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11 Surprising Things You Can Fix On Your Plane

Need some work done on your plane? Check out FAR Part 43 before you take it to your mechanic - you might be able do the work yourself.

Part 43 specifies items that fall under "preventive maintenance", and if you have your private pilot certificate, you can do these items yourself. (just make sure you're comfortable with what you're doing, and remember, it's never a bad idea to have a mechanic double-check your work.)

1) Tires

Got a flat? No problem, because the FARs say preventive maintenance includes "removal, installation and repair of landing gear tires."

stem-1 RedTail_Panther

2) Gear shock struts

Does you plane look like it's a low-rider? There a fix for that - you can add oil, air, or both to your gear shock struts.

3 Piper 92R

3) Spark plugs

Fouled plug? You can clean them or replace them yourself.

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4) Lubrication

Need to lubricate some parts? As long as you're only removing nonstructural items to get the job done (cover plates, cowlings, etc.), you're good to go.

primary J. Tewell

5) Fabric patches

Hangar rash? You can make simple patches, as long as they don't require rib stitching or removing structural parts or control surfaces.

stem-2 Mike Langhorst

6) Hydraulic fluid top-off

Low on hydraulic fluid? Fill 'er up.

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7) Upholstery repair

Tear the seat with your headset? We've been there. Fortunately you can fix it, as long as it doesn't require disassembly of any primary structure or operating system.

stem-7 OnceAndFutureLaura

8) Side windows

This one is a bit surprising - you can replace side windows, as long as your work doesn't interfere with the structure or any operating system, like controls or electrical equipment.

Cessna 185 Brian And Bailey Pruett

9) Burned out lights

Do you have a nav light burned out? You can replace it, and get back to night flying.

stem-3 martin cruze

10) Fuel filter

Fresh filters are a good thing, and you can clean or replace fuel and oil strainers/filters yourself.

primary Boldmethod

11) Batteries

You're not going anywhere with a dead battery. Put a new one in and get back into the sky.

primary Boldmethod

Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at

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