AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 104

NEWS & NOTES 

AOPA AIR SAFETY INSTITUTE

More than a number
Aircraft 'true' age versus factory age
BY ALICIA HERRON

NEW FROM ASI
THERE I WAS...:
UNEXPECTED ICING
Cirrus Training Center Instructor
Terry Pretzloff tells about a
flight from Chicago to Rochester,
Minnesota, in a Cirrus SR22.
Despite thorough preflight
planning, Pretzloff encountered
hazardous icing conditions worse
than forecast, and he shares
how he took action to get on the
ground safely.
airsafetyinstitute.org/thereiwas

104 | AOPA PILOT May 2021

Regardless of when an aircraft rolled off
the assembly line, the true age of an aircraft is
more than just a number. A variety of factors
contribute to its true age-including airframe
and engine times-which may not be the
same as its age in calendar years. High-stress
flight activity-such as flight instruction, aerobatics, and skydiving ops-or poor care over
time increases the effects of aging.
The following five steps will help your
aircraft live a long and a healthy life, slow the
effects of aging, and make it a more reliable
(and safer) airplane to fly.
1. Keep it clean. Clean out any dirt and
grime on the inside and outside of the aircraft. Most aircraft information manuals
have a section on handling, service, and
maintenance, which include information
on cleaning the aircraft. Also, it's best to
buy airplane-specific cleaning products.
Be sure to protect the aircraft's windshield
as well and avoid cleaning in a circular
motion.
2. Be an inspector. Regularly inspect
the aircraft for any symptoms of aging, such
as skin deformities, defects, or damage. If
your aircraft is stored in a hangar, stand
behind the tail of the aircraft with the hangar door open during the day. Viewing the
surface of the aircraft from this position

allows you to spot any surface damage that
could exist, such as small dents or spot
painting. This inspection method can also
be performed outdoors, but damage or
defects may be more difficult to detect.
3. Be prepared. Flying to another airport? Remember to pack oil, tiedowns,
chocks, and an aircraft cover to help protect
your aircraft when away from its home base.
4. Monitor and maintain. Detecting a
problem early can help save money on repair
costs. Change the oil regularly and monitor
oil consumption. Keep the tires properly
inflated-under-inflated tires wear faster.
Monitor the engine gauges and listen for
unusual sounds. And learn about what maintenance you can do as the owner.
5. Fly! Keeping the aircraft and its
engine parts in motion deters the buildup
of corrosion and contaminants. This is especially important in warm, humid climates.
Plus, it's a great excuse to go flying!
With knowledge and care, you'll be able
to slow the effects of aging, and help keep
your airplane healthy and reliable for years
to come.
airsafetyinstitute.org/spotlight/
agingaircraft
EMAIL alicia.herron@aopa.org

CHRIS ROSE

WHICH WOULD YOU RATHER BUY: a Cessna
150 with a history of 10,000 hours and an
IFR panel, or a single-owner Cessna 150
that still has an ADF? A strictly freshwater floatplane or an ocean-flying seaplane?
A taildragger with the original (if slightly
nicked) fabric, or one with a brand-new
paint job? Every option could be the right
one for you, if you know the situation you're
getting into.
A history of 10,000 hours could mean
the Cessna 150 has been used for flight
training-and subject to all sorts of landings.
Saltwater puts wear and tear on a floatplane
more quickly than freshwater-only flying.
And sometimes, fresh paint on a taildragger means it might have a history of damage,
like a recent ground loop. Each of these aircraft could have been manufactured the
same year, but with their varied histories,
each has aged differently.
All aircraft accumulate fatigue and
experience the effects of aging-how
much aging depends on how they are
used, maintained, and stored, and if they've
experienced any damage. With enough
use-and without inspection, repair, or
replacement-any component could eventually fail. And the effects of aging aren't
always easy to see.


http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org/thereiwas http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org/spotlight/agingaircraft http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org/spotlight/agingaircraft

AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 2
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover4
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