Are Your Nuts Tight?

New Maintenance Guide

Sept 2020

Recently a friend of mine found a way to spend the summer of COVID being a bit extra productive by writing a book that I believe all kit builders, RV and otherwise, could benefit from.  If you've never met or heard of Vic Syracuse, he's personally built more airplanes than I would bet many pilots have even had the chance to fly, and he's flown them quite literally all over the continent for thousands of hours.  He's an A&P, a DAR (dude who inspects homebuilt aircraft), a technical advisor, and a pilot both professional and for pleasure.  He's inspected and seen so many airplanes in his life that he's become a very well known inspector to use for pre-buy inspections if you're looking to buy a kit or finished airplane that someone else built.  In short, he's "the guy" when it comes to knowing and seeing what breaks and what people do wrong, with airplane construction and maintenance.

Book Link

If you've spent time on VAF (, you've no doubt seen his posts.  Occasionally you'll see something that he's found while inspecting an airplane that will make your head spin.  Missing plugs, chafed parts, broken brackets and other pieces, and one of the truly dangerous things...loose jam nuts.  He's seen so many planes with loose jam nuts when he does inspections that he decided to actually help people prevent their own disasters by taking the time to illustrate exactly where these nuts live, with pictures, and create a guide for the average, every-day builder/pilot/owner/maintainer.  Lest you think you would never miss such a thing on your aircraft, he's got plenty of evidence to show that there's probably a better than 50% chance that you have something wrong or loose on yours.  I know, from having him around my airplane in the past, and hey, from me being around other people's airplanes, that the builder always thinks they have it all just great...until someone else checks it out and points out the various flaws.  Keep in mind that this is absolutely NO INSULT, but an act of love when someone does this for you.  But just like tough love, sometimes it hurts the ego a little. :)

So when Vic wrote this book, I really wanted to read it, for my own benefit. I know I'm not perfect, and I'm perfectly capable of improving myself...just ask my wife, there's plenty of room left for improvement!

The book itself has a brief intro, and then really dives in to the various things you should inspect during a pre-buy, or annual condition inspection.  It's got sections on Engine, Fuel System, Ignition System, Intake, Ancillary Systems, Interior and Exterior, and of course, a whole section dedicate to Jam nuts.  It's an easy read, because just like everyone likes, it's got lots of good pictures with just enough text to get the information across. 

Again, if you've spent time on VAF, you know that it's very common for a new builder to want to grab from other builders, a POH, a checklist, and an inspection list.  This book would make an excellent resource for a builder for when they're setting out to inspect their plane or create their own inspection list.  I'd say, it should be considered mandatory training for a new builder, in fact, and this book should be something any new builder just gets for themselves.  You may read it through a few times over the years, or may even want to read it to refresh your memory on what to look for before your inspection every year.  But there are just too many good illustrated mistakes and issues in the book to not make it part of your library, and keep you humble about your own maintenance.

From what I've gathered, this is a good portion of his book on pre-buy inspections, without some of the additional purchase related items.  The ending is a little abrupt, but if you keep in mind that you're reading a portion of a pre-buy manual, you'll understand why that is.

Anyway, support your fellow RV guru Vic and grab a download of his book from the above link.  If you're really lucky, you'll meet him at OSH, as he's a regular there, and you'll find him looking over your plane, showing you one of the things you missed along the way. :)