Having an aircraft and keeping it taken care of is just a part of the responsibilities an owner has, especially when it’s one of the ultralight category as these have little to no fuselage to protect inner components and electronics. When it comes to nature’s attacks, be it rain, dust or simple climate changes, these light frames have little in the way of defense and that is why they need to be safely kept in an enclosed environment.
As with any other vehicle, these light frame air crafts can be stored in a garage, safely away from natural climate’s interference. But as well as the aircraft itself, these environments need to be taken care of properly; in this article, we’re going to mention ten useful tips on how to take care of garage door mechanisms and what to have in mind when storing your air vehicle within a garage.
First and foremost, hearing is quintessential. The only way to know for sure something is amiss is by listening for any strange noises coming from the garage door engine, very simple and yet the most important preventive step an owner can take. Every time it’s activated and in use, simply look and listen for any misbehavior, in normal conditions it should be very smooth and silent.
The average garage door moves up and down at least a thousand times a year. That directly implies that vibration and movement may cause some pieces to loosen up. Roller brackets and bolts are most susceptible to this so whenever one is out of place, it’s time to take up the socket wrench and fix the issue.
Next there’s the garage door’s balance, if the door is not correctly balanced then the door opener will have to work harder than it should and it will last a lot less. One quick way to test this is by disabling the mechanism, usually by pulling the release handle on it, and then lifting the door itself half-way up. It should stay put, but if it doesn’t then that means the counterweights on the system are off balance and not working properly. WARNING: Garage door spring replacement is best left to professional intervention.
Another easily tended to issue are the rollers, these see a lot of action so it is a must to keep an eye on them, at least twice a year an inspection on these should take place to make sure they are not chipped, worn or cracked. If they are, simply remove them from the mechanism and replace them with new ones as soon as possible. To do this, the roller brackets that are not directly attached to the cable system must be removed and switched out.
Weatherstripping, this rubber weather seal prevents nature’s elements from entering the garage, so any owner should be aware of the condition of these and be prepared to change it at a moment’s notice. Weatherstripping is sold by the foot at hardware and home improvement stores so this should be no problem, simply cut it to the desired size and insert it into the grooves inside the door.
Lubrication is always important when it comes to mechanical parts and for garage doors this is no exception. Keeping the garage doors greased up is a must for it to function correctly and it just takes ten minutes every year. Use white lithium grease on the opener’s chain or screw and a spray lubricant.
Cables, never tinker with the high-tension cables that lift the garage door because they have enough force to maim and kill. Nonetheless, you can check their condition so when the time comes, the owner can hire a pro to make the necessary adjustments. Look for broken strands and damage near the bottom roller bracket.
Garage doors usually have two separate safety features, these are the mechanical and photocell. To test these out is quite simple, for the Mechanical safety measure, just put a simple piece of wood on the door’s landing on the floor and activate the engine, once the door touches this piece of wood it should automatically hit the reverse. For the photoelectric system with beams at each side, just cross your leg in the door’s path. The door should reverse, provided it’s not old enough that it lacks this system.
The door tracks also need to be taken care of, make sure they are clear of any obstructions and check for alignment. Any major adjustments to the tracks must also be done by professional garage door technicians, my go-to are KLM Garage Doors in West Chester, PA. They specialize in these kinds of mechanical repairs and maintenance so, leave the heavy lifting and maintenance to those who know what they are doing.
And last but not least, the door itself. Wooden doors need to be examined carefully, water damage and wear, as well as chipped and peeling paint are bad signs. On the other hand, steel doors may have rust spots that need to be sanded, primed and painted. Wash the door regularly with a mild all-purpose cleaner at the same time you wash your vehicle. Five more minutes could save owners a lot of headaches.
Keeping your garage clean and cared for is just as important as tending to the aircraft itself, never let go of the handle as you would on a helicopter. Keep your garage clean, your door functioning and your helicopter cared for, this will ensure a lasting experience with your ultralight helicopter.