Winter is officially here. Do you have a plan for your airplane?
While many choose to fly year-round, some aircraft owners prefer storing their plane over the harsh winter months to protect it from the elements.
If that sounds like you, here are a few tips to keep in mind when putting your aircraft away for a long winter’s nap:
Before putting your aircraft away for the winter, make time for a thorough interior and exterior cleaning. Be sure to wash your aircraft propeller before storage to remove any dirt, grime, or fluid streaks from the surface of the blades.
When cleaning the interior, throw out any trash and vacuum up food crumbs. The last thing you want is to attract mice or rats to your aircraft, as rodents can wreak havoc on wires and other internal components. Using pitot tube and static vent covers will help keep any uninvited passengers out.
Your aircraft’s log books provide details on when various inspections, preventative services, and overhauls are due. Do a quick review to ensure all maintenance tasks have been addressed before storing your aircraft for an extended period.
If your aircraft propeller is approaching TBO (either in calendar limits or operating hours) winter can be an ideal time to schedule your propeller overhaul. This way, your prop will be in tip-top shape by the time spring flying season rolls around!
If your airplane will be parked outside, covering the windows, tail, propeller blades, and canopy or windshield is a must. This will mitigate damage caused by exposure to wind, rain, ice, and snow. Even if you’re lucky enough to have access to an indoor storage space, you may still want to invest in protective covers to prevent hangar rash on the leading edges of wings and prop blades.
On those sunny days of early spring, you’ll likely be tempted to bring your aircraft out of hangar hibernation and take to the skies. But if the temperatures are still at freezing or below, be sure you have a plan for preheating your aircraft engine.
For a shorter run-up time and smoother starts, you’ll want to use a preheating system that heats the entire engine — not just the oil pan. A Tanis multi-point aircraft engine preheat system will thoroughly heat-soak your engine, helping to promote safer flights and prevent premature wear and tear on the engine.
Winter demands extra care and attention for your aircraft, especially if you plan to store it for the season. In addition to these general tips, be sure to consult your pilot’s operating handbook and maintenance manuals for your specific aircraft make and model.
Do you have a question for the Hartzell technical team? Reach out to us today!