The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the entire world to a standstill. Thousands of vehicles are sidelined, and it doesn't only include the car on your driveway but also the world's busiest and heaviest vehicles of the sky.
Grounding an airplane and depriving it of its primary function can pose a lot of risks. They’re not like ordinary vehicles that can be parked anywhere and require proper storage along with maximum care and maintenance .
Here we discuss some tips to help you maintain your aircraft so it can return to service soon after the pandemic is over.
Where To Store The Aircraft?
Usually, aircraft are stored in hangars when they’re taken out of service for up to two years. In this case, the maintenance plan includes preservation activities like greasing and sealing. Whereas they are parked when their service is not required for up to six months, and regular light maintenance is required to keep the plan in a "ready-to-go" state where it can return to the sky in no time. If you own a private jet or plane, try to build or rent a hangar for it.
Due to the current situation, however, so many planes are on the ground for an indefinite period that airlines no longer have storage space for them. With one-third of the sky fleet in storage, almost all airlines have to turn their runways into parking lots and storage places. In aircraft hangars, the conditions are specifically designed to maintain the aircraft, but in open spaces, we no longer have controlled conditions, and anything can go wrong. Therefore, a lot more maintenance is required at this point.
Cover The External Holes
Birds are always on the lookout for making a nest in an open, untouched surface, and abandoned aircraft will make a perfect place for that. To avoid that from happening, make sure you cover all the external holes of the plane, including holes in vent systems, fuselage, etc. Regularly clean the exterior of the aircraft and keep the dust away, so it doesn't become a potential home for insects and birds.
Keep the Fuel Tank Full
It is essential to keep the fuel tank full as it will provide lubrication and will reduce the chances of moisture condensing in the partially filled fuel tank, ultimately causing rust and corrosion. If the plane has a rubber fuel bladder, then the fuel will also minimize cracking. The fuel can stay good up to a year, so don't worry that you'll end up wasting it.
Change The Dirty Oil
Don't leave dirty oil in the engine. Changing the oil is an important thing to do before storing your plane for the pandemic. Dirty or used oil has unburned fuel, moisture, and dirt that can form acid in the engine and damage it. It can also lead to corrosion and rust.
Pump The Tires
Airplane tires are almost as expensive as the plane itself and need regular maintenance. Every parked aircraft should have its tires rotated every seven to fourteen days. This can be done by towing the aircraft around tarmac or can be done manually by jacking up the plane.
Don't Run The Plane
You might think that going up to your plane once a week and giving it a warm-up drive on the ground will be good for the engine. If so, you can not be more wrong. Running your airplane on the ground is not a substitute for flying. The engine won't uniformly be heated in this case and will create more problems for your plane than you can imagine.
These are some of the tips that you can use to store your airplane during the lockdown properly. We know the times are difficult for the aviation industry, but if we stand our ground and take care of ourselves and our planes, we can surely make out of this situation successfully.