Cold Weather Flying Tips

Flying this Winter?

The winter of 2013-14 will no doubt be remembered for quite some time as the coldest in recent memory. But the cold does not have to keep you grounded this winter. Here are a few tips to keep your cold weather engine starts a little easier and your feet a little warmer:

Make sure your battery is strong. If the battery is older, consider a replacement to ensure good starting in any temperature. Battery tenders are an excellent way to keep your battery charged up, warm, and ready to go. They can be installed on your plane. Simply run an extension cord from outlet to plane and the battery tender will keep your battery topped off and ready to go.

Don’t let a cold cabin keep you grounded this winter. Newer cabin heaters are more efficient at keeping you and your passengers comfortable. Ask us about installing one on your plane.

Install an engine pre-heater. This option is less expensive than renting a heated hangar. If you have access to an electrical supply, this is an excellent solution. Ask our team which system is right for your aircraft.

Contact the Sky Manor Air Repair Service Team to learn more.
908-996-0541 or email us at

Performance Adding Tip, Part 2

Last month we tackled cleaning and how keeping your aircraft free of dirt and grime will surely increase the speed of your aircraft.

Now that your arms and shoulders have recovered from all of that cleaning and waxing, we will cover another, often overlooked, aspect of flight performance – rigging.

More Speed Through Proper Rigging

Speed. We spoke of it last month and learned that something as simple as a cleaning can add very measureable performance to your aircraft. That’s the first step. But there is certainly more that can be done to bring your plane back to new performance – and it does not involve doing anything to the engine.

Have you given any thought to the way your plane flies through the air?

It may be flying in a forward direction, but with the nose angled to the left or right, is it really flying straight? If a plane isn’t flying straight it creates unnecessary drag which slows its speed down. It is quite possible that this is the result of an improperly rigged plane.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself.

• Do you need to use rudder trim to keep the nose straight or the wings level?
• Is the ball on your turn and bank indicator not centered?
If you answered yes, then it is quite likely that your airplane is in need of a rigging adjustment.

While there are plenty of speed mods available on the market to squeak out that extra knot or two, the first thing that they recommend would be to have the plane properly rigged. The beauty is that this may be the only thing your plane needed in the first place. A properly rigged plane could pick up as much as 5-7 knots by just making it fly straight.

So, between giving your plane a good, thorough cleaning and having it track correctly through the air with proper rigging, can you imagine the performance that could be gained? It would be like having a brand new plane all over again.

As with anything, however, there are limitations. Please be sure to contact our team at Sky Manor Air Repair for more detailed information on the options available for your plane.

Contact us today at 908-996-0541
or email us at

Easy Performance Adding Tip – Part 1

Whether it’s the cars we drive or the planes we fly, there is always that desire to see how much performance we can get out of our machines. And there is always some fuel additive or engine add-on that is designed to do just that…for a price.

But did you know that something as basic as a wash and wax can squeak measurable amounts of speed and performance from your aircraft? And it doesn’t cost much more than a little of your time and some elbow grease.

An article this past week in AOPA highlights this very fact.
Click here to read more.

Then, if you were surprised by the changes after a simple cleaning, and are wondering what else is available to increase performance from your plane, then contact us for recommendations on mechanical performance products specific to your aircraft.

Sky Manor Air Repair and Avionics

How often should engine oil be changed?

This is indeed the age old aviation question. From a maintenance point of view it is easy to say, “Read your engine owner’s manual.” Everything you need to know is in there. However, be sure to read it carefully and fully.

Lycoming and Continental manuals will advise that engine oil should be changed every 50 hours on engines with filters and every 25 hours on engines that do not have filters. But this rule is not hard and fast. Most GA aircraft are flown less than 50 hours a year and can sit for long periods of time between uses. Therefore, it is important to change the oil every 4 months as opposed to the elapsed time on the Hobbs meter.

Every time you run the engine small amounts of carbon and other contaminants enter the oil. This increases the acidity of the oil. When these contaminants are allowed to sit in contact with the metal parts of the crankcase for long periods of time, they can cause corrosion. Additionally, condensation in the crank case due to high humidity, the simple heating and cooling effects of running the engine, or climate changes during periods of outdoor storage can result in rust that develops on the internal engine components. This rust is washed away by the flow of oil through the engine during the next start up. However, these fine rust particles will act like sand paper against the cylinder walls of the engine. The filter by its nature will capture most of this. But, leaving this contaminated oil in the engine will surely cause unnecessary wear and shorten the TBO. The point is, over time the chemical composition of the oil breaks down and is no longer providing the protection that it is designed to do.

So, whether it’s your plane, the sports car that only gets used on “special” days, or any other piece of equipment that requires oil changes, be the prudent owner and take care of your equipment by doing frequent oil changes. The small amount invested now could save you thousands in possible engine work later.

