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054 – A Very Special Guest… The “Savvy Aviator”

Welcome to the first interview on the Airplane Owner Maintenance Podcast!

Today’s guest is the “Savvy Aviator,” Mr. Mike Busch.

Thank you Mike, for taking the time to talk with us today!

Mike has 50 years of aviation experience, and has done all kinds of fascinating things in his career.  Listen today, for just a sample of some of those experiences.

Interesting quote from Mike:  “Borescopes never lie; compression tests lie all the time.”

Here’s a classic case of a time when the compression test lied, but the borescope did not:

Figure 3 in that article is a picture I sent to Mike years ago, and the compression test indicated above 60/80!  But the valve was obviously burning.

Connect with Mike and his services: – Main SavvyAviation website – Place to find all my articles, webinars, book, and lots more – SavvyAnalysis engine monitor data analysis platform (free!) – My Patreon page where folks can sign up as patrons of my writing – Link to my book “Manifesto” on Amazon

Read Mike’s Bio Here:

Check out the borescope Mike recommends:

This one is $199.98 on Amazon:

Vividia Ablescope VA-400 USB Rigid Borescope Endoscope with 180 Degree Articulating 8.5mm Diameter Probe


The following one is $289.98 on Amazon, and apparently includes equipment to use with iPad, iPhone, etc.

Thanks, Mike, for all you’re doing for general aviation!



053 – Things That Frustrate Airplane Owners About Maintenance

As an airplane owner, have you ever been frustrated by maintenance issues?  If so, listen to today’s episode.

If you’re an airplane owner, I bet you’ve had at least one or two very frustrating maintenance situations with your airplane… Today, we’re going to talk about some of these potential frustrations, and some ways to prevent, or at least minimize them.

Thank you, Kevin Greene, for leaving a rating and review for the podcast.  That really means a lot to me, coming from a fellow A&P / IA!

If any of you want to check out the company Kevin works for, you can find it at:

In today’s episode, we have voice messages from the following people:

Tom Martin:

Tom has become a great friend and encourager of the podcast… thanks Tom!

Bret Chilcott:

Bret is another great friend and encourager, AND he has agreed to having an interview with me for a future episode.  I look forward to sharing his story with you soon!  Be looking for that some time in the next month or so.

Nick Tarascio:

Nick is the CEO of Ventura Air Services in Farmingdale, New York.  He left me a message that led to a phone call, and a very interesting conversation.  Thanks Nick, for prompting me to think about today’s topic!

You can learn more about Nick and his company here:


At the end of today’s episode, I read an article that Nick wrote some years ago, that I thought was excellent.  Here is that article from May 12, 2015 that appeared in Business Insider:

So, after talking about things that frustrate airplane owners about maintenance, here are some recommendations:

  1. Be proactive so you are not surprised by maintenance bills.
  2. Establish healthy communication with your maintenance people.
  3. Don’t be abrasive and hard to get along with!
  4. Don’t settle for poor maintenance!  Expect excellence!
  5. If you’re buying an airplane, talk with Don Sebastian and Adam Sipe, the “Prebuy Guys.”

You can find them here:

And be sure to listen to their podcast:

Airplane Intel Podcast.

Thanks so much, to everyone who contributed in some way to this episode… I appreciate it so much!

Hey, if you’re reading this, could you do me a quick favor?  Click that tab over there on the right side of this page, and leave me a brief message.  I’d love to know a little more about you and what you’re doing in aviation out there!  Thanks!

One Last Thing:

This is not so much about aviation, but I have to share it with you guys.  I received my pre-ordered copy of a new book by Andy Andrews this past week, and it is a phenomenal book.  Whether you’re in aviation, business, sales, nonprofit work, ministry, education, government, or anything else, PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!  It’s called:

“The Little Things”

…Why You Really Should Sweat The Small Stuff

This book is packed full of out-of-the-ordinary ideas like, “How to compete in areas where most people don’t even know there’s a game going on.”

Thanks everyone, and I’ll be back with you on the next episode.

