An Insider’s Guide to Airplane Parts and Maintenance 

If you are an aircraft enthusiast with an interest in Beechcraft, Cessna, Citation, Piper, Cirrus, or Diamond aircraft, then you are in the right place.  

At AAI, we overhaul and exchange aircraft accessories (especially hard-to-find accessories) for these aircraft brands, which means we have an insider’s view that very few people in the entire world get to see. 

We get an up-close look at the wear and tear created by years of use and hours of flight time. We see the problem parts that are prone to failure, we see the high performing parts that rarely have issues, and we see everything in between. 

So, if you are an aircraft enthusiast (whether you own a private aircraft, are an aircraft mechanic, a pilot, or maybe just have dreams of flying someday) then you will find valuable information in our blog series, An Insider’s Guide to Airplane Parts and Maintenance

Be sure to subscribe to our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter (sent monthly) so that you don’t miss any articles! 

Here are all the articles in the series so far:

Part 1 – Aircraft Fuel System Parts and Maintenance (this article)

Part 2 – Aircraft Hydraulic System Parts and Maintenance

Part 3 – Flight Control System Maintenance: Trim Tab and Flap Actuators 

Be sure to subscribe to our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter (sent monthly) so that you don’t miss any articles!

What is an aircraft fuel system? 

An aircraft fuel system has a single purpose – to deliver a steady flow of fuel from the tanks to the engine. Aircraft fuel system parts must be well-maintained to ensure proper operation. 

The major parts involved are the fuel tanks that provide fuel storage, the fuel selector valve that allows the pilot to choose which tank is feeding fuel to the engine, the electric fuel pump that pushes fuel from the tanks to the engine, and the carburetor or fuel injection system that delivers metered fuel to the engine cylinders. 

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) has a fantastic video that illustrates the fuel system parts and the process of fuel storage and delivery to the engine. 

The AAI insider’s guide to aircraft fuel selector valves. 

As the professional team that overhauls aircraft fuel system parts, we recommend checking the fuel selector valve on a regular basis for signs of moisture, corrosion, or other issues. If the fuel selector valve binds up from corrosion or other factors, it could fail and present serious risk. 

Here’s the problem with fuel selector valves – manufacturers do not provide much information, data, or guidance on these parts. Fuel selector valves are controlled by a switch or knob that will only have a few different positions, which makes this part of the fuel system seem deceivingly simple. The fuel selector valve is not a part to pull out on a tailgate and work on out in the field. It should only be handled by an FAA certified repair specialist. It is easy to get yourself into trouble with this particular part. Internal flaws could cause the fuel selector valve to pull from the wrong tank. 

The AAI insider’s guide to aircraft electric fuel pumps. 

Electric fuel pumps serve a couple of critical functions – priming the engine and serving as the emergency boost pump after the engine-driven pump takes over, which happens when the plane is in motion. The electric emergency pump needs to be inspected and maintained regularly. You don’t want to find out it’s not working when there is an emergency. 

Here’s the problem with electric fuel pumps – these parts only operate for 5-10 seconds when priming the engine. They aren’t designed to run continuously. So, if there is an emergency and the emergency boost pump needs to run for 30 minutes, it must be in top operational condition. This is another part that should only be handled by an FAA certified repair specialist. Electric fuel pumps should be inspected for the proper flow, pressure, and tolerance, and the electric component should be inspected and maintained. 

AAI provides FAA certified repairs on aircraft fuel selector valves and electric fuel pumps.  

We have developed unique FAA overhaul procedures and surface repairs for corrosion on fuel system parts and we can identify when either a fuel selector valve or electric fuel pump can be overhauled or if a new part is needed. 

AAI is an FAA certified repair station servicing Beechcraft, Cessna, Citation, Piper, Cirrus, and Diamond aircraft accessories. We get you the parts you need to maintain your aircraft so that you can get your plane fixed quickly and get back to flying! 

We hope this article is both entertaining and educational. Here’s to safe and happy flying! 

Be sure to sign up for our Frequent Flyers Email Newsletter to get our articles, updates about industry events, and links to our favorite online content delivered right to your inbox every month… 

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