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End-of-year aircraft management tips

General / January 15, 2024

It’s that time again! While you’re reflecting on all the fun you’ve had flying over the last year, it may also be an opportunity to shore up some details regarding your aircraft. Whether it’s you, your pilot, or your management company, here are a few helpful tips to a cleaner 2024. 

A little look back never hurts…

Document aircraft usage and spend. It is extremely helpful to have easy access of the aircraft history usage and operating costs. Make sure the last year’s manifest and maintenance expenditures are well documented. “A couple hours spent in December can save a weeks’ worth of investigation a few years down the road,” says Steve Valbracht, manager of six Pilatus aircraft.

Document and address every squawk (If you haven’t already). Documenting and addressing every squawk, no matter how small, is critical. If you haven’t already, make a plan to fix things the “right” way in the new year. It can be tempting to take shortcuts to save money or defer the maintenance of an item until it reaches a critical point, but reliability and availability is far more important than the small amount you may save by taking a shortcut.  Steve says, “When it comes time to trade the airplane, your extra care in maintaining it will be evident.” 

Now, let’s look ahead… 

Book upcoming inspection and maintenance. Get it on the calendar! Snatch up your maintenance or inspection slot to decrease downtime in 2024.  We also would go out of our way (even if we did it early) to avoid December annuals! It is a pressing time of the year, and your family and business needs seem to be wanting to fly as well, so find another month that works best!

Update the budget. A simple talk with the service facility can help you make sure your 1-5 year budget is as accurate as possible, and alert you to any additional downtime that needs to be planned for supply chain issues. 

Secure pilot training slots. If you’re utilizing FSI, a private training provider, or Simcom, get on the list for training. Slots have been hard to find since COVID.  AND, your friendly insurance underwriter is itching for a reason to say “no” when it comes to approved training.

Reassess your risk exposure. Confirm you have adequate insurance coverage moving forward (proper hull values and maximum liability amounts for example), but more importantly reviewing your Operational Control arrangement. You never know when you’re going to get a visit from your friends at the FAA or, God forbid, you have an event where the aircraft is damaged or there is loss of life.  

Extra Credit

Clean behind your gears. With the PC-12, it’s a good idea to consider cleaning and paint touchups, carpet deep cleaning, etc., for the turboprops with exhaust staining and just normal wear and tear. There are some great products that can help eliminate any exhaust staining, but you need to stay on top of it. Ceramic coating is another (pricier) option. Also, finding an outstanding aircraft detailer is crucial to keeping your aircraft in tip top shape. If you want to visit KC sometime, we have one of the best here! 

Remember, JetSwiss is here to help answer any questions you might have about end of year Pilatus management. Thanks to our contributors and friends Michael Cauthen with Avalair and Steve Valbracht with Marshalltown Aviation. These gents are two of the best you’ll find.

Great aircraft, great clients, and great people will make 2024 a wonderful year!