order to be safe and to make the most out of your springtime flights, consider these useful tips to prepare for the spring flying season.

Review Aircraft Maintenance Logs, Manuals and Checklists

The majority of pilots are going to have a tough time remembering every little detail of maintenance or winterization activities conducted in the fall. It’s also possible that there are maintenance and repairs that you put off last year that need to be completed now that it’s flying season. To stay safe in the sky, dive into the maintenance logs and repair records of your aircraft and get it serviced accordingly. Be sure to review the aircraft’s operating manual as well in order to make sure you are keeping up with recommended maintenance schedules.

Also, crack open your aircraft manual to refresh your knowledge about the aircraft and all its systems, weight and balance procedures, operating limitations, normal procedures, emergency procedures and performance. Take time to completely review your logbook, and remember to stow it somewhere safe, along with your other documents. Additionally, make sure your registration is up to date as well as your airworthiness certificate.

Lastly, locate any and all checklists that you need for pre-flight checks and the flight itself. Take time to review them and make sure all of these documents are accurate and up to date.

Check Your Aircraft for Structural Damage

If you’re lucky enough to be able to store your airplane in a hangar over the winter, then you’re probably in the clear for this point, but regardless, you should still closely exam the body of the plane for cracks, dents or other structural issues before taking off. Go over each seal and gasket, checking them for cracks or other signs of corrosion that can be caused by extreme temperature fluctuations. All intakes, ports and vents should also be inspected and cleared of any debris that has accumulated over the past several months.

Check Aircraft Components and Flight Systems

In order to protect your engine and extend the life of your plane, change the oil and flush the fuel system prior to flying. Replace the fuel filter, check the fuel tanks for moisture and corrosion, and remove protective vent covers. In addition, all fuel lines, valves, drains and gauges should be inspected for damage.

Test your battery health to determine whether it can live through another flying season, and check the leads for corrosion. Tighten the mount and ensure all of the electrical wirings are secure and operating properly.

Look over your tires carefully, as temperature changes can cause them to rot. If there is no rot and no need to replace your tires, restore the PSI to the specifications laid out in your aircraft manual, and inspect the brake system to ensure brake pads are in good condition.

The landing gear, propeller, wings and fins need to be cleaned and tested. Servicing these components is especially important for your safety, so consider hiring an aircraft mechanic to make any adjustments or repairs if you have any doubts in doing it yourself.

Prepare Your Cockpit

It has probably been several months since you sat in the cockpit of your aircraft, so it is important to make sure everything is optimized to your preferences. Spend some time in the cockpit to re-familiarize yourself with all the dials, buttons, and gauges. Make any adjustments that are necessary for your comfort and be sure to remove any possible distractions. Make absolutely certain that all items are secured and that nothing has been dropped that could later become a safety hazard. Take time to do a dry run with your checklist to prepare mentally for your first spring flight. Last but not least, take time to review airspace, frequencies and airports you might use so you are not trying to tackle this task mid-flight.

Now that you have prepared yourself and your aircraft, you can confidently spring back into the cockpit for hours of fabulous flying fun!

Are you ready to start flight school this spring?

Get in touch with the flight instructors at Inflight Pilot Training today.

We are a premier pilot training company serving the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. With a reputable training program and an extensive roster of highly skilled, certified flight instructors, it’s our goal to help you achieve the rating or certification you want. We can help you reach your goals – get in touch with our team of flight instructors to find out more.

For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.