Things You Should Always Keep Handy in Your Airplane Hangar
by Crista Worthy
An airplane hangar isn’t just an empty space with a roof that keeps your plane secure. Like a house, it’s best to keep it stocked with certain supplies and smart automation security devices. Here are airplane hangar essentials to keep handy!
Airplane Cleaning Supplies
A clean airplane will make you feel happy every time you look at it. For potential passengers who might feel a bit anxious about flying in a general aviation airplane, a clean airplane inspires confidence. Sure, you can pay someone to wash and detail your airplane, but few non-pilots truly understand how delicate airplanes are. As the former owner of an aircraft detailing business, I’ve heard stories from clients about how careless detailers broke antennas, bent ailerons, broke baggage compartment handles, scratched windshields and much more. Do it yourself so it’s done right! Besides, going over every inch of your airplane will help you get to know it better, and you can spot loose screws or other items that need attention. HangarBot, which monitors your hangar with a video feed, is perfect for hangar rash protection. Cleaning supplies might include a ladder, stepstool, ShopVac, hose, bucket, sponges, bug-removing scrubber, wash mop, old bath towels, micro-fiber towels, auto washing soap, carnauba and cleaner waxes, California Custom aluminum deoxidizer and purple metal polish (the best I’ve ever used—requires two steps), a degreaser like Simple Green for aircraft and Plexus Plastic Cleaner for the windshield. If you can’t use water at your airport, try a dry wash product.
Airplane Maintenance Supplies and Tools
Even if you don’t do your own oil changes, it’s a good idea to keep a few quarts of oil, an oil filler spout or funnel and a basic tool set in your hangar. Some tool kits can even be kept in the airplane (keep a quart of oil and funnel in the plane too). Those who do more work on their airplanes will want a more extensive tool set and a proper tool cabinet. Keeping extra screws, nuts and bolts is a good idea. Powerful, hand-held lights on power cords are essential for seeing around the engine. Have a couple of stands to mount them on as well. A simple tire pressure gauge is essential and best kept inside the airplane for use when traveling. You might want an air compressor so you can fill your tires in the comfort of your hangar. A creeper is essential for working under the airplane, such as when de-greasing, and moving your airplane once you’ve shut down (you can also use a hand-held tow bar or powered tug). To keep your airplane battery charged, BatteryMinder makes efficient devices specifically designed for aircraft. In cold weather, an engine preheating system will save wear and tear on your engine by warming it before you start it.
Furniture and a Workbench
A good workbench is one of those things you’ll wonder how you ever lived without once you have one. For times when friends drop by or you just want to relax, bring in a couch, some chairs, a small refrigerator and maybe a coffee machine. Hang aviation-related artwork or even old airplane parts on the walls for decoration. Tip: if you need a new prop, keep your old one for the hangar wall, or even at home.
Hangar Cleaning Supplies
To keep your floor debris-free, you’ll want a small dust broom plus a wide flat broom that covers large areas. Some pilots like to use a battery-powered leaf blower instead. A bucket and mop are handy for more thorough cleaning or wiping up spills. Mouse traps help if you have a rodent problem, so they don’t take up residence inside your airplane and eat away at wire connections. Window cleaner and paper towels are always welcome.
Hangar Maintenance Supplies
Remember, your hangar is there to protect your airplane. Combined with a security system like HangarBot, you can feel even more assured that your hangar will be kept safe. Its walls and locked doors, together with a security system like HangarBot, do just that. Keep your hangar in top shape by lubricating the doors regularly, at least twice a year. A ladder is useful not only for reaching the top of your airplane, but also for maintenance and cleaning jobs in your hangar. For winter climates, a snow shovel can come in handy.
After reading this list, you’ll realize what a luxury it is to have a hangar for your airplane, as opposed to having it sit outside. Keep the above items handy and you can keep both your hangar and your airplane in tip-top shape!