Austin, TX (April 11th, 2017)
Lower fuel costs and reduced purchase price of many general aviation and business aircraft, particularly older aircraft, combine to make it a great time for general and business aviation pilots to acquire or renew their flying credentials and spend more time in the air for business or pleasure this spring and summer.
The good news for general aviation pilots – fuel costs are down, and a check of Controller or AvBuyer magazine will show that aircraft prices are still at all-time lows and look to remain so for quite some time. “Market Dynamics . . . are keeping downward pressure on much of General Aviation.” Noted Fletcher Aldredge on AvBuyer.com.
The bad news is that older aircraft can be more complex to maintain, which adds risk.
The average age of the business aircraft fleet, particularly in the light and midsize segments, is getting older. Accident and incident reports clearly indicate that older aircraft are involved in more mishaps than newer aircraft. Pilot training, judgment and proficiency are factors, as are substandard maintenance practices.
– Private Aviation is Safer, but Still Carries Risks, Experts Say – Seth Robbins
How can safety be improved? As in most questions involving aviation, the answer is to have, and more importantly, to consistently use, a great checklist.
As an aircraft owner, keeping track of important aircraft maintenance milestones can be a challenging task. It is common to miss an oil change, or be surprised by an upcoming Annual inspection or Pitot Static check. Even worse, an aircraft owner may find that he’s been flying with an expired inspection that is required by the FAA. An average single engine aircraft has 6 required inspections to keep track of, plus Time Between Overhaul (TBO) of 8-10 important items such as the engine, cylinders, magnetos, and propeller(s) that need to be monitored.
“Once you add required Airworthiness Directives to the list of inspections to track, you’ll be working full time just to keep up with your records.” Noted Ken VeArd, the founder of Pilot Partner, the popular flight logging software.
Some owners have invested the time to create their own spreadsheet to track all of these inspections. “Pretty much all of those spreadsheets have one thing in common – give it a little time and your spreadsheet will be out of date and inaccurate.” Said VeArd. “That’s why we created an easier option. It’s always been our mission to get more people flying, and the safer and more convenient we can make the logging and tracking parts of the process, the better!”
Pilot Partner Launches Free Aircraft Maintenance Tracker
With the Pilot Partner Aircraft Maintenance Tracker, tracking all of these inspections and TBOs can be simple and easy. The Aircraft Setup wizard will walk aircraft owners through the most common inspections and will prompt you to enter the current aircraft status in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
The Maintenance Tracker will display a color coded status of each item that needs to be tracked. Green means “good,” or more than 25% of time remaining before an action is required. Yellow means “caution,” indicating that the owner needs to exercise some caution in planning the next flights around maintenance limitations because the component is within 25% remaining hours or calendar time. Red means “stop,” because the time has expired and maintenance is required before flying safely.
The Maintenance Tracker allows owners to track inspections based on total time flown or based on the calendar. Owners can use the Maintenance Tracker to track inspections on both total time and calendar time.
For example, – oil changes are recommended every 50 hours or 4 months. The Maintenance Tracker will track both total time remaining and days remaining separately and automatically determine which one will expire first.
Everything is customizable by the aircraft owner. By default, the Aircraft Setup Wizard will assign the most common requirements and recommendations for inspections. The aircraft owner can then modify the settings as needed. Perhaps an oil change every 4 months is too conservative for a particular aircraft that is used infrequently. The owner can simply adjust it to any value required, or convert it to track based only on total time.
Track Aircraft Maintenance on an iPhone/Android
The Pilot Partner Aircraft Maintenance Tracker is available on your desktop computer (Mac & PC) by using any web browser. The Pilot Partner App for iPhone/iPad/Android app can be downloaded from iTunes, the Android Store, or the Pilot Partner website (www.PilotPartner.net.) Owners can review and update aircraft maintenance status from a smart phone. Owners can even log new inspections from a smartphone when the A&P shop returns the aircraft to service.
*Note: Accessing the Maintenance Tracker on the iPhone/Android app requires an active Pilot Partner Logbook Subscription.
Sharing the Aircraft Maintenance Tracker
Ideal for Partnerships or Flying Clubs
The Pilot Partner Aircraft Maintenance Tracker allows you to track maintenance on multiple aircraft. Additional pilots can be invited to view or manage the fleet on the Maintenance Tracker. Invited members can be setup as Admins, Members or Read Only access.
Members invited to join your Fleet do not have to be a Pilot Partner Logbook customer, but they will be provided with a 60 Day Free trial automatically.
You can have as many aircraft in your fleet as you need, and you can have as many fleets as you need. If you are a member of multiple flying clubs, you can load all of your aircraft into the Aircraft Maintenance Tracker and share it with the other members.
Free Service to All Pilots
The Pilot Partner Aircraft Maintenance Tracker is currently available free of charge.
Interested aircraft owners can simply download the Pilot Partner Logbook software. Owners can create a free account and add an aircraft. The Maintenance Tracker will still be available even if your Pilot Partner Logbook Subscription has expired.
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