Maintenance & Technical

Renovating an Interior Part Four: Understanding Corrosion

Renovating an Interior Part Four: Understanding Corrosion

DENNIS WOLTER continues his series of articles about interior renovation with a deep dive into how corrosion occurs, as well as where you’re most likely to find it. With all the interior components and insulation removed, the clock has been turned back to the day your airplane went down the assembly line. Think of how many years it’s been since anyone has seen what you are now looking at: a completely bare inner cabin with all its aging airplane issues in plain view. I can’t tell you how many owners have insisted we will not find any corrosion in their…
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Renewing a Skylane, Inside and Out

Renewing a Skylane, Inside and Out

New paint, new interior and new Plexiglas make John D. Ruley’s 1975 Cessna 182P look and feel like a factory-fresh airplane. Sometimes, small problems can lead to more complex projects. This Skylane restoration started with a flat tire and fuel leak. The tire was a quick fix, and the fuel leak ended up being straightforward as well (leak at the filler neck). However, a check of the logs showed that N4696K’s fuel bladders were 20 years old—with an expected life of just 10 years. It was time for replacement. (For that story, see “Step-by-step Fuel Cell Replacement” in the January…
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Q&A: Resealing Windows, “Flashing the Field” on a Generator

Q&A: Resealing Windows, “Flashing the Field” on a Generator

Steve, Is there a way to reseal the rear window of my Cessna 172 without removing the window? My airplane was recently in not one, but two, torrential downpours at my airport. I discovered leaks around the rear window and a mega leak around the baggage door. I can easily repair the seal around the baggage door, but I’m wondering if there is a shortcut for the rear window repair. Being a desert rat, I rarely venture into rainy areas and I don’t want to spend a lot of money on the fix. Is there an easy and inexpensive way…
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Keep Those Manuals Handy: Rules for Owner-Performed Maintenance

Keep Those Manuals Handy: Rules for Owner-Performed Maintenance

As an aircraft owner and pilot, you can legally perform some maintenance tasks, but you must adhere to strict guidelines when doing so. Steve Ells walks us through packing wheel bearings, while highlighting what’s important to stay legal. As most readers of Cessna Flyer know by now, all aircraft maintenance tasks must be overseen or performed by an appropriately-rated person. For maintenance tasks, this means an A&P mechanic—or a technician, as some like to be called these days—is frequently both performing and signing off on the work. This mechanic must (by regulation) have up-to-date versions of the appropriate manuals, bulletins,…
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Preparing for a Renovation

Preparing for a Renovation

Identifying squawks and properly sequencing your Cessna refurbishment projects can save you time, money and aggravation. So you’re now the proud, new owner of a not-so-new airplane that you plan to own for a long time. Fortunately, you properly vetted this new-to-you airplane during a thorough pre-purchase inspection, and you’re looking forward to renovating it into your ideal machine. The most important component in successfully making your dream a reality is to develop a cost-efficient, thorough and well-planned renovation. A very important first step is to get to know the airplane before moving forward with major renovations and upgrades. I…
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Magneto Maintenance 101

Magneto Maintenance 101

Understanding magnetos and manufacturer recommendations for maintenance can help ensure your safety. The following is an excerpt from Bill Ross’ book “Engine Management 101.” Published by Superior Air Parts Inc., this book is a compilation of what Bill has learned during his 35-plus years of experience as a pilot, aircraft owner, piston aircraft engine industry leader and FAA A&P/IA. Although the basic magneto has provided very reliable service to aircraft operators for over 100 years, it’s still a very misunderstood part of your engine. For example, while many owner-pilots think it needs the aircraft’s battery to operate, the fact is…
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Off to a Good Start: Planning for your First Annual

Off to a Good Start: Planning for your First Annual

Evaluate and maintain a new-to-you aircraft using all of the tools available today. So, it’s been a year since the pre-purchase/annual inspection was completed and you have been the owner of this new-to-you airplane. As the months passed, every flight revealed more details about the condition and usefulness of your new flying partner. You probably encountered a few issues that required immediate attention and many others that became line items on your to-do/wish list. (In last month’s Cessna Flyer, Dennis Wolter outlined best practices for preparing to tackle a renovation. —Ed.) With this list and your maintenance technician’s familiarity with…
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Alternators and Electrical Systems

Alternators and Electrical Systems

Many single-engine aircraft rely on alternators to power aircraft systems, avionics and cockpit gadgets. A&P Jacqueline Shipe guides you through how alternators work and what to do when yours isn’t functioning correctly. Nowadays, with everything from glass cockpits to auxiliary power outlets for iPads and phone chargers, there are more demands on the average aircraft’s electrical system than ever before. Most General Aviation airplanes rely on an alternator to provide a steady, reliable source of electrical energy to power electrical components and recharge the battery. Electrical system components The main components in an average airplane’s electrical system are the battery,…
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Cessna’s Retractables: The System, Demystified

Cessna’s Retractables: The System, Demystified

A&P Jacqueline Shipe lists dissects the system and offers troubleshooting tips for Cessna’s retractable singles. In the late 1940s and through the decade of the 1950s, General Aviation began to really take off as airplane sales increased. The postwar economy was favorable for the production and sale of both single- and twin-engine models, and the “big three” in the aviation industry were Beechcraft, Piper and Cessna. It was 1947 when the Beechcraft Bonanza appeared on the aviation market. The Bonanza was the first retractable single-engine plane on the market that had a wide appeal to a large number of customers.…
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DIY Wheel Bearing Service

DIY Wheel Bearing Service

A&P Jacqueline Shipe describes how to service wheel bearings in this article, the second in a DIY series for pilots who wish to take on preventive maintenance of their aircraft. FAR 43 Appendix A lists the preventive maintenance items owners may legally perform on their planes. This list is fairly long—and some of the items are a little involved for a person to perform the first time by themselves, while other tasks on the list are pretty straightforward. There are several preventive maintenance tasks pertaining to the landing gear, including tire changes, strut servicing and servicing the wheel bearings. (Last…
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This Cessna nose strut is overinflated. Overinflation of a nose strut can make steering difficult because there is a centering cam that is designed to keep the nose wheel straight once the strut is extended. Too much air pressure can cause the cam to engage on the ground and make steering difficult or impossible.

Strut Servicing: The Ins & Outs

In the third article in a DIY series for pilots, A&P Jacqueline Shipe goes through the steps an owner can take in order to properly service the struts on their aircraft. Among the preventive maintenance items listed in FAR 43 Appendix A that pilots may legally perform on an airplane that they own is strut servicing. The struts on any airplane serve a critical purpose. They provide the shock absorption necessary to prevent the airframe structure from enduring too much stress from the impact loads incurred on landings. Even taxi operations impose stress on an airframe every time the gear…
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Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Fixing a Cessna Nosewheel Shimmy

Shake, Rattle, & Roll: Fixing a Cessna Nosewheel Shimmy

Various things can cause nosegear shimmy. Here’s what to do. There’s nothing worse than completing a near-perfect landing and rollout only to have a sudden shimmy in the nosegear cause the whole front end of the airplane to vibrate. The shaking can be alarming to pilots who have never experienced it before, and can be worrisome for passengers. The vibration is also very hard on the airplane itself. A nosewheel shimmy is a rapid back-and-forth oscillation of the steerable part of the nosegear and wheel. It can be caused by a variety of problems, and it sometimes takes more than…
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