While this report only highlights a few of the reasons for frequent oil changes, more detailed information can be found by reviewing the manufacturer’s recommendations. Please click on the following links for more information.

Continental – Oil and Filter Change Intervals
Lycoming – Oil and Filter Change Intervals

For questions or to learn more, contact the maintenance team at: 
Sky Manor Air Repair and Avionics at 908-996-0541.

Maintenance Tip: Cleans Things Up!

Flying weather is definitely here now. Warm temps and long evenings make this the best time of year to take to the skies.

Show off your pride and joy by cleaning things up and making it shine! This month we offer some ideas on things that you can do yourself to keep your plane looking it’s best.

Whether its polishing the glass, cleaning or waxing the skins, or simply going through and getting rid of excess clutter in the cockpit, keeping our planes clean and tidy is a task that any aircraft owner can do.

For some excellent advice from AOPA on how to ensure that you have an enjoyable flying season ahead, click here!

Should you have questions about this or anything else, please feel free to call us anytime at 908-996-0541.

Sky Manor Air Repair
48 Sky Manor Road
Pittstown NJ  08867

Avionics Installations

Many planes are operating with radio equipment that could be as old as the aircraft itself. This older equipment, while top of the line when new, may not offer the latest features and benefits that modern technology can provide.

Some equipment may no longer be repairable due to obsolete parts and manufacturer support.

Make your time in the seat a little more comfortable. Upgrading your avionics suite to a new stack with features like stand-by frequencies will bring ease of operation and new life to your cockpit.

Call us today to learn more.

Sky Manor Air Repair
48 Sky Manor Road
Pittstown NJ  08867

More than routine maintenance

By now you are keenly aware that Sky Manor Air Repair and Avionics is your one stop shop for all of your routine maintenance and inspection needs.

Did you also know that our team has the experience and equipment to handle some of the tougher jobs as well?
Keep us in mind or refer a friend for the following services available at Sky Manor Air Repair.

• Sheet Metal Repair
• Complete Restorations
• Non-Destructive Testing
• Mods, Upgrades, and Conversions
• Warbird Maintenance

Have a special issue that needs to be addressed?
Allow our team to help.

Sky Manor Air Repair
48 Sky Manor Road
Pittstown NJ  08867

Meet Our New PEEPS!

When our business began in March 2012, we made a commitment to provide a level of customer support that would exceed that which is currently available at most GA repair facilities.

Our first goal was to create a team atmosphere by bringing in quality personnel that have a reputation among their peers as being among the best in their fields. We brought in Joe Flury, IA and former owner of Flury Air Services in Quakertown, PA, Jay Sarver, IA and Restoration Professional, and Eric Lacko, A&P with 22 years of Avionics experience. Next we invested in new equipment and upgraded the service facility in order to provide this team with the tools they needed to provide unmatched service.

Well, here we are 13 months later.  And, WOW, what a difference a year makes.  The formula that was laid out at the beginning has paid off with increased business, the FAA acceptance of our Certified Repair Station, and the addition of Marcy Mazza in the office to handle all the administrative functions.

We are now very proud to announce that we have added two more employees to the Sky Manor Air Repair roster to help serve you better.











The next time you stop by you might see a couple of new faces added to the team.  We have been so busy that a few extra hands were needed to keep up with the work.

Meet: Mike Belsito, A&P

Mike Belsito, A&P

With his experience in rotary wing aircraft, Mike brings an additional level of expertise to the Sky Manor Air Repair team.  A former Marine, Mike is very proud of his military career that lasted 8 years from 1994 – 2002.  He was a rescue swimmer and then became Crew Chief on a CH46 Sea Knight.

After the military his love of helicopters landed him a job in Zionsville, PA where he routinely worked on the helicopters for 2 prominent Philadelphia TV news stations.  From there Mike spent time as a Line Crew Manager at an aviation repair facility in Doylestown, PA where he was able to learn more about GA aircraft.

An Embry-Riddle graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Project Management, Mike currently resides in Pipersville, PA where he is pursuing his Master’s Degree and continues to work on earning his own Pilot’s License.

Meet: Jamie Marookian

Jamie Marookian

Jaime is a resident here at Sky Manor Airport.  He recently earned his pilot’s license and is now into everything airplanes!  Jamie was working in the construction industry when he heard that we were looking for some extra help and jumped at the chance to learn more about aircraft maintenance.  And yes, he literally jumped. His enthusiasm is contagious and you will surely find him springing into action from one job to the next.

His efforts will help Joe, Jay, Eric, and Mike get work done quickly by making sure that planes are open and ready for the jobs that need to be done.