052 – The Post Flight Inspection

Have you ever had to cancel a flight because of an issue you wish you had noticed earlier?

 Listen to today’s episode for some ideas on how you can minimize the surprises when you go flying.


Here are a few other items in this episode:

  • Follow up to the recent episode about the Piper Cherokee charging system.
  • Main topic:  The Post Flight Inspection.
  • A very special announcement about an upcoming guest on the show.
  • A new segment I want to try for the show:  Interesting and Startling.
  • Some very nice people, and a great resource!
  • A gift for you that you might not be aware of…

Here are the old voltage regulator and overvoltage relay from the Piper Cherokee:










These two components were removed, and a new style voltage regulator was installed, one that has the over voltage protection built in.  Here is the new one, made by Plane Power:










Now for The Post Flight Inspection:

Listen in today, for some ideas about developing a specific “Post Flight Inspection” procedure for your specific airplane.

Also, find out about the jet we developed a post flight inspection for, years ago.

Special Announcement

I have an interview scheduled for later this month, for a future episode… listen today, to find out who that is… I think you will want to be sure to listen to that interview when it is published, probably later in March, or sometime in April.

Here’s a hint:  This guest was suggested by Joe Godfrey, who is the Director of Operations at Savvy Analysis, the amazing engine monitoring platform, for evaluating the operation of your engine in a graphic presentation.

Check it out at

Thanks Joe, for that recommendation!

Interesting and Startling!

Here’s the airplane that prompted this idea:  (It’s a really nice Piper Matrix.)









And here’s the note in the maintenance manual that got my attention:

“Warning:  Do not put fingers in holes of extended speed brake blades.  If power to the system is interrupted, the speed brake blades will close with sufficient force to amputate fingers.”

And here’s a video to show why this warning is there… in normal operation, the speedbrakes retract with normal speed, but if the circuit breaker is pulled, or the aircraft master switch is turned off, here is what happens:

Wow!  How about that for a startling video?!  I’m not sticking my fingers in there!

I’ll keep an eye out for more interesting and startling things to share with you. 

And, if you have something that might fit this category, please send it to me! or leave me a message here on the website.  Thanks!


Be sure to check out April and Reuben Zook, with the AD Toolbox.

Their website is  

They are exceptionally nice people, and this is a fantastic resource for doing AD research.


Finally, be sure to grab your copy of my free checklist for before and after your annual inspection… all you have to do is enter your first name and email, and I’ll send it right out to you.


As a result of today’s episode, I hope you will develop  your own personal post flight inspection procedure for your airplane, laminate it, and use it after your flights, so you can be better prepared for your next flight.

051 – Airplanes and Backup Systems – Are You Prepared?

Your airplane probably has some backup systems.

The question is, are you familiar with them, so that you can quickly use them in an emergency?

In today’s podcast, we are talking about backup systems, and how important it is to practice with them BEFORE you need them, so that when that out-of-the-ordinary situation arises, you will be prepared.

Here’s a Diamond DA-40 instrument panel with the G-1000 system in it.  So it has a backup battery that will operate the standby attitude indicator in the event of total electrical system failure.  However, that little red switch is safetied with copper wire.  So here’s an idea:  when you know the standby battery is due for replacement, right before you have that battery replaced, why not flip that switch, and get familiar with what happens…  then you can have the work done, and your A&P can resafety that switch with copper wire.  It’s just good to be familiar with all these backup systems BEFORE they are needed.







You can listen to today’s episode for a lot more information, but here are a few recommendations when it comes to the backup systems in your airplane:

  1. Don’t wait for an emergency to check your backup systems!
  2. Make yourself a checklist of the backup systems in your airplane.
  3. Develop a plan to regularly review this checklist, so you can stay current and familiar with the operation of each system.  (every 2 years at your flight review is probably not enough!)
  4. Plan a time soon, to do a ground run and test flight, for the specific purpose of checking the standby and backup systems.  It might be a good idea to take a safety pilot along!
  5. Develop a mindset of being prepared to use the backup systems, even though they are usually not needed.

AND, if you listen in today, you will find out what happened not long ago, that prompted me to record this episode!

