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Thaw Out From The Freeze: Aircraft Maintenance Checklist For Spring

Believe it or not, winter is slowly coming to a close – and you know what that means: it’s time to make a visit to your mechanic for a proper aircraft maintenance checkup. The importance of thorough inspection can’t be overstated when taking the plane out of storage or out of the cold. Now is the right time to fix any lingering issues and uncover any new problems, so you can have confidence taking off on your first flight of the year. In order to help, let’s cover a few of the most important tasks, and break those down even further into a helpful checklist so you can feel comfortable knowing your plane is ready for a warm-weather flight.

Review Airplane Maintenance History

Unless it’s brand new, your aircraft likely has an extensive list of maintenance records. The first thing you should do this spring after shaking off the snow is to review these records to understand any work performed before it went into storage, to prepare for an upcoming inspection or new FAA directive, or start any previously delayed repairs. Get this stuff out of the way now, before you end up grounded and waiting for long-term repairs during the best months to fly.

Scope Out Damage From Winter

Take an overview of the airplane’s health, closely scanning the exterior, interior, and mechanical components for any signs of obvious damage. If you’ve kept your plane outside in fluctuating temperatures and moisture, you may see some damage to paint jobs, leaks in the cabin, or corrosion on engine components. Identifying these will give you some solid points to bring up with your mechanic.

Change Airplane Oil

Whether you followed recommendations to change the oil before storing it for winter, you should also change the oil once it’s taken out of storage. This is crucial before taking the plane up since old, acidic oil can cause corrosion in internal systems and the pitting of mechanical modules. When rust mixes with oil, it causes severe damage to your aircraft’s engine.

Check Fuel System

Another important component that can be affected by cold weather is your fuel system. It’s also relatively easy for a non-mechanic to check out. First, remove the filter to clean or replace it, then check fuel tanks for moisture. Inspect your fuel lines, gauges, straps, drains, and valves for damage, and remove pitot and static vent covers. Flush your system to prevent pricey fixes in the future.

Check Electrical Systems & Battery

You need more than fuel and oil to get your plane back up and running. Make sure to go over the electrical components, including the battery. You should be doing this every 50 hours or so, but spring is also a good time to test battery power and implement a replacement if needed. 

Test Flight Components

Make sure you’re using a critical eye when looking over important flight components like landing gear, propellers, wing flaps and tail components. Anything that doesn’t seem to be operating properly may need closer inspection by a professional mechanic.

Detail Your Airplane

Pick up some trusty airplane detailing supplies and get to work cleaning your aircraft inside and out. Give it a wash to clear any debris that’s accumulated over the course of the winter, degrease, polish and wax the outside to protect your paint job all year round. In the cabin, treat any leather or vinyl components with specialized cleaner, vacuum the floors and wash the windows – now you’re ready to take off into flying season!

Spring Aircraft Maintenance Checklist

  • Review aircraft maintenance history.
    • Start repairs that have been delayed.
    • Identify any upcoming inspections or directives.
  • Inspect for cold-weather damage.
    • Check the exterior for ice damage to the paint job.
    • Check the interior for leaks.
    • Check the engine for any obvious signs of moisture damage.
  • Change engine oil to prevent corrosion build-up.
    • Flush and replace oil with a fresh batch.
  • Inspect fuel systems to ensure all components are healthy.
    • Fuel gauges and other meters are delivering accurate levels.
    • Fuel tanks do not contain corrosion-causing moisture.
    • Fuel lines and valves are not leaking or damaged.
    • Fuel drains are clear of debris.
    • Fuel tanks and straps appear in good condition.
  • Check the landing gear.
    • Inspect tires for low pressure, uneven wear, or bald spots.
    • Inspect brake assemblies and struts.
  • Test flight components to ensure all are working properly.
    • Flaps.
    • Elevator.
    • Propeller.
    • Landing gear.
  • Clean the airplane.
    • Wash, degrease and wax exterior.
    • Repair any damage to the paint job.
    • Clean interior floor, seats, panel, glass windows and cargo holds.

Are you searching for a crew to help you with spring aircraft maintenance?

Get in touch with the professional team of mechanics at Inflight Aircraft Maintenance, and take care of your airplane’s issues today. Based in Minneapolis/St. Paul, we’re known for getting the job done in a timely, cost-effective, and customer-focused manner. We’ll work with you to solve every problem, no matter how large or seemingly minuscule. From 100-hour inspection to spring battery inspections to fuel system repairs and everything in between, we’ll help you keep your aircraft in tip-top shape long into the future. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or a beginner, we’ll make sure that your plane is in the best shape possible for a fair price – if you’re interested in learning more about aircraft maintenance services, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.