A little preventitive Maintenance on my plane

One of the fun things about owning and building a plane is that it is an on going maintence project. Some planes are famous for the amount of ground hour to flight hours. For example the F15 eagle and other fighters had a 4 to5 to 1 ratio! Meaning 4 to 5 hours of maintenance to 1 hour of combat flight time. With our trusty Zodiacs, I find it to be the inverse 4 to 10 hours of flight hours to 1 hour of ground required maintenance. Now that is value! Now ground time turning a wrench is subjective, some people prefer to tinker over flying. I prefer the inverse. So. After putting 12 hours last week, I did the following to my aircraft. The oil pressure sender unit, 360-001 was reading high so I changed the unit. Jabiru was great at getting the part out fast. The head bolts were retorque to 17 lbs, torquing all six bolts. Then we pressure differential testeed the engine on each cylinder. This is easy and is like sticking a thermometer in the mouth of the plane, tells you alot. All readings were 70 + over 80. Nice. Anything over 60 means no issues with the cylinders. If the oil needs to be changed, I replace the filter as well as the oil (100W) every 20 to 25 hours.

Now on to the airframe. The thing that I focus on mostly on the plane itself is retorquing of bolts and tightening of the steering cables. So I check all the bolts poking out at me, mainly the wings bolts, and airframe ones easily accessible. Next thing is checking cable tension. Its pretty easy to retension the cables, if they feel loose, I usually put blue tape to the ailerons to hold them firmly in place, then remove the safety wire, then tension as necessary. when that is done. finally I check the tire pressure. . Next comes cockpit issues. Are the lights working,? turn on the lights and walk round the plane and wiggle each light, its amazing how many times Ive jiggled a little a light and it blanks out. That would happen in the air with vibration and you would not know it. I replaced the strobe on my right wing. Next how does the break lines look, and fuels lines look. Bleed the brakes if they are loose, and change the fuel hose if they look cracked. Notice I dont wait for the %$$ to hit the fan, if there is a visual issue, do it then. All these things on a weekend, will ensure many hours of zero issue flying. After all do I want to deal with an inflight issue over the swamps of the everglades with my 7 year old in the plane? Take care of the 601xl and it will take great care of you!

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Comment by German Serrano on December 19, 2010 at 8:27am
Good advice, as important as the preflight routine. Thanks
Comment by Jonathan Porter on December 15, 2010 at 4:35pm

spot on .... and very relevant,.... thank you!


Comment by ulis temos on December 11, 2010 at 5:57pm

good story, we need more like it.

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