7 Tips for Restoring or Upgrading a Light Aircraft

Updated 6th December 2022: Our new infographic shows our seven tips for restoring your light aircraft so you can see our expert advice in visual form! Read our blog post further down the page for more details on how to make your restoration or upgrade a success. Restoring or upgrading a light aircraft can prove to be a great project to sink your teeth into. There’s nothing better than the satisfaction of restoring a plane and being able to take to the skies after grafting to make it good as new. This is a significant undertaking and can eat your budget very quickly, so here are a few tips worth considering before you get to work restoring your light aircraft. 

1. Know  the end goal for your light aircraft

Knowing the end goal as to why you’re working on a light aircraft will help you make decisions on how much time and money to put into it. If your project is a labour of love and, once completed, you’re going to keep your aircraft for a number of years, your budget may be more flexible. If however you plan to sell, you don’t want to spend  so much you don’t make a profit at the end.  Understand the market for your aircraft and your budget before you begin. Light aircraft magazines and websites often contain valuable information on the work done and progress made by other aviation enthusiasts and restorers.

2. Check your light aircraft thoroughly

Spend time inspecting your aircraft, making notes and taking lots of photographs. Label up everything you move, remove or interact with, -  as you may need to tear the assembly down to the structure in order to identify any problems such as corrosion. Even if you're doing a complete restoration and almost starting from scratch, it's important to inspect what you have so you know exactly what you're dealing with.

3. Don't rush

It's so exciting working on a plane, but don't be in such a rush that you don't do a thorough job. The most important thing is of course safety and airworthiness. However, you also don't want to skimp on anything that you may regret, even if it's just cosmetic - you’re spending so much time and effort restoring it that you’ll want the finished product to be perfect.

4. Check for existing repairs/works

When you're inspecting your plane, you may find that a previous owner has already attempted repairs. Be critical of these repairs and if they don't seem up to scratch, don't let them stand and redo them to your own high standards.

5.  Research any proposed modifications

With light aircraft, changes to Type Certificates are a possibility so, if you want to make some changes to your light aircraft,  make sure that any modifications or alterations don't make your plane less airworthy. Aircraft owners may prefer the potentially more economical route of upgrading their existing aircraft - giving them the results that provide equivalent or similar abilities that would be available with a new or younger aircraft purchase.

6. Know your own skills/limits

If you’re not a professional, it may be that your skills can only get you so far. Obviously, if you’re not confident with doing it yourself, it’s always best to seek the help of a professional, as opposed to doing damage to the aircraft or even yourself. Many aircraft enthusiasts have grown their passions into professional and successful light aircraft restoring and remanufacturing businesses. Here are details of one of these such companies who we have supported previously.

7.  Explore how finance could help you

Arkle Finance could help you with the finance support you may need to fund refurbishment or maintenance work on your light aircraft, offering a quick way for you to access the value of your asset and spend the money where you really need it. Contact our Aviation Specialist online to find out more about how we can help or call us on 01933 304789.

7 Tips for Restoring or Upgrading a Light Aircraft

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