Flying 1-2 times a month doesn’t cut it says Lycoming:

“We have firm evidence that engines not flown frequently may not achieve the standard expected overhaul life. Engines that are flown occasionally deteriorate much more rapidly than those that fly consistently. Pilots have asked, ‘What really happens to an engine when it’s flown only  one or two times  per month?’ An aircraft engine flown this infrequently usually accumulates rust and corrosion internally. This rust and corrosion are often found when an engine is torn down.”

– Lycoming Engines
Read More on Lycoming’s Website

Q & A

Why do I need an airplane caretaker?

Lycoming says what we fear the most: Internal rust, corrosion, and reduced overhaul life from flying 1-2 times per month. Apparently flying every other weekend is not only insufficient, but exceedingly troublesome for your engine’s health and longevity.

Did you also know Blackstone Laboratories (Oil Analysis) considers your piston engine to be “Inactive” if it is operated less than 5 hours of flight time per month? They have a lot of data on aircraft engine wear and would consider your engine a candidate for long-term storage preservation. If that’s a surprise, you’re not alone. A sitting airplane doesn’t mean operational costs are zero, it often means more problems and burdens mount the longer your airplane sits.

Common reasons for a trusted airplane caretaker:

  • I don’t fly my airplane enough each year and I’m concerned about potential problems the longer it sits.
  • I don’t fly during the uncomfortable Summer months, but I would like a trusted pilot to fly it periodically so it’s ready for me in the Fall.
  • I had an operation and my doctor advised no flying for eight weeks. Can you take it to the skies periodically until then?
  • Life simply got busy, can you keep it flying until I have the time again?

With many General Aviation airplanes averaging 50 years old, just like every classic car, various systems need methodical and consistent use. Each Airplane Caretaker experience is tailored uniquely to your needs and it’s important for the longevity of your airplane, engine, and associated systems, to keep every part operating regularly.

Is engine corrosion a problem in Arizona?

Yes. Crankcase moisture is a problem, even for us, in Arizona.

After a hot engine is shut down, water vapor and steam occurs as the engine begins to cool. As the water vapor and steam build, condensation forms on the inside of the aluminum crankcase. This condensation forms and groups until it becomes a heavy enough mass for gravity to force it downward; Dripping water in the hot engine oil. The end result is a warm and moist environment within the crankcase that promotes the worst kind of internal corrosion.

So even if our relative humidity is low outside in Arizona, your engine’s crankcase still becomes a sauna inside after shut-down.

This is why frequency of flight is important for every airplane. Trust in Airplane Caretaker to help.

Source: Teledyne Continental Motors, Inc. –  Continental Tips on Engine Care

What is corrosive attack?

Corrosive attack is a term that Teledyne Continental Motors, Inc. refers to when describing what happens to aircraft engines that are not used frequently enough and/or not preserved in lieu of frequent use.

Corrosive attack can occur in any engine regardless of geographical location.

Corrosive attack may reduce engine service life, primarily concerning the cylinders, piston rings, valves, valve guides, camshaft, and lifters.

The best method of reducing the likelihood of corrosive attack is to fly the aircraft at least once every week for a minimum of one hour.

Source: Teledyne Continental Motors, Inc. –  Continental Tips on Engine Care

Why is engine corrosion the #1 reason for not making TBO?

An airplane that flies every 7 days for at least one hour at operating temperatures is considered active by experts.

“Everything right happens when you actively fly your airplane from an engine point of view: Parts are bathed in oil, the oil is heated enough to boil off the moisture in the oil thus reducing the key component of corrosion, O-Rings and seals are exercised and moistened with fuel or oil. These are all good things. If you change the oil and filter every 50 hours or less, or every 4 months while flying once a week, you have the best possible scenario a reasonable person could hope for.”

Airplanes that are flown less than one hour every 7 days are considered to be in various phases of storage: Flyable storage, temporary storage, and indefinite storage. Extra care is necessary for steel cylinder-bored engines to say the least.

“These engines are nothing like your newly designed car engines that use the most modern alloys and that you drive every day. In fact, there are many quotes from a number of notable sources that the number one reason for not making TBO (Time Between Overhaul) is engine corrosion!”

