Pilot's tip of the week

Pulling Up to the Shop

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Subscriber question:

"Does it matter how I park when I taxi up to a maintenance shop?" — Tyrone T.

Dean:

“It can matter. It all comes down to situational awareness. It’s as important on the ground as it is in flight.

Consider this scenario: You’re taxiing in to drop off your airplane on a perfect spring day. There’s a spot right in front of the open door where it’ll be easy to push the airplane back in while the oil is still nice and hot. You taxi up smoothly, point the tail toward the shop, and shut down.

You hop out and witness a sight no airplane owner wants to see: Mechanics are scrambling to recover papers, checklists, and even lightweight tools and parts that were scattered across the shop floor by your prop blast. The perfect spring day has turned sour, and the mechanics are mad and frustrated—not the emotions you want from people working on your airplane. And this little incident will not be soon forgotten.

When you taxi up to the maintenance shop, the best way to park is sideways. This will avoid blasting the shop and blowing things everywhere. It will also avoid the potentially dangerous situation of pointing the nose toward the shop. If a brake failed, or an engine control malfunctioned … the scene could be much worse than scattered tools.

So park sideways, having pulled far enough forward so the airplane can be conveniently turned and pushed back into the shop.

And if you really want to go the extra mile, take ‘em a box of donuts.”

There's a looming shortage of A & P mechanics. Have you experienced delays scheduling service on your airplane?

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