Mike Rudd's Keep Fit Checklist
This is a checklist that was handed out at one of the Microlight Aviation
Club meetings, in Popham, England. In this area, Mike Rudd is fairly world
famous for his microlighting abilities, having designed various modifications,
and built his own microlights and even designed and built microlight trailers!
This is just a checklist of the sort of stuff you can check every time you
fly, that will help keep your aircraft in tip-top condition. This was
originally written for the Thruster microlight, but I've tried to adapt it
to apply to more or less any type, so if something doesn't make sense, don't
worry. These checks were supposed to be
as well as
the checks in your owner's manual.
Your Mileage May Vary :)
Engine and Prop
Check that prop bolts are torqued per the manual, and that lock nuts are
Check the gearbox oil level (and condition).
Check the gearbox oil casing - the nuts should be tight, and there should be
no oil on the casing.
Check the spark plugs are clean, the gaps are set, the plugs should be tight
and the caps pushed fully home... tip here: see if it's possible to get a
bungy cord to hold the plug caps down tight, as they have been known to
vibrate loose - on the 503 you can drill small holes in the airscoop that
bolts on over the finning.
Carbs should be upright, check the mounting rubbers are undamaged, and are
clamping the collars tight. Throttle cables should be unkinked and set level.
Fuel pipes should be secure, with no nicks or chafes.
Exhaust and crank case bolts should be tight, and there should be no leaks.
The engine mounting bolts and mounts should be secure and tight.
The silencer (muffler) mounts should be whole, and the mounting nuts tight.
Check that the cylinder head nuts/bolts are tight, and the cowl bolts are
The ignition coils and other wiring should be secure and free from damage.
The fuel pump mounting and casing screws should be tight, and there should
be no fuel leaks.
Check the engine mount frame (usually steel tube) for missing paint, rust
and cracks, especially near weld joints.
Using the correct spanners (not an adjustable!) check the tightness of all
bolted joints between the tubes that form the airframe structure. All should
be easily accessible, except within the wing frame, which should be stripped
every now and then to be checked.
Pay special attention to the spring to axle beam bolts and any "A" frame
junctions, but do not tighten so much as to crush tubes.
Check the mountings for the fuel tank, and that the tap moves easily.
Tube ends should be checked (small animals like to nest in there!) and rivets
in the main spar should be checked to make sure they're tight.
Seat rails should be tight, and all the bolts secure.
Control cables should be checked and cleaned... cables have a tendency to pick
up grit which then acts as an abrasive. Check the crimps on cables... these
are prone to suffering unseen corrosion, so look for "salting" or, in serious
cases, looses strands. Check that the pulleys are turning properly, and
Check the stick and pedals, for free movement, and the mountings to make sure
that they're tight.
Check throughout the airframe for rust on bolts, rivets and screws.
Check that all plug-ends are in tight.
Check the wheel nuts, both the spindle and the nuts to hold the wheel
together. These are often found to be very slack.
Check all moving parts. Also look for any flexing of the welds in tubes
Check all wing (and tail) surfaces, the integrity of internal frames, hinges
and safety clips.
Check the nose or tail wheel... the castor bolt should be only just loose
enough to allow turning. The spring fixings have also been found to be loose.
Check the rudder mounting bolts.
Whilst checking the moving parts, lubricate where necessary.
Coverings / Skins
Any damage to the skins should be properly repaired, surfaces should be tight
and any misshapen battens removed and re-profiled... tip here: retighten the
skins with some (or all) of the battens removed.
Certain skin materials, notably Dacron, degrade in UV light, causing weakness.
To form ajudgement on the serviceability of the skin covering material, call
in expert help... if you can poke a finger through it - get it recovered.
Algae / green microbes like to colonise on the wing skin... they rot the
material, so strip it off occasionally and wash in a mild, soapy solution.
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Jon N. Steiger / email@example.com