“As corrosion eats away at your steel parts they change shape and lose their dimensional integrity, which no longer allows them to work as intended, in harmony with the other components. This same dimensional change works on steel cylinder walls. After the corrosion is scraped off by the rings nothing fits tightly to the cylinder wall. Lost compression and increased blow-by of carbon and other destructive byproducts of combustion are forced into the oil supply. The blow-by increases corrosion on the other steel parts of the engine.”

Source: Ram Aircraft, L.P. –  You’ll never make TBO if you don’t fly it!

Do you need to fly my airplane or can it stay grounded?

No, I do not need to fly your airplane. In some cases, I elect not to fly the airplane.

Some clients do not want their aircraft flown, they simply want a trusted pilot to stop by in between their periodic flights to observe and report: Weeping brake hoses, cracking/separating tire treads, new fluid leaks, low struts, loosening antennas, low tire pressure, bugs and pests moving in, and so much more. Each caretaking process is different for every owner and airplane.

It’s priceless to have a trusted pilot and friend put eyes on your airplane even when flight is not involved.

Common reasons:

  • I’m going out of town, can you stop by and check on the airplane during my extended trip?
  • I would like extra eyes on my airplane because I honestly don’t get on the ground enough to look closely, even though I should.
  • Can you take a look at the airplane in between my flights?
  • I would like to fly my airplane next weekend but I have not flown it in awhile and I’m really busy this week. Can you take a look at it?

Please note: At no time does my visual inspection replace your requirement to inspect your airplane prior to your flight. My visual inspection is conducted as if I were going to fly the airplane that moment, and as Pilot in Command (PIC), you are required to perform your own pre-flight inspection before your flight commences.

Do you “Ground Run” airplanes?

Yes, by request only.

I have been asked by airplane owners to pull their airplane out, start the engine, taxi at low speed, check the brakes, allow the alternator to top off the battery charge, and in some cases perform a run-up magneto check after the engine reaches operating temperature. I do not ground run engines for more than 20 minutes.

Ground running an airplane for extended periods of time is not in the best interest of the engine. This is especially true in Arizona where ambient temperatures can quickly get hot for an air-cooled engine that relies on ram air for cooling (As opposed to velocity cooling by way of the propeller). The absolute best thing you can do for your engine is to fly it regularly, allowing your engine to benefit from evenly distributed ram air-cooling during flight.

Do you oversee rented airplanes?


I regularly stop by various tie-downs to check on airplanes that are rented so the owner is aware of the condition renters are leaving the airplane. Each visit involves a thorough visual inspection for damage on leading edges and tail, cockpit cleanliness, engine oil level, tire flat spots, and more. The airplane owner is sent a summary and any associated pictures of discoveries for their own consideration. A copy of your rental agreement is requested so I can add any of your requirements to my tailored inspection, such as ensuring the last renter cleaned the leading edges and windshield, if that is something you require.

Please note: I will need access to your scheduling platform to ensure I visit when the airplane is not in use.

Do you make repairs? Are you an A&P/IA?

I do not make repairs or modifications and I am not an A&P/IA.

I observe and report directly to you and/or your preferred A&P/IA (If desired). For example, if you have a weeping brake fluid hose, I will document the issue and report directly to you, and your preferred A&P/IA for service, if you so wish. I will not repair, replace, tighten, or otherwise make any adjustments to the part. I strictly observe and report.

I work closely with several A&P/IA’s at Falcon Field. There is a great chance I already know the A&P/IA that you prefer to work with and I can coordinate any service needs with them directly if you prefer. Please read the next question for more details related to assisting with optional service or repair appointments on your behalf.

Do you arrange for airplane service or repairs?

In some cases, I do assist with arranging for service or further assist with logistics based on your aircraft’s needs and your personal preferences for caretaking service.

For example, if your airplane has a weeping brake fluid hose and you have asked that I address any concerns I discover with your designated repair facility, I typically assist as follows:

  • Take picture(s) of the leaking hose, as detailed as possible, and note the specific location.
  • Contact your designated repair facility on your behalf, include you on the correspondence, and advise of the leaking hose with complete documentation.
  • You would work with your designated repair facility to agree on any service terms required.
  • I could retrieve the airplane when work has been completed and visually inspect the hose, associated fittings, and send you pictures of the completed service followed by storing your airplane back in your hangar or securing to your tie-down.

This allows you the freedom to go about life normally, not interrupt your schedule over a simple brake fluid leak, while still getting the need for repair addressed.

