Read on if you would like to know the different types of aircraft maintenance services, how often your aircraft should be serviced.
If you are a pilot, private or commercial, chances are you have always dreamt of owning your personal aircraft. While you may think that the most demanding part of aircraft ownership is gathering the financial resources to acquire one, it is the maintenance that will require so much more of your attention!
However, you can rest assured, that if done well and in a timely manner, private aircraft maintenance is a breeze. As long as you are equipped with the right information and strictly follow your serving schedule, your aeroplane with seldom run into serious issues.
It is incredibly important to ensure that your aircraft is well-maintained and is being stored in a proper facility or hangar. Memberships to aero clubs such as Sherburn Aero Club can prove rather helpful in the maintenance process, thanks to the community of pilots and experienced aircraft maintenance engineers available to you with ease.
Private aircraft ownership is a relatively costly affair, and you must ensure that you have the supplemental funds to keep the aircraft well-maintained and serviced after you have purchased it. Otherwise, you risk the aeroplane decreasing in market value over time, which won’t leave it very appealing to potential buyers whenever you decide to let it go and buy a new one.
Do not let this deter you from owning an aircraft, since maintenance is very easy as long as the aeroplane does not become subject to neglect or rough handling. Read on if you would like to know the different types of aircraft maintenance services, how often your aircraft should be serviced, and the importance of a well-maintained aircraft.
MANAGING YOUR PRIVATE AIRCRAFT
If you are interested in owning an aeroplane, you should be aware of the fact that gathering the funds to purchase the aircraft is only half the work! Once you have acquired the aeroplane, it is your job to ensure that it is well-maintained and managed properly.
Before buying an aeroplane, you should be aware of the costs associated with servicing, have a hangar space arranged for the aircraft, and ensure that you have a licenced aircraft maintenance engineer on call in case you need any checks done.
Managing an aeroplane can cost quite a bit of money, which is why it is important to take the time to decide which form of ownership is best for you and plan out your monthly budget accordingly. If you do not feel as though you are prepared for the responsibility that comes with privately owning an aircraft, you may want to look into shared ownership or even consider renting one out of the club’s fleet on an hourly basis. However, the latter option is best only if you do not fly too frequently.
WHY DO YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR PLANE WELL-MAINTAINED?
Maintaining an aircraft is important for many reasons, which include safety as well as maintaining the aeroplane’s market value for the event that you wish to sell it and get another aircraft in its place.
Here are the reasons why you should ensure your aeroplane is regularly serviced and is kept in good condition.
If your aeroplane is not functioning properly due to some last-minute issues with its machinery, then it is certain that you will face delays. This may end up throwing your entire schedule off. When you are flying, even a fifteen-minute delay can become a huge problem, especially if there is a significant amount of traffic in the skies and the flights are scheduled relatively close together.
This is why you should ensure that your aeroplane is well-maintained and there is no issue before take-off. Not only will you be losing out on precious time, but you will also suffer financial losses in airfield costs, staff costs, and fuel.
Avoid the unnecessary expense and delays by keeping up with your maintenance schedule.
Making sure the plane is airworthy
Making sure your aeroplane is airworthy is a precondition to any flight you are taking. Airworthiness is a measure of whether the aeroplane is safe to take to the skies or not. It is necessary to ensure that the aeroplane will not be cause of harm to the pilot or those on the ground and can be flown safely.
A certificate of airworthiness is issued by a licenced aircraft maintenance engineer after a thorough inspection of the aeroplane. If the aircraft fails the inspection, then it will be deemed unfit for flight until the necessary servicing is done.
When travelling internationally, a certificate of airworthiness is a must-have, without which you would not be allowed to enter another country with your aircraft.
Taking an aeroplane that has not been deemed airworthy into the sky is not only hazardous but also may lead to prosecution since it is not a legal practice.
Maintaining the aircraft’s market value
Aeroplanes are assets, much like cars and homes. There is a high chance that, unless you fall absolutely in love with the aeroplane you have purchased, you will be selling it later in order to upgrade.
However, an aeroplane that has been poorly maintained isn’t much of an asset, since it may go down in value a little too much. If this happens, you will not be able to sell your aircraft for a good price and may end up incurring a loss.
Maintaining the aeroplane’s market value is very important if you wish to sell it forward, and maintenance is important in itself in order to ensure the plane is safe to fly. Treat your aeroplane like an investment and take care of it since it is sure to benefit you in the long term!
Saving money in the long term
It’s fairly simple, fixing a small bolt out of place will cost you much less to fix as compared to fixing an aeroplane’s damaged wing. If you make sure to fix minor issues, they will not turn into larger, costlier issues in the long run.
Constant wear and tear because of a nut or bolt out of place may lead to very big issues with major parts of the aeroplane like the engine, wings, or landing gear. This will lead to you being charged with a large bill if you end up going to the engineering services a bit too late.
You can save yourself a lot of money in repairs by being vigilant about small things out of place in the aircraft and rectifying the issue before it becomes a bigger problem. Remember, it’s always easier to stitch up a gash rather than amputate an entire limb!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF MAINTENANCE?
There are two main types of maintenance. Storage maintenance is the type that happens when the aircraft isn’t preparing for flight. Think of it as servicing a car that has been sitting in a garage. It may not have the same level of wear and tear as an aeroplane that is being flown around, but timely storage maintenance can help nip many issues in the bud.
