How To Care For An Airplane (II)

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Pablo Edronkin

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You should also bear in mind that aircraft are always designed with significant tolerances in mind, and that if you read in an operators' manual that any given model is capable of withstanding - for example - +3,9g it will probably be capable of manoeuvering safely at +5g, but you shouldn't bet on that margin. Many old aircraft were classified within certain categories such as aerobatic, as it happens with some Luscombes, but our present-day definition of aerobatics is somewhat different and then, even aerobatic aircraft that are fifty years old may not be entirely safe for violent flight.

Particularly with rather old aircraft like those used for bush flying, you should take steps not to stress them too much or beyond their operational limits. They will indeed do what you ask them to do, but you have to consider both the acute stresses that affect the structure and the airplane's systems, as well as the cumulative effect all the flights that you do, bumpy landings and so on.

And before you ever try to use an airplane for bush flying, get acquainted with it, and I am not talking of knowing about the make and model, but the specific flying machine that you intend to pilot because all aircraft are definitely not created equal, even if they belong to the same make, model and version. You must get to know your airplane intimately.

With some care, the pilot may even take off the fuel tank out of the wing.
With some care, the pilot may even take off the fuel tank out of the wing.

So, having explained all these points, let's see some specific cases related to bush flying: It would require a huge encyclopaedia to cover all aspects related to aircraft maintenance, but let's start with the idea that normal operations under such conditions are not like flying in and out of a tidy airport with a nice FBO and interesting people around. You should assume that each time that you take off or land your plane will be stressed and rattled, it could be damaged by birds, stones, dust, water, heat and so on.

To this you will have to add the normal wear and tear that takes place in more pleasant flying environments; so stay prepared for the commonest of problems at all times, like oil leakage, which is a curse of many aircraft. Take a small quantity of oil with you on each flight.

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