When the winter’s over and a new season begins, it's time to think about ways…
Believe it or not, the end of the year is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to sit down and think about what your New Year’s resolutions should be for 2017. Although most people resolve to lose weight or get in shape, why not incorporate your love for flying into your resolutions? Here are a few resolution ideas for aircraft owners:
Go to an air show.
Explore your love for aircrafts by attending an air show by the end of 2017. Even though you won’t get to be in the pilot’s seat at an air show, you will still be able to enjoy watching the different types of aircrafts fly through the sky above you. Make it a goal to research air shows in your area and attend one before the year is over. Or, go one step further and sign up to volunteer at one of these air shows. This is a great opportunity to meet other aviation enthusiasts in your area.
Keep up with regular maintenance.
To ensure you are safe every time you take flight, it’s imperative that you keep your aircraft in good condition. In 2017, make a maintenance checklist and stick to it for the entire year. Wait until spring rolls around to perform your first maintenance check, since this is probably the time you will take your plane out of winter storage.
What should be on your checklist? First, change the oil and check the fuel system to see if there are any leaks or other forms of damage. You should also check the condition of the electrical system and the battery. Get in the habit of removing the battery for a closer inspection after every 50 hours of flight. During each routine maintenance check, you should also measure the tire pressure and take a look at the amount of wear and tear to determine if you need new tires.
Next, inspect the landing gear, landing gear doors, tail fins, and wing flaps to make sure there is no damage. You should also be looking for any loose pieces that could indicate the need for a repair. Finally, keep the exterior of your plane free from water spots, debris, and corrosion by thoroughly washing it every time you perform a maintenance check on the rest of your aircraft. The surface should be wiped down to remove excess dirt and then sanded prior to polishing. After the plane has been polished, apply any waxes or sealants of your choice as the last item on your maintenance checklist.
Do you know any aspiring pilots? Or perhaps you share an airport hangar with a newer pilot who doesn’t have as much experience as you. In 2017, find someone who is new to the world of flying and take him under your wing. Being a mentor helps you meet other people who share your passion, while also giving you the valuable opportunity to brush up on your skills as you teach them to someone else.
How many hours did you log over the last year? Make a resolution to increase your hours in flight in 2017. After all, what’s the point of owning an aircraft if you don’t get to enjoy it?
Not only should you fly more, but you should make it a goal to fly somewhere different in the New Year. Many pilots do not have any experience flying in the mountains, so if this is something you’ve always wanted to do it, take an appropriate educational course and try it in the New Year.
Learn a new skill.
No matter how experienced you are, there’s always something new you can learn. Research courses you can take that will enhance your aviation education and teach you something new. If you feel like you haven’t been flying as much as usual, look for a course targeted at pilots that are just getting back into the hobby. These courses are designed to be refreshers, so they won’t go as deep into each subject as others, but they are still beneficial to rusty pilots.
If you don’t have time to take an entire course, learn a new skill related to maintaining your aircraft. For example, if you’ve always hired someone to handle the tasks that you could easily do yourself, try to learn how to do it on your own this year.
Owning a plane can be rather expensive, so try to cut costs associated with your aircraft in the New Year. One of the biggest expenses is fuel, so do your research before taking off to figure out where you should stop for gas on the way. Self-service stations tend to be cheaper, so see if there are any of these available near you.
If you have your own airplane hangar, consider sharing it with another aircraft owner so you can split the cost in half. Hangars can be quite pricey, so if you find another pilot who is looking for a space, you could save hundreds of dollars per month.
Finally, give back to the industry that you love so much by giving a charitable donation to one of the many aviation non-profits organizations. For example, Air Charity Network is a non-profit that offers free air transportation to people who are trying to seek treatment from specialized healthcare facilities in another city or state. Challenge Air for Kids & Friends is another non-profit that you could work with in the New Year. This charity inspires physically and mentally challenged children as well as seriously ill children by taking them on a ride in a small aircraft. These are just two of many charities that are always looking for volunteers and donations. Contact any of these aviation charities to find out how you can do your part to give back.
Aircraft owners, steal a few of these resolutions for the New Year to improve your flying skills, protect your investment, and stay safe in the skies.