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How long can a small GA plane sit unused between flights?

Asked by: 2585 views General Aviation, Light Sport Aircraft, Private Pilot

I rent from a place where a handful of the less popular aircraft (C152, C172) sit unused in the hangar for up to a month at a time. (usually 3-4 weeks) It concerns me since I know they're not doing any sort of storage prep. Am I way off on this, should I be concerned?

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1 Answers

  1. David R on Jan 17, 2013

    I would not be too concerned. I have owned several aircrafts and it is quite common for an owned (as opposed to rented) aircraft to be used only monthly, particularly during the winter months. When I have purchased an aircraft that has sat for extended periods — say flown only every three months or so — you do see problems that will appear during inspections that could be caused by disuse, but those go away pretty quickly once they are flown regularly, at least monthly. However, I would recommend that you pay a bit more attention to pests in your preflight routine as that can be an issue with inactive airplanes. That means looking carefully where birds can get into nesting areas in the spring, and making sure nothing has crawled up the pitot tube which will be easily caught when taxiing or on a takeoff roll.

    And just to be complete, ideally you are using the airplane more as leaving an airplane even for a month can harm the engine somewhat, but not in a way that I would worry on any particular flight so much as you are likely shortening the life of your engine between TBO.

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