So next time you’re on the ramp, or fueling up with some of the least expensive 100ll fuel in the area, please take a moment to stop by and welcome our crew.  They would love to meet you!

Stressed-Out Propellers

The following is an excerpt from the January 10th issue of FLYING LESSONS as read on
Are you operating your propeller under stress?
Are you damaging your propeller?
Will your propeller suddenly fail?
You will likely respond with a confident – NO!
But wait! How do you know for sure?
If you want to be sure, obtain and read FAA Special Airworthiness Information Bulletin SAIB NE-08-21, dated May 14, 2008. Yikes! 2008! Yes, it is dated, but the information could save your life; because what you don’t know can hurt you!
Consider the following:
Does the piston engine aircraft you work on or operate have a range of restricted propeller RPMs?
Does it have a maximum propeller RPM indicated on the tachometer? Many aircraft models do. Some aircraft may require a placard or marking that states, for example, “Avoid continuous operation between 2,000 and 2,250 RPM”. Such limitations typically result from certification testing when increased propeller stresses are observed during certain operating conditions. Operating in these ranges can result in some very significant vibration. Prolonged violation of such restrictions could result in structural damage to a propeller, leading to propeller failure or internal engine component failure, such as the crankshaft. Ask yourself the following:
  • When was the last time you had your tachometer accuracy  checked? It might be out of calibration resulting in propellers being operated in a restricted RPM operating range or causing propellers to exceed their maximum propeller RPM without your knowledge.
  • Is it possible the restriction placards in the aircraft are no longer correct? If so, there is an increased risk of exposing the propeller to damaging vibratory stresses.
  • If a tachometer was replaced or modified, does it have the proper markings, such as redlines, yellow arcs, red arcs, green arcs, or other noted limitations?
  • Are instrument panel placards for RPM restrictions incorrect, illegible, or missing?
  • If a propeller and/or an engine was replaced or modified, are the propeller RPM restrictions or placards still providing correct information?
Ponder this: On June 18, 2012, a Piper PA-28-200, lost about 6″ of the tip of one propeller blade while still in flight! It can happen – and does happen! (BTW, although the pilot described “a violent vibration,” he made a successful precautionary landing at a nearby airport.)
If you keep the stress off the propeller, you will remove stress from yourself.

Maintenance Records from a Pilots Perspective

Keeping good and organized records to many of us seems much like filing taxes – a necessary evil that seems better to put off as long as possible. But so important is this topic that on a rather raw, and very overcast day this past month over 90 pilots made the trek and “flew” their cars to our repair hangar for an excellent FAASTeam Seminar presentation on the values of keeping quality maintenance records.

We have many times heard from the FAA on what needs to be in our records books. However, this event turned the conversation around. As pilots and aircraft owners, what does it mean from our perspective regarding the necessity to keep quality maintenance records?

As was pointed out a case can certainly be made that quality record keeping can not only keep us out of hot water with the FAA, but it can also increase the safety level of your aircraft and not to mention the resale value as well!

Here are just a few notable bullet points from this seminar:

  1. The owner/operator (most often the pilot in command) is responsible for ensuring all required maintenance, inspections, and AD compliance are accomplished in a timely manner. The owner/operator is also responsible that proper maintenance record keeping is maintained.
  2. The regulations about maintenance and maintenance records can be found in Parts 91, 43, 39, and 65.
  3. Maintenance records must include repairs, alterations, maintenance, preventive maintenance, inspections, and AD compliance.
  4. An entry into a maintenance record must include a description of the work performed, date of completion, total time, name of person performing the work, a signature for return to service, certificate number of the person performing the work, and the type of certificate of the person performing the work.
  5. The mechanic’s responsibilities include the completion of quality work and ensuring that the work performed is completely and accurately logged into the maintenance records books.
  6. Keeping good maintenance records can save you money in the long run. For instance, if there is a discontinuity of records in the log books, the prudent mechanic during Annual Inspection might need to take extra time disassembling parts in order to verify an AD requirement that might have already been addressed.  Hundreds of needless dollars could have been saved had a simple entry in the books been made originally.
  7. Maintenance records can be kept in a variety of formats, including traditional small logbooks for airframe or powerplant or letter-size pages, whether bound or loose-leaf. The adLog system ( is an excellent way to keep good records.
  8. In the end, the owner/operator of the aircraft is ultimately responsible for quality record keeping. Treat them like gold and be sure they are accurate and current at all times.

When it comes to proper records keeping there are many different ways to reach the same result. As such, it is important that owners and service providers keep an open dialog and agree on a format that works best for each of them.

Sky Manor Air Repair is dedicated to providing thorough entries into your maintenance records.  If you have additional questions, please feel free to call the Sky Manor Air Repair team at 908-996-0541.