Your aircraft propeller is, undoubtedly, a significant investment that helps ensure your aircrafts increased safety and efficiency. That's why you should take good care of it, especially during winter, when you store your aircraft in a hanger for a period of time. Before storing your plane, it's best to perform preventive maintenance tasks on your airplane to ensure its propeller can perform afterward.
Inspecting For Damage
It would be best if you first looked for signs of damage like dings, nicks, and gouges from cracks or debris in the spinner dome, corrosion, and missing hardware. It would then help if you utilized your bare hands to feel for any sharp edges or rough spots. You can also use the "tap test" to inspect for delaminations and debonds in the blades in the case of a composite propeller. Tap the blades' surface with a metal coin, listening for a hollow sound, indicating a possible dead area in the bonding.
Keeping It Clean
External elements, like bird droppings, bugs, dirt, dust, and other contaminants, can cause severe damage to your propeller’s paint. These can expose the metal or composite substance underneath, increasing blade corrosion. Before you decide to hibernate your plane for the winter, give it a good wash, wax, and detail.
You can utilize a simple dish soap and water solution to rinse your propeller, wiping the blades in a downward position to prevent the water from running up into the hub. Once your prop is neat and dry, consider using propeller covers to protect the blades from hangar rash.
Avoid Delaying Repairs
If you find any damage or corrosion signs on your aircraft propeller, avoid addressing these issues until the next flying season. What seems to be a minor problem now could turn into a much more significant, more costly, and possibly dangerous issue down the road. It would be best if you took your airplane propeller to a reputable propeller repair service at the earliest to save yourself headaches come springtime.
Inspecting Overhaul Limits
Winter is the right time to review if you're about to reach your manufacturer's declared Time Before Overhaul (TBO) limits, either in calendar time or flight time. Always refer to your most recent revision of the propeller manufacturer's Service Letter for updated details on your specific propeller model. Last but not least, do not wait to get any significant overhaul and repair services completed.
Conducting Preventative Maintenance
Preparing your plane for winter storage is a fabulous excuse to give your propeller some well-deserved inspection and maintenance. It's best to spend some extra time and effort to maintain your plane's propeller, doing so will help retain your propeller's value for years to come.
Get in touch with an experienced aircraft maintenance expert and address propeller issues such as nicks and dents, corrosion, cleaning, balancing, overhauls, and more.