How To Care For An Airplane (III)

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Pablo Edronkin

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Some duct tape or transparent adhesive tape will help you a lot, especially if you have a fabric-covered plane that could suffer damage. Duct tape is generally better but transparent ones may prove useful if you ever have to repair a hole in a window or windshield. You can, of course, cover any hole even with newspapers or your socks, but then you may lose critical visibility that while impaired with the transparent tape, will certainly be retained to some extent and more than by using opaque objects.

One thing that is essential in bush flying is to perform a post-flight walk around inspection. This is seldom commented in manuals, flight schools and so on but is an absolute must! What if you detect some sooth or smoke coming out of the engine cowl? What about that wheel's brake that seems dead? What about the mud or cow's dung splattered all over the wing after you landed just on that unusual spot? Are you going to leave the airplane like that until you depart next morning?

Check that no tools, screws or little animals are left inside before closing.
Check that no tools, screws or little animals are left inside before closing.

Along with the post flight check and while you take notice of all the things that may need to get fixed - and believe me, if you fly in the wilderness you will always have those after each flight - make sure that you will be able to tie up securely and protect the plane from wind, hail, rain, snow, ice, sand, dust and other weather forecast niceties. Place the propeller in a horizontal position and if it is made out of wood, cover it so that if it rains it will not get soaked; then, cover as much as possible of your airplane with canvas, plastic foil or even tree branches and leaves, especially if you expect a lot of dust, ice or snow, because the next day you will spend a lot of time taking it all off.

Of course, before departing you will have to run your pre-flight checklists; every aviator knows. But in the case of a bush airplane it is generally safe to add two more tasks: Cleaning and making sure that you will not carry more weight in the form of ice, dirt, etc. and inspecting the interior to make sure that no animals entered the plane.

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