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5 Things to Know About Aircraft Maintenance

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Aircraft maintenance is one of the most complex topics in the engineering industry. The modern plane is a marvel of engineering, and its design has been refined after over a hundred years of constant work and countless scientists making their additions and tweaks. As a result, the plane has hundreds of mechanisms, components, and small parts, all of which need to be maintained regularly. Failing to do this can be catastrophic, as even a minor fault can ruin a flight once the plane has taken off, while a major one could result in an emergency landing or a flight.

1. Regular Hydraulic Fluid Changes

The hydraulic fluid that is present in the plane is vital. It is used to control most of the moving parts of the plane. If the fluid or the hydraulic system is compromised, the pilot will quickly lose control of the plane and will not be able to move the wings or deploy or retract the landing gear. To prevent this problem, companies use hydraulic power units or HPUs to clean out hydraulic fluid and replace it when it needs to be replaced, such as when dust or water has entered the container, diluting it. Companies also use specialized fluids designed for air travel, like the Skydrol LD-4 hydraulic fluid.

2. Scheduled and Non-Scheduled Maintenance

Aircraft maintenance is usually strictly scheduled and has comprehensive maintenance and testing every few months. During these periods, the plane will have many of its old parts removed, and will get new hydraulic fluid more tire pressure, and will be thoroughly cleaned and deiced. However, non-scheduled maintenance is also important, as this is done depending on the plane’s condition. If there is a part that seems like it is malfunctioning, or if a system did not respond well in testing, non-scheduled maintenance is performed to resolve the issue and make the plane flight ready as soon as possible.

3. Line Maintenance Vs Base Maintenance

Line and base maintenance are the two major ways to maintain a plane. Line maintenance refers to the minor repairs and replacements that planes need from time to time, such as new lights, better tire pressure, or refilling nitrogen and oxygen tanks and removing waste. Line maintenance takes minimal time and can be done in the airport’s hangar. Base maintenance deals with the major repairs that the plane may need, such as replacing the landing gear, engine, battery, etc. This is usually done in a specialized facility. Line and base maintenance ensure the plane is in the best condition possible.

4. Highly Trained Support Crew

There are dozens of systems in the plane that allow it to function, and without proper understanding, the support staff will be unable to help with maintenance. In airports worldwide, aircraft maintenance technicians are thoroughly trained and only hired if they already have degrees. The main areas their education focuses on are the systems present in the plane, such as the airframe, the engine, the battery and its temperature regulation, air recycling, and avionics. Untrained technicians can damage the plane even further, as a small mistake could cost millions.

5. Testing Is As Important As Repair

Maintenance on its own is not enough to make sure a plane is air ready. It is just as important to test every plane’s capacity before it’s ready to be placed back on the tarmac. The most frequently tested features are the avionic communications, which is how the control tower stays in touch with the pilot. Other considerations include the health of the battery and the energy systems and how well the engine is functioning. 

Conclusion

Planes are considered the safest form of travel for a reason. They have got hundreds of mechanisms and additions in their design, which are there just to minimize the risk of a crash and ensure the plane’s controls are working perfectly. Maintenance is a serious task, especially because, in this industry, negligence can lead to an airline shutting down and hundreds of people losing their lives. If you are interested in aircraft maintenance, all of this can seem overwhelming, but if you use the information in this article and start slow, you will know what you need to do to take care of your aircraft.

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Linda Barbara

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