The price of an aircraft runs into millions of dollars, and the function they perform is priceless. Commercial aircraft have the responsibility of transporting millions of people across the world, and an equipment malfunction could result in the loss of passengers’ lives. Maintenance is the top priority for all aircraft owners.
Aircraft maintenance checks are governed by the FAA or the Federal Aviation Administration and are mandatory for every aircraft owner or operator. It is clearly stated in title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations. To make sure air transportation risk is minimal, aircraft maintenance comprises a series of activities.
Heavy equipment like aircraft involves expensive repairs. To avoid fatalities and downtime due to the breakdown of parts, heavy equipment preventive maintenance is necessary. We find out what it takes to manage aircraft equipment.
Preventive Maintenance Checks for Aircrafts
There are four scheduled maintenance checks for aircraft as required by Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR). They are:
When a commercial aircraft completes 100 hours of operations, they need to go for the 100-hour inspection. The fairings, cowlings, access doors, and plates are disassembled. The major aircraft components like the flight control system, batteries, avionics, cabin, and engine are inspected.
Every airplane has to undergo an annual inspection to get permission to operate. A review by a qualified A&P (Airframe & Powerplant) mechanic who has an inspection authorization or IA is required. The mechanic’s qualification should not be more than a year old.
The difference between a 100-hour inspection and an annual inspection is that the A&P mechanic does not need an IA for a 100-hour check.
High-usage aircraft fleets would need a progressive inspection plan to reduce maintenance downtime. The frequency of these programs is higher, but the duration is shorter than the 100-hour inspection or the annual inspection programs.
Progressive assessment can only be carried out for an aircraft that has already undergone the 100-hour inspection or yearly inspection.
These checks are conducted before every flight by the pilots to ensure the airworthiness of the flight. The major components of the aircraft are checked, and any defects are reported immediately.
Let’s find out what should be checked in an aircraft preventive maintenance program:
Checklist for Aircraft Preventive Maintenance
You can save millions of dollars on downtime if you have scheduled inspections and preventive maintenance for your aircraft. You could either use a flight hours inspection system or a calendar inspection system, or both. Under the calendar inspection system, components are replaced as per the schedule.
When the aircraft completes a specified number of flight hours, they are checked under the flight hours inspection system.
The checklist for inspection of an aircraft will include:
Fuselage and Hull Group:
- Fabric and skin to be checked for distortion, deterioration, or any other defects or insecure fittings
- Systems and components to be checked for possible weaknesses, right installation, and satisfactory operation
- Ballast tanks, envelope gasbags, and related equipment to be examined for condition.
Cabin and Cockpit Group:
- General inspection to ensure cleanliness and securing any loose tools
- Safety belts and seats to be checked for security and condition
- Windshields and windows to be inspected for any breakage or deterioration
- Instruments should be checked for marking, mounting, state, and proper operation
- Flight and engine control to be inspected for proper installation and operation
- Batteries to be checked for proper installation and charge
- All systems to be examined for proper installation, the security of attachment, apparent defects, and general condition
Engine and Nacelle Group:
- Engine system to be inspected for evidence of excessive fuel, oil, or hydraulic leakage
- Studs and nuts to be checked for apparent defects and proper torque
- Internal engine to be examined for cylinder compression, sump drain plugs, and foreign matter or metal particles on the screens. For weak cylinder compression, check the internal tolerances and internal condition
- Engine mount to be checked for looseness of mounting or cracks
- Flexible vibration dampeners to be examined for signs of deterioration and condition
- Engine control to be inspected for defects, proper safetying, and adequate travel
- Lines, clamps, and hoses to be checked for leaks, state, and looseness
- Exhaust stacks to be examined for appropriate attachment, defects, or cracks
- Accessories to be checked for deficiencies in the security of mounting
- All systems to be examined for proper installation, secure attachment, and general condition defects
- Cowling to be inspected for defects or cracks
- Ground run-up and functional to review all powerplant systems and control for accuracy of response. Instruments to be checked for proper indication and operation.
Landing Gear Group:
- All units to be inspected for the security of attachment and condition
- Oleo fluid level of the shock-absorbing devices should be checked
- Check for distortion, fatigue, and excessive or undue wear on trusses, linkage, and members
- Inspect the locking and retracting mechanism for proper functioning
- Inspect for any leakage in the hydraulic lines
- Check the electrical system for the appropriate functioning of switches and chafing
- Examine the wheels for the condition of bearings for cracks and defects
- Check for any wears or cuts in the tires
- Brakes should have proper adjustment
- Floats and skis should be checked for apparent defects and security of attachment
Wing and Center Section:
- All component should be in proper condition and secure
- There should be no distortion or deterioration of the fabric and skin
- Check for cracks and bends in the internal structure
- Movable surfaces should be free of damage or obvious defects
- Control mechanism should have freedom of movement
- Control cables should have proper tension and fraying
- Fixed surfaces should be inspected for the security of attachment, loose fasteners, and any damages
- Movable control surfaces should be inspected for skin distortion, loose fasteners or fabric, and apparent defects
- Material or skin should be checked for deterioration, tears, abrasion, or cuts
- Propeller assembly should be inspected for cracks, oil leakage, and bends
- Bolts should have proper torque and no defects
- Control mechanisms should function adequately, travel, and securely mounted
Communication and Navigation Group
- Radio and Electronic Equipment should have secure mounting and proper installation
- Wire and conduits must be checked for secure support, adequate routing, and any defects
- Bonding and shielding should be checked for condition and installation
- Autopilot system should be inspected for proper functioning, the security of attachment, and general condition
Ensure Your Aircraft is Airworthy
As the owner or operator of an aircraft, you need to ensure that it is airworthy at all times. Follow the FAA and FAR guidelines for inspection and preventive maintenance. Let your profit soar!