When the winter’s over and a new season begins, it's time to think about ways…
Have you noticed that your plane doesn’t look or operate quite like it used to? It may be time to make some upgrades. When you think of upgrading your plane, you may see dollar signs, but aircraft upgrades don’t have to break the bank. Here are some upgrades you can make to your aircraft while on a budget:
There’s nothing that restores the brilliant shine of your aircraft quite like polish. Luckily, buying polish for your aircraft is fairly inexpensive especially considering how much a coat of polish can completely change the appearance of your aircraft. Find a polish—like the three-step Bright Work polishes—that have been aviation-approved so you know it’s designed for use on aircrafts. These polishes can remove oxidation, corrosion, water spots, and other debris from the surface of your plane. In just a few hours, you can return your aircraft to the state it was in when you first purchased it using an electric buffer and aviation-approved polishes.
This is one upgrade that won’t just make the interior of your plane look nicer, but it may also keep you safer. Seatbelts are built to last for a long period of time, but with repeated use they may eventually begin to fray. If your seatbelts look worse for wear, consider installing new belts instead of putting your life in the hands of worn down straps. Nowadays, seatbelts come in so many different colors that you can be adventurous and choose a vibrant color to brighten up the inside of your aircraft. Or, look for a seatbelt designed with special features, like the ones that are made with built-in airbags to protect you in the event of an emergency.
If you choose to make this upgrade, you won’t be able to see a difference, but you will definitely hear and feel one. Replace the seals on your cockpit doors if you’ve been bothered by the amount of noise in the cockpit during flights. These noises aren’t only annoying, but listening to them for the entire duration of a flight can also make you feel more mentally fatigued. Some of the noises you hear won’t go anywhere, but it’s possible that a lot of the noises are caused by doors that aren’t properly sealed. Listening to this noise can be distracting and irritating for pilots, so by making this simple change, you will be able to enjoy flying even more.
While you’re in the process of working on your aircraft, why not make yourself more comfortable by upgrading the seats? Look for new seats that offer you full-body support so you can stay comfortable throughout the entire flight. If you don’t want to change the entire seat, add new accessories such as armrests or side panels instead. Or, buy a new seat cushion that fits on top of your existing seat instead of replacing the entire seat. There are countless seat cushions on the market that are designed specifically to keep pilots comfortable during long flights. Find one that is guaranteed to stay in place so it doesn’t slip and slide as you adjust your body while in flight.
Now that it’s summer, pilots have to deal with longer days and more hours of sunlight, which means it’s time to take a hard look at the condition of your sun visor. If your sun visor isn’t efficient when it comes to protecting your eyes from the sun, consider upgrading to a new one. Find a large sun visor that can be adjusted to fit either the windshield or side window so you can move it based on the positioning of the sun.
Replacing the light bulbs in your aircraft with LED lights is a simple switch that will make a huge difference. LED lights are available for interior and exterior use on an aircraft, so you can replace every bulb on your plane with this energy efficient option. Not only are LED lights brighter than traditional bulbs, but they also last much longer, so you won’t have to worry about replacing them as often.
Yoke or Stick Grip
Pilots use the yoke or stick grip every time they get in the cockpit, but they often fail to notice when a replacement is needed. If your yoke or stick grip breaks, it could leave you unable to control the plane, so this is one part that you should upgrade as soon as possible if it is not in good condition. Instead of sticking to the style that you have, upgrade to a sleeker design to instantly change the look of your cockpit. There are dozens of different options to choose from, including sophisticated wood stick grips or yokes with brightly colored handles.
The Cost of Upgrades
Pilots often struggle with determining how much they should spend on upgrading their planes. The answer to this depends on the resale value of the aircraft. Even if you don’t plan on immediately selling the aircraft, you may make the decision to sell it in the future, so it’s important to take this into consideration now. Many aviation experts recommend spending around 5% of the plane’s market value on upgrades. This means if you estimate that your plane could sell for $100,000, you shouldn’t spend more than $5,000 on upgrades. Fortunately, many of the upgrades mentioned above can be made within this budget.
As you can see, it doesn’t take a lot of money to upgrade certain features on your plane. Although the upgrades are small, they will make a big impact on the overall look of your aircraft. You don’t have to make all of these upgrades at once if your budget is very limited—start small and work your way through the list to completely transform your plane.