This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
An NBAA webinar on Thursday explored what operators should do with their airplanes that remain parked during the Covid-19 pandemic so that they’ll be able to easily return to flying them once the effects of the crisis ease. The panelists for the webinar, “Fleet Readiness—Maintenance Considerations Amidst Covid-19,” included Masco Corp. director of operations Jay Orwin, Thoroughbred Aviation president and founder Nathan Winkle, and Immaculate Flight director of operations Phillip Hoyme.
First and foremost, operators should follow OEM recommendations on maintenance to be performed on idle aircraft, including not only those of the airframe manufacturer but also those of engine, avionics, and APU manufacturers. Engines and other exterior components such as pitot tubes should be covered when storing an airplane, to keep out birds from nesting in engines or wasps nesting in pitot tubes.
The panelists also recommended pulling the airplane out of the hangar and onto the ramp and run every system on a regular basis—such as once a week—including satcom and Wi-Fi. “When you power up the airplane, you want to make sure running the whole [preflight] checklist,” Winkle said. “Really get everything spooled up [like you are getting ready] to take a trip.”
Hoyme, whose company specializes in aircraft cleaning, also emphasized that it is important to clean and apply protection to the aircraft’s exterior and interior before parking it. This is to help ensure the paint remains undamaged and prevent things like mold and mildew from developing in the cabin. “You would much rather protect than restore on the back end,” he said.