Please note: It is not my place to guarantee any service performed by your designated repair facility or A&P/IA technician. This is the sole responsibility of the repair facility and authorized technician.

How is scheduling handled?

For your initial consultation, simply fill out the “Contact” form on this website. I can meet you at our comfortable Falcon Field office located on the North side of the field or directly at your hangar/tie-down. 

For subsequent service, if you’re not already on a recurring schedule, just send me a message to discuss your airplane’s latest needs. Scheduling can be à la carte or on a recurring basis.

Services are typically scheduled at least one week out.

What insurance do you have?

For non-flight caretaking, there is no additional insurance necessary as I am not taking your airplane in the air.

For caretaking that involves flight, there are two avenues for insurance that make most airplane owners comfortable:

  • My experience likely meets the OPW (Open Pilot Warranty) clause on your existing insurance policy. With a compatible OPW, I do not need to be named on the policy and I can fly your airplane without changes.

  • Alternatively, I can be added to your existing airplane insurance policy. This may result in a premium change, and in most cases, it is negligible. If the difference in premium is of any significance, we can discuss options, based on the level of caretaking desired to maintain your airplane.

In addition, I maintain an extensive non-owners insurance policy of my own. A non-owners policy is considered secondary insurance, however, and should not be relied upon as primary insurance in place of the insurance company who has insured your airplane. While secondary insurance would insure me, your airplane in full, and others’ property while I am at the controls, it does not fully replace the need to be qualified under your primary policy.

To be insured under your primary policy, and additionally under my secondary policy, I am truly over-insured and that is the ideal position I would like to be in for my clients in respect to their airplanes. If you have questions about insurance, please contact me directly.

What airports do you serve?

I am based out of Falcon Field and I primarily serve Falcon Field, Chandler Airport, Deer Valley, and Phoenix/Mesa Gateway. On occasion, you may find Airplane Caretaker at Marana, Ryan, Sedona, and Payson.

Traveling to different airports for Caretaker service is common. If you would like service at a different airport, please contact me.

What is the enrollment process like?

Initial consultation is provided free of charge. This includes answering any questions, meeting at your airplane, and discussing a potential caretaking plan.

All services are listed on an extremely detailed menu for you to choose and select what is right for you and your airplane. There is zero pressure and no sales tactics are used nor am I interested in the idea of upselling anything – The decisions are entirely yours. I do not go in to any consultation with the preconceived notion that I’m going to sell service because the services sell themselves. As an airplane owner and enthusiast, you know what you want, you’ve just been searching for the right person and service to provide it. The search ends today with Airplane Caretaker.

Upon enrollment, you will be asked to complete a new client form. This initial form asks about your contact details, preferred repair facility/technician, oil change intervals, oil analysis reports, airplane flight time over the past 12 months, total air frame time, engine time SMOH, annual date, and much more.

For airplanes that may be operated, you will be asked extra questions such as your preferred ground leaning method, preferences on prop cycling during run-up, taxiing RPM and brake use, power setting change after rotation or 1,000′ AGL, and more. These questions are asked because every airplane owner is different; Many have had different experiences, read different publications, talk to and learn from other experts, and so on. For example, some owners don’t remove power when braking so they can keep their engine at 1,000 RPM in an effort to prevent spark plug fouling, and many other preferences. Every caretaking experience is customized for you and your airplane provided they are safe and within boundaries of the POH. If a request is made, but not clearly outlined in the POH, I have even asked the manufacturer for clarification first. There is no other service to trust your airplane with, like the way you can trust Airplane Caretaker.

Contact me today and get started with your consultation.

What does this cost?

Not everything in aviation has to be expensive.

Clients are surprised when they learn of service costs, and furthermore impressed, when they experience service delivery. Airplane Caretaker provides a needed service in the aviation industry for owners who don’t fly every week. Any costs associated with service are leaps and bounds below what it would have cost to let a good airplane, it’s engine, it’s elaborate systems, parts, components, seals, and so much more – Sit unused in a hangar or outside in the elements. Airplane Caretaker can help.

There is no one better to deliver exceptional value than the knowledgeable aviation enthusiast, pilot, and perfectionist that is Airplane Caretaker.

Contact me today and get started with your consultation.


“The best method of reducing the likelihood of corrosive attack is to fly the aircraft at least once every week for a minimum of one hour.”
Source: Continental Tips on Engine Care

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