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Archive for the 'Maintenance' Category

Things you need in your hangar.

Saturday, June 15th, 2024

Several people that I know have recently become aircraft owners after renting for years. I have a list of things you need if you are going to work on planes but I never put together a list of things you should have in your hangar for keeping your plane clean and flying. So here it […]

Tool Bag Revisited

Wednesday, December 20th, 2023

I’ve been working with a couple of new owners and there are some tools that you must have when assisting your A&P on your plane. I put links to Ace Hardware, Harbor Freight, Michael’s for some items on sale now, but they probably won’t be on sale when you read this. I like to have […]

Annual with Discrepancy List

Monday, November 13th, 2023

We recently had an IA start working on the annual for our plane and then disappear for weeks at a time. After five months of evasions we finally insisted on getting an annual signoff with a discrepancy list. He claimed that wasn’t possible so we pointed him to this information. He finally provided an annual […]

100 hrs inspections Lycoming

Tuesday, July 26th, 2022

I have a Cherokee so this is useful information for me.

Save those old credit cards

Friday, July 3rd, 2020

You probably get plastic cards in the mail all the time from AARP, AAA, AOPA, and gift cards. Don’t throw them away, they are great for mixing epoxy or even just putting a glob of glue down so you can use a spatula to place it carefully where it goes. Old credit cards aren’t as […]

Keeping track of maintenance items.

Thursday, January 4th, 2018

I was talking to a new plane owner and he was wondering how you keep track of all the different times when you need to do inspections. The annual is pretty easy to remember, but other things often get out of sync with the annual. e.g. ELT, transponder check, IFR check, Aspen check. I suggested […]


Wednesday, January 3rd, 2018

While cleaning out the garage I found a five foot piece of angled steel that was purchased for some long-forgotten project. Rather than recycling it, I made chocks. I picked up some stretchy cord for 99¢ and cut the steel with my sawzall. A quick cleanup with a file and a couple of knots and […]

Bead Boxes for Storing Hardware

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

I don’t think I have ever mentioned how handy bead boxes are for storing the screws and bolts when taking apart a plane for the annual. I use 40% off coupons at Michaels to purchase these bead boxes. The 210 takes four—one for each wing, two for the interior. I also use a half-dozen salsa […]


Thursday, May 25th, 2017

I previously wrote about replacing the battery in an ELT. This post talks about testing the ELT at each annual or after battery replacement. §91.207 Emergency locator transmitters. (d) Each emergency locator transmitter required by paragraph (a) of this section must be inspected within 12 calendar months after the last inspection for—   (1) Proper installation; […]

How a magneto works.

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

If you ever wondered how a magneto works, you can stop wondering. There is no requirement to have the magnetos refurbished, but I always do when they have around 500 hours on them. It is fairly expensive, around $500 each depending on which parts need to be replaced. But is is much cheaper than new […]

Wobbly Tire

Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017

On takeoff last week, I noticed a lot of shimmy so I aborted the takeoff. We put the plane on jacks and it looked like this.

New Tools for My Toolbag

Monday, April 10th, 2017

After doing a bunch of oil changes under A&P supervision, I decided to give it a shot myself. There is not a lot of room for my big torque wrench and I don’t feel particularly comfortable using the rule of thumb method of ¾ turn past finger tight, so I bought this torque wrench specifically […]

Oil Change Notes

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

Before I changed the oil on the Cherokee and Cessna 210 I took pictures of the oil filter safety wire and drain plug safety wire so that I could make sure I got it right when I redid it. So for the next time, here is what they look like. Note how the wire is […]

ELT Battery Replacement

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

§91.207 Emergency locator transmitters. (c) Batteries used in the emergency locator transmitters required by paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section must be replaced (or recharged, if the batteries are rechargeable)—   (1) When the transmitter has been in use for more than 1 cumulative hour; or   (2) When 50 percent of their useful life (or, […]

Flavors of FAA Approval for Certified Aircraft

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

On one of the blogs I follow, a poster asked about installing a non-TSO’d part on an older aircraft. It is an interesting question, so I decided to write about it. Certified aircraft meet either the rules of CAR 3 or more recently CFR 14 Part 23. This is called the Type Certificate. In general, […]

Fuel Cell Venting

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

We are taught to check fuel vent lines for insect nests or other debris. You should also check the caps to be sure they are vented properly and tight. Not all caps are vented, for example all Comanche gas caps are non-vented. An Aztec cap, which is vented, looks like a Comanche cap and will […]

Annual misc stuff

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

Just finished the annual on the Cherokee yesterday. About 40 hours of my labor over three and a half days. The only thing that needed fixed was a loose alternator belt. It was the cheapest, quickest annual I’ve ever had. One thing that made it go faster was that I added a cordless screwdriver to […]

Tire Pressure

Friday, January 20th, 2017

One of the things that is often overlooked on a pre-flight is tire pressure. Sure, you look at the tires and the look right, but because of the thick sidewalls, even if they look right they may not have the correct pressure. I use use a good dial-type pressure gauge and I have heard that […]