Take care my friends, and have a wonderful week!


050 – Stuff You Don’t Want To See In Your Airplane’s Oil Filter

As an airplane owner, you are probably at least somewhat familiar with the task of cutting open the oil filter at an oil change.

It’s a routine part of airplane oil change.

But what should you look for, and how do you know when to be concerned?

In today’s episode, we discuss an issue that came up just the other day, that may end up requiring this engine to be removed for a teardown inspection.

Here’s what was found in this particular oil filter:









Perhaps you know right away what that orange stuff is.  If not listen to today’s episode to hear about it.

This filter came from an experimental airplane with a Lycoming engine on it.

This whole deal reminded me of an article that Mike Busch wrote for the April 2013 edition of Sport Aviation magazine, called “A Little Dab’ll Do Ya – In.”

In that case, some gasket-maker on a cylinder base was a factor in a Beech Debonair crash landing in a vineyard.

You can read this article here:

So, what can we learn from stories like this?

Here are a few things:

  1. Take a look at your engine and make sure you don’t have any silicone or gasket-maker that has been squeezed out between the cylinder bases and the crankcase, or between the crankcase halves.  Not sure what you’re looking for?  Check with your A&P.  (The cylinders need to be installed with all surfaces totally clean, with a new cylinder base o-ring, lightly lubed with the proper engine oil.  The crankcase halves need to be installed per the overhaul manual instructions, and not with any silicone or gasket-maker.)
  2. When you have a cylinder removed and reinstalled, make sure no silicone or gasket-maker is used at the cylinder base… just a new o-ring with the proper oil on it.
  3. When you have your engine overhauled, make sure no silicone is used between the crankcase halves, or in any other places it should not be.
  4. Be vigilant and keep learning.

Finally, I want to encourage you to check out this new podcast by Adam Sipe and Don Sebastian:

It’s called the “Airplane Intel Podcast” and you can find it on iTunes, and at

Let them know you heard about it on Airplane Owner Maintenance.




049 – Changing An Airplane Tire – Don’t Let It Explode!

As an airplane owner, you ARE approved by the FAA to change tires.

But be careful, because airplane tires can be bombs, if not handled properly.

ALWAYS get some one-on-one training before changing tires yourself.

And even after you’ve changed many tires, it’s so important to be extra vigilant and aware, and never allow yourself to become complacent.

Check out this video that demonstrates how dangerous an over-pressurized tire can be.

Here’s another website worth checking out to understand the potential dangers involved in changing airplane tires.

Listen to today’s episode for some valuable information on changing tires on small airplanes.

But remember, this is NOT A TUTORIAL!

You are responsible to get your own training and to keep your airplane airworthy.

Changing tires on small airplanes is simple, but it demands proper training, as well as full attention and respect.

Here are a couple other videos I found that might be helpful with changing tires:

And as that previous video reminds us, don’t forget to do the paperwork when you’re finished.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode.  You can comment on the website, or leave me a voice message.  See that tab right over there to the right?  Just click it, and record.  Then you can listen to your message before you send it.  It’s about that easy!  Thanks!

And of course, you can always email me.

Have a great week!

048 – Can You Help Me With an Electrical Charging System Problem?

Today is a little different .

Instead of me just sharing things with you that I hope will be helpful, I’m asking for your help here.

But first, in today’s episode, I clarified something that I talked about in a previous episode… the one about the simple alternator inspection.

And then, for today, find out about an issue on a Piper Cherokee, that has been a nuisance for quite some time.  I’m asking for your help… have any of you experience anything like this?  Or if not, what about your mechanic?  If so, could you let me know?  Either send me an email at, or leave a comment on the website.  Some of the best ideas could appear on a future episode.

One cool thing about this whole thing, is that as I was preparing for this episode, I ended up doing some online research, and I think I now know what the problem is with that charging system… time will tell if my idea is accurate, or not.

Happy New Year everyone!  It’s 2017!

047 – Airplane Owners Beware of Nosegear Damage Caused by Towing Equipment!

