Preventive Maintenance

Preventive Maintenance

Preventive maintenance on aircraft involves simply replacing some components with exact replacement parts and doing some lubrication. Here are a few of the things a pilot can do on a noncommercial aircraft: Remove, repair, and install landing-gear tires. Replace or service some landing-gear components. Lubricate components that don’t require disassembly. Replace defective safety wiring or…

Checking It Out

Checking It Out

Once you’ve narrowed the field to a handful of planes, you’ll want to make an inspection, then take a test flight to be sure the plane is what you think it is. No surprises, please. Of course, the inspection will be more stringent for used aircraft than for new ones. And the older the plane…

Choosing a Custom Built

Choosing a Custom Built

How can you choose the right plans or kit for your custom-built or experimental aircraft? Many new flyers spend years researching the models and features they want. You don’t have to take that long. Using resources mentioned earlier you can do your research and come up with a plane that meets your goals and your…

Asking Questions

Asking Questions

You can run out and buy or lease the first airplane that has the right paint job, but you might soon become dissatisfied with your wings — which means you won’t fly it as much as one that’s equipped with features that really matter to you. The trick to choosing most anything is learning from…

Shopping Around

Shopping Around

Before you decide whether you want to buy a sport aircraft, let’s take a closer look at how and why to do it. Then you’ll learn some of the jargon of buying a plane. The selection process begins with a search of all available sources. Surprisingly, there are probably hundreds of general aviation aircraft on…

Flying Partnerships

Flying Partnerships

The controversy of sole ownership versus partnership began more than 100 years ago when Wilbur and Orville Wright flipped a coin to see who would fly their shared airplane at Kitty Hawk. It’s still a trade-off. You can share the plane and its expenses or you can have both of them to yourself. The advantages…

Experimental Aircraft

Experimental Aircraft

Homebuilt or experimental aircraft have been around for more than a century. The Wright brothers built the first airworthy plane as “experimental” in their shop. Today, there are thousands of experimental aircraft at varying stages of completion in garages across the country. Hundreds of homebuilt or experimental aircraft plans and kits qualify as airworthy under…

Custom-Built Basics

Custom-Built Basics

Airplanes built by their owners are called by a variety of names: amateur built, home built, experimental, and others. I and many other people prefer “custom-built” because you’re building the plane yourself, for yourself. Within certain limits you can modify the plane to fit your own needs and tastes. It’s your personal aircraft! Why would…

Consensus Standards

Consensus Standards

Engineering has evolved tremendously over the past 100 years, and standards for metal, construction, and machinery have stood the tests of time. One of the organizations that has standardized much of this engineering is ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) International, a standards association that tests and publishes standards for just about anything you…

Aircraft

Aircraft

There are three types of general aviation aircraft: certified, consensus, and experimental. Those built under the The FAA (and, prior, the Civil Aviation Authority [CAA]) are built under Certified Standards, following stringent rules and regulations. In addition, the FAA requires periodic inspections, certified mechanics, and other rules that ensure public safety. To their credit, aircraft…

Renting as an Option

Renting as an Option

You might be surprised to learn that not every pilot owns his or her aircraft. In fact, renting and other non-ownership options for aircraft are approximately the same as those in the housing market — and for similar reasons. About two thirds own and one third don’t. The most popular reason for renting housing and…