Pre-Annual Maintenance Supplies

Saturday, November 5th, 2016

I’ve covered this in other posts, but just for my own use, I thought it would be nice to put together a list of things I need before starting the annual. Parts 032 gauge safety wire for Oil Filter Oil Filter Air Filter Spark Plug Gaskets Cotter Pins for Main Wheels Battery for ELT if […]

ADs, SAIBs, and SBs

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Airworthiness Directives (ADs), Special Airworthiness Information Bulletins, and Service Bulletins three ways in which information about aircraft safety is communicated to owners of aircraft. They are different things with different implications depending on which rules you are flying under. For general aviation aircraft that are flown under Part 91 of the FARs you must comply […]

New Tool for My Toolbag

Wednesday, June 29th, 2016

I’ve been somewhat paranoid about stripping screws and over-torquing so I have always used a ratcheting screwdriver when doing an annual. This time though, I decided to try an electric screwdriver. I spent way too much time comparing models and settled on this one by Black and Decker. It has a variable-torque clutch so you […]

Cessna T210L Annual: Part II

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Compressions Some mechanics like to do compression tests with a hot engine—that’s what the tester manufacturer recommends. My current IA does them cold. It can be done with one person, but I usually hold the gages write down the numbers. This time it took around 45 minutes. All of the compressions are OK but we […]

Cessna T210L Annual: Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins

Saturday, May 23rd, 2015

Most of the ADs on an older airframe should have been complied with by the time you do your annual. From time to time additional ADs are added. For example, in 2013 all Piper aircraft were required to comply with AD 2013-02-13 that required disassembly and inspection of the stabilator control cable. And sometimes there […]

Cessna T210L Annual: Part I

Wednesday, May 20th, 2015

I think that every aircraft owner should do at least one owner-assisted annual and preferably assist in the pre-buy inspection. One big reason is that if, for example, you get a bill for four hours to remove the magnetos, you will understand why it took so long. The other reason is that, if you have […]

Doing the annual in your own hangar.

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

I just completed two annuals in my own hangar and thought I’d write up the tools and materials that I needed. In addition to my 80% bag, which I’ve been using for around 20 annuals on my planes and on others, I found that there are some things that you need to have in your […]

Oil Change

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

I’ve changed the oil a bunch of times with my A&P but never on my own. After reading a long thread on Beechtalk about changing your own oil, I decided to give it a try on my Cherokee so I did some research first. There are differing opinions on using DC-4 to lube the gasket. […]

Corrosion Repair

Monday, February 4th, 2013

I have some minor corrosion and poorly painted spots on my Cherokee that my mechanic hasn’t been able to find the time to repair. I thought I’d do it myself so I looked online for instructions. This post is fairly detailed and matches what I’ve read elsewhere. I would suggest that you strip all the […]

Zinc Chromate

Friday, February 1st, 2013

I’m getting ready to do some minor refinishing of my airplane and went to Aircraft Spruce to order some Zinc Chromate. They offer two colors—yellow and green. My mechanic uses the yellow but I’ve noticed that the interior of planes is usually green. This site explains why. “Zinc Chromate was used as an anti-corrosive barrier […]

100 Hour Inspections

Friday, June 25th, 2010

There is a bit of confusion over when 100 hour inspections are required. Even AOPA is a bit confused. The FARs covering inspections are discussed in this post. The language covering 100-hour inspections needs to be read carefully. I can’t find the FAA opinion referenced in the following discussion, but it emphasizes the wording of […]

Electrical Theory – by Joseph Lucas

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Positive ground depends on proper circuit functioning, which is the transmission of negative ions by retention of the visible spectral manifestation known as “smoke”.. Smoke is the thing that makes electrical circuits work. We know this to be true because every time one lets the smoke out of an electrical circuit, it stops working. This […]

Logbook entry for GPS database updates. Update

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The FAR was updated in 2012 and I didn’t notice. The new rule still lets the pilot update the database but does not require a logbook entry since maintenance in not performed. §43.3 Persons authorized to perform maintenance, preventive maintenance, rebuilding, and alterations. (k) Updates of databases in installed avionics meeting the conditions of this […]


Friday, May 1st, 2009

Mousemilk Mousemilk is a special-use penetrating product. It good for freeing up frozen joints, etc. From their website “MOUSE MILK will dissolve rust, relieve friction and resist oxidation. MOUSE MILK has amazing creeping ability. Frozen nuts and bolts can be easily loosened and removed after allowing MOUSE MILK to creep down the threads and break […]


Sunday, May 25th, 2008

There are lots of specialized tools required for working on airplanes, but most of the time you just need a few common tools. Like most other areas the 80/20 rule probably applies. 80% of the time you need 20% of the tools. To minimize walking back and forth to the tool chest, and to make […]

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