Protect Your Aircraft During Prolonged Out-of-Operation Time

Hawker in Storage

I hope everyone is doing well and staying healthy. It has been unprecedented times during the COVID-19 pandemic with stay at home orders, social distancing and only essential businesses remaining open. Our industry has followed suit and the operations of business aviation have been drastically reduced and even halted. It is spooky to see the many aircraft parked on the ramps waiting for the “all clear.”

With all the things to be concerned about, you should consider one more. Protect your aircraft and make sure it stays healthy during its “shelter in place” time. Aircraft love to fly and as we often see in the MRO business, when an aircraft is down for a long inspection it becomes finicky when it comes back to life. In the Navy, we had one aircraft in the hangar bay for phase inspections (and as a rotatable parts exchange) for 30 days. It always took a few sorties to shake down all the bugs.

I strongly recommend looking in the Aircraft Maintenance Manual (AMM) under ATA 10 PARKING MOORING STORAGE AND RETURN TO SERVICE for your aircraft model. The Chapter 10-10 Prolonged Parking (using the EMB135BJ manual) has recommended items to perform initially and every 2 weeks after. Most importantly, it has information on Return to Service after Prolonged Out-of-Operation Time. It will take more than kicking the tires and lighting the fires depending on how long the aircraft sits.

There are just too many to list and the unknown of how long the aircraft remains idle makes it even more challenging, but I would like to point out a few things. (not an all-inclusive list)

• Cover and protect your engines, sensors and secure in place
• Check tire pressure every 2 weeks and move aircraft to rotate wheels by 1/3 of a turn
• Keep batteries disconnected, remove the batteries and charge every 4 weeks
• Fire up the electronic systems and move the flight controls every 4 weeks
• Check the engine and APU manuals for the manufacture recommendations

When it’s time to fly, follow the Return to Service section of the Chapter 10-10 to perform specific tasks depending on how long it was out of operation.

If you have any questions, call your local MRO for guidance. We at Constant Aviation are open for business at our Sanford, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio, locations. We have our facilities sanitized and protected with MicroShield 360 and are following the guidelines put in place for our business. Our Mobile Maintenance group is ready and able to dispatch to your location to assist.

Be safe and stay well
Big Rick

Rick Mutschler

Rick is a retired U.S. Navy chief with over 40 years of aviation experience. His passion for aviation took flight while serving on aircraft carriers in the Navy. Motorcycles are Big Rick’s other passion. While he’s always searching for the elusive 1958 Harley-Davidson Panhead, he’s the proud owner of a H-D CVO Road Glide and a Big Dog K9 Chopper. Every year, Rick and his veteran brothers burn rubber as they travel coast to coast in a long distance bike tour. Constant Aviation is proud to call Rick part of the family for 19 years and counting!