As an airplane owner, do you have your airplane moved around the airport by ground personnel, using power tug equipment?

If so, make sure it’s being done properly, safely, and competently.

And after listening to today’s episode, you may find yourself wanting to avoid power tugs on your airplane as much as possible.

After all, nosegear parts can be broken in a heartbeat if the steering limits are exceeded while towing your airplane.

Consider the nosegear on this Piper Archer that arrived at our airport awhile back:









Even an amateur detective could figure this one out.  The nosegear was turned past the steering stop (probably with some type of airplane tug,) and it broke the steering arm right off.  This piece is made of steel and is quite strong, so it took A LOT of force to do this!  Oops!

Moving airplanes around on the ground requires careful attention!

Whenever possible, have your airplane moved using a simple hand operated tow bar, and you can avoid what happened to this Piper Archer, and so many other airplanes.

Listen to today’s episode to hear some other stories about other airplanes… this is something that happens too frequently.

Check out this article about a gear up landing, probably due to nosegear damage by ground personnel:

So, here are a few recommendations for protecting your airplane’s nosegear:

  1.  Avoid the use of tractor-type tugs and golf cart type tugs, whenever possible.  It’s so easy to exceed the tow limits with these.

       2.  If you need to have your airplane moved with a tug, inspect the nosegear and steering system as thoroughly as possible before flying.

       3.  Also, after your airplane has been moved with a tug, check the operation of the steering system thoroughly… make sure it responds and turns well both directions, and there are no unusual noises.  We had an airplane in our shop the other day, that was recently purchased, and it was missing some steering hardware… oops!  Apparently, there had been some difficulty turning the airplane in one direction… no kidding!

       4.  Confirm that any required or optional steering limit placards are installed.  If they are unreadable, get new ones!

       5.  Remember, for retractable landing gear airplanes, the steering system is very much connected with the landing gear retraction system, so a problem with the steering system can cause a problem with gear retraction.  Make sure they are both in good working order.

Thanks for joining me today.

Happy New Year everyone!



046 – A Simple Alternator Inspection and a Christmas Greeting!









Electrical power… you need it in your airplane, especially for night flying and for IFR.

In light of this, you want to avoid surprise electrical problems, if at all possible.

So here is one simple inspection that you, as an airplane owner, can do yourself, to help verify that your alternator will perform reliably when you need it most.

Listen to today’s episode, and do this simple test, as shown in the following video:

If you see this condition on ANY of your alternator terminals, get it fixed ASAP!


Also for today, I want to wish all of you a merry Christmas!  My good friend Brian Holmes, released this video this week on his website at and since he did such a fantastic job, I thought I would share it with all of you.  This is totally worth 17 minutes of your time!

045 – An Unlikely Oil Leak on a Cirrus SR-22




This is not the actual airplane that had the oil leak,

but it was similar to this one.




Oil leaks.

They’re aggravating.

They’re frustrating.

And sometimes, they’re hard to figure out.

But as an airplane owner, you will probably deal with an oil leak at some point in your flying career.

So it’s good to be prepared, and to know what to look for.

And sometimes, to be prepared to notice something out-of-the-ordinary.

Which brings us to today’s episode, and an oil leak situation I’d like to share with you… and hopefully, it will make you more prepared the next time you need to figure out where your oil leak is coming from.

Listen to today’s episode to hear the story of an oil leak that caused a Cirrus pilot’s wife to ask, “What’s that mud on the tail?” after they landed at our airport recently.

It turns out the “mud” was a serious oil leak… and I bet you would not guess where it was coming from.

Here are a couple pictures… take a look and see what you think.

This is a rare place for an oil leak, but it does happen occasionally.

Can you figure out what happened by the pictures?  If not, listen to today’s episode.








Thank you Dustin Cluff, and Ashley Blythe, for leaving a rating and review in iTunes… I appreciate that so much!

And, if others of you could leave a rating and review in iTunes, I would be so grateful!  Also, if you leave your real name in the text of your review, I will be happy to give you a shout out, and recognize you in a future episode.  You can also leave a website you would like other airplane owners to know about, it you like.





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