Airplane Owner Maintenance

A Maintenance Oriented Podcast For Airplane Owners

Month: January 2016

011 – Oil Changing Basics For Airplane Owners

January 30, 2016

IMG_2885Ever thought about changing the oil and filter on your airplane?  If not, this might be a good time to think about it.

As an owner, you can do an oil change on your airplane, and sign off the work in your maintenance records… just take a look at the Federal Aviation Regulations.  In Part 43, Appendix A, item #23 on the list of approved preventive maintenance items says:

(23) Cleaning or replacing fuel and oil strainers or filter elements.

So, you can do this!  And if you listen to today’s podcast, perhaps you can pick up a few tips that will help you.

The main thing is, the first time you do this, get some help from someone who has experience in this task… this is absolutely the best way to get started.

A quick drain makes it easy to drain the oil.



My favorite safety wiring tools… listen to the podcast and find out what I do with each of these.



Example of a properly safety wired oil filter.


When you are looking for an oil filter cutting tool, the one on the bottom in this picture is much preferred, and far easier to use.

If you enjoyed this podcast, leave me a comment below.  And, if you have an idea of another topic you would like to hear about, let me know that as well.  I’d also be interested in any oil changing tips you might want to share as well.


010 – Aircraft Electrical Charging Systems

January 22, 2016

The condition of your charging system is a very important part of your airplane.

Today, we cover charging system components, possible issues and problems, as well as what you, as an airplane owner, can do to keep things functioning properly.

In this episode, I share some actual stories about airplanes that had charging system problems, and what was done to fix them.

We also talk about ways to efficiently troubleshoot charging system problem.

DEC 07 - FEB 08 067

This was an actual battery ground connection strap from an airplane years ago.  If you have anything like this connected to your battery, it’s time to get it repaired!

Finally, we end with 5 steps to ensure your airplane charging system is in optimal condition:

  1.  Check and clean battery connections and apply an anti-corrosion protectant.
  2. Check and make sure your alternator and its components are secure and not loose.
  3. Check your output voltage during engine operation (14 volts for a 12 volt system, and 28 volts for a 24 volt system.)
  4. If your alternator is belt driven, check the belt tension.
  5. If you have a charging system problem, consider having the alternator brushes checked, if they are accessible.

Thanks, and please, leave me a comment below (, and if you would like to hear about a specific topic, leave me a request for that, and I will consider producing a future episode to cover that topic.

Have a great week!

009 – Clean Up Your Maintenance Records!

January 15, 2016

Aircraft Maintenance Records…

Today, I talk about 7 tips for organizing your airplane’s paperwork and maintenance records.

  1.  Generate a concise, but complete, AD compliance record.
  2. Compute all applicable times for aircraft, engine(s), and prop(s).
  3. Organize maintenance records (logbooks) and separate the current ones from the old ones.
  4. Locate and organize all 337 forms.
  5. Go through the 337’s and make a list of the associated ICA’s (Instructions for continued airworthiness.)  Keep this information available at annual inspection time.
  6. Organize all 8130’s and parts tags.
  7. Designate a location for miscellaneous items.

PLEASE… leave me a comment at the bottom of this page.  Tell me what you would like to hear in future podcast episodes.  Or, ask a question you would like answered.

Thank you!

008 – Is That Landing Gear Down? … and other crazy things I’ve seen on Beeches

The teeth on the small gear in this landing gear motor were stripped off, requiring a very careful manual gear extension.  Listen to the podcast and see how it all turned out!DSCN1056

The gear motor attaches to the gearbox / drive assembly, which is an amazingly simple, but critical part of the landing gear system on Bonanzas, Barons, Debonairs, and Travelairs.

The red handle is for emergency extension.  The top 4-way arm is for the attachment of the main gear actuating rods and inboard door rods.  The bottom arm operates the nosegear rod.  (This one was not aligned properly on the shaft splines, and may have been a factor in stripping the teeth on the gear motor drive gear.)


A recent A36 Bonanza I inspected had the wrong part number brake caliper installed, which caused the brake to seize when new linings were installed.  (See how the new caliper has more depth available for piston travel,IMG_1899which gives proper clearance and operation of the brakes.)


Here is the difference between an old, rusty, stretched, main landing gear uplock spring, and a new one.  If yours look like the one on the left, it’s time to change them!  I’ve heard that if this spring breaks, there is the potential for punching a hole in the top of the wing.



Gear Motors:

If internal landing gearbox clearance cannot be achieved by adjusting the limit switches, the gear motor may need to be overhauled.  (If the motor is worn, the dynamic braking action may also be weak, and may not stop the gear quickly enough.)

Use caution and safety devices when putting airplanes on jacks, and running landing gear!  If an airplane lands on its nose, significant repairs will be required!


3 Recommendations if you own a Bonanza, Debonair, Baron, or Travelair:

  1.  Join ABS (American Bonanza Society.)  It is a fantastic organization.
  2. Take your airplane to a service clinic, and if possible, take your mechanic with you.
  3. Read the Landing Gear Rigging and Procedures book that was produced by ABS.  It will help you become more familiar with your landing gear system.


007 – A Must-Do Item Before You Buy a Piper Cherokee

Podcast Episode 007

January 1, 2016

Do you own a Piper Cherokee, or some other Piper model?  Are you considering buying one?  If your answer is yes, then you might want to listen to this episode!

One item that tends to be overlooked on Piper airplanes, is Service Bulletin 1006.  It is an inspection to be done each 7 years and requires removing the fuel tanks from the wings to perform it.


IMG_1052Removing the fuel tanks makes it possible to inspect critical areas on the wing spars for corrosion, something you want to find out about before you buy an airplane, not after.  (The corrosion in this picture is what led to changing the left wing on a Piper PA 28-140.)

Even though compliance with service bulletins may not be absolutely required like AD’s, this one is certainly worth doing.

Listen to today’s episode, and hear how this very service bulletin has had a direct impact on three specific airplanes.

Please… leave me a comment.  What question would you like answered on a future episode of this podcast?  It can be any question related to piston-powered airplane maintenance.

Thank You!