This is the type of maintenance that happens when the aeroplane is preparing for a flight or after it has returned from a flight. When it is in regular use, the aeroplane is bound to require more maintenance.
The type of maintenance and how often it should be done is dictated by the aeroplane’s maintenance manual, which helps guide pilots when it comes to matters of servicing. These guidelines are different depending on the make and model of the aircraft. There are three main types of service maintenance, which are line maintenance, base maintenance and shop maintenance.
DIFFERENT KINDS OF SERVICE MAINTENANCE
This is the type of maintenance that will most easily come to mind when talking about aeroplane servicing. It happens when the aeroplane is being prepped for take-off by flight personnel, as well as the pilot and crew.
This is done to identify any obvious issues the aeroplane may have right before it is scheduled to take off and is part of the flight process.
Base maintenance is heavy maintenance that is more in-depth in nature. It is also not always possible for the flight personnel to perform this type of maintenance and may require the services of a certified aircraft maintenance engineer.
It is outsourced to engineering facilities and is not done as regularly as line maintenance.
This is the most in-depth and heaviest maintenance of the lot, and often involves opening up and taking apart the aircraft by licenced engineers who then work to fix whatever the underlying issues may be. This is carried out in the workshop and happens the least often.
This includes things like engine upgrades, checks of corrosion, cabin reconfigurations, and seat change as well as repainting.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOUR PRIVATE PLANE BE SERVICED?
Exactly how often an aeroplane needs to be serviced is dictated by the official Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) which is model specific. However, there are some general timelines that all aeroplane owners should be aware of.
This type of maintenance is referred to as servicing done on hard time since it follows a strict schedule that is either laid out in the AMM or is supposed to happen after a set number of flight hours, landings, or take-offs.
Maintenance when needed
On-condition maintenance happens when it is decided that a certain part of the aeroplane may need further inspection and servicing. It only happens on a need basis, depending on whether any part of the aircraft needs fixing or replacement.
This is the most efficient type of servicing since it is designed to pick out issues before they crop up. More modern aircraft come equipped with sensors that can detect when an aeroplane component may need fixing, which allows issues to be fixed before they get a chance to become serious.
HOW CAN YOU REDUCE THE COST OF MAINTENANCE?
Maintenance is unavoidable, but there are many ways via which you can avoid incurring too high of a bill the next time you go in to get your aeroplane serviced.
Signing up for shared ownership
This is a fairly straightforward way to save money. If the aeroplane is owned by a group of people rather than just one person, the responsibility of maintenance is divided amongst the co-owners. This ends up greatly reducing the cost of maintaining an aeroplane for one person, allowing them to reap the benefits of private aircraft ownership while also being easy on their pockets.
Each person in shared ownership is responsible for the aeroplane’s upkeep, so it is relatively harder for issues to go unchecked due to negligence because at least one person is bound to notice them and attempt to have them sorted.
Joining a flying club
Joining an aero club like Sherburn Aero Club is also a great way to cut costs when it comes to aircraft maintenance.
The first way this is possible is that the airfield that the club is housed in will also have an attached engineering services department that can offer maintenance to the aircraft that are in need of it. Club members can also get a reduced bill thanks to their membership perks.
Another way that a flying club membership can help you reduce the cost of maintenance is that, since you are surrounded by pilots and aviation enthusiasts, if there are any issues with your aircraft, they will most likely be pointed out by someone, leading you to fix the problem.
Flying in safe conditions
Your aeroplane will get as damaged as the amount of wear and tear you subject it to. While it is impossible to completely avoid any exposure to the elements, it is true that you can greatly reduce the cost of maintenance by ensuring that you are not flying in any dangerous or hazardous conditions.
These would include flying in high winds and rain that may lead to the aeroplane experiencing too much turbulence which can be heavy on the aeroplane’s body or flying in very cold conditions that may cause freezing and damage to the aircraft.
WHY CHOOSE SHERBURN AERO CLUB?
Sherburn Aero Club has been operational since 1964 and is the ideal place for all of your training and flying needs. We cater to brand new flyers who have just started their journey to the skies, as well as seasoned flyers who have been operating aircraft for decades.
Sherburn offers a dedicated day-long Flight Radiotelephony Operator’s Licence (FRTOL) course for those wishing to get the certification, running the first Sunday of every month. The club also has a dedicated weather webcam that constantly monitors the meteorological conditions in the aerodrome to help pilots decide whether it's safe to take to the skies or not.
The club’s dedicated engineering facility offers pre-buy inspections, with Sherburn helping guide members with regards to what kind of aircraft and mode of ownership is best-suited to their needs.
Sherburn provides members with the option to advertise aircraft that they wish to sell through the club’s website, as well as options for aviation enthusiasts looking purchase aircraft or shares for fractional ownership.
For those who wish to experience the thrill of a flight for fun or to help fuel their aviation dreams, Sherburn offers experience flights for the newbie, as well as the veteran. The flight experience option is also available for people who wish to take to the skies for special occasions, even if they aren’t into aviation in the long run.
Call us on 01977 682 674, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message us via our online contact form for more information on private aircraft maintenance and plane ownership, as well as the club’s engineering facility.