When looked at with a conventional perspective, all machines in existence require maintenance of some kind. From sending in your car for a regular oil change, to inspecting the motherboard of a computer, upkeep is essential. For more intricately-designed vehicles such as airplanes, maintenance involves a more complicated process.
In order for a plane to safely takeoff, there are various procedures that must be meticulously reviewed. Most of these regulations must adhere to aviation standards, in order to keep the security of the plane at a peak level.
The following airplane maintenance requirements are guaranteed to be found on a professional’s maintenance checklist:
Requirement #1: Airplane Knowledge
Maintenance, as it pertains to the aviation industry, is complex. This is not without good reason; every mechanical component has to be examined pre-flight. As for the actual meaning behind this type of maintenance, it involves a standard set of terms. For starters, the overall inspection, repairing, and preservation of the aircraft must be tended to. Those working on the airplane maintenance system must be familiar with all these concepts.
In regards to the aircraft itself, maintenance is usually catered towards the body of the airplane. The engine is also a very pivotal part of the plane, and requires its own respective maintenance by a qualified technician. Once these guidelines are established, the necessary work can then begin.
Requirement #2: Airworthiness Directive
This airplane maintenance requirement, colloquially known as AD, is a notice to the owners and operators of a respective aircraft. AD’s, with respect to a plane that is certified to fly, signifies that some part of the aircraft has a safety deficiency. Once this has been discovered, maintenance has to be conducted by law.
Many AD’s are mandatory in most regions internationally. In order for the AD to be cleared, a specific action plan must be written out, and then implemented. Only when the safety deficiency has been taken care of, can a safe operation of the aircraft be marked for takeoff.
Requirement #3: Airplane Inspections
An inspection of an aircraft, as it relates to general maintenance, can be generally regarded as broad. This is because inspections are usually divvied up into two sections. The first section is known as an annual inspection. Annual inspections denote a check-up of the plane in the preceding twelve months.
On the other hand, there is the one-hundred hour inspection. If a pilot wants to carry passengers for hire, other than themselves, this inspection must be completed. The exception here is that the one-hundred hour rule only applies to the individual providing the plane. This can be exceeded by ten hours, but only if the plane is being flown in directly for maintenance.
Requirement #4: Preventative Work
Sometimes, there are minor portions of maintenance that must be conducted on an aircraft. Although this is not always necessary, it is still required to be reviewed by most airlines. Preventative maintenance usually involves the upkeep of small standard parts within the airplane.
This also relates to assembly operations of the plane that aren’t inherently complex or time-consuming to do. In order to determine what component of the plane qualifies as preventative, it must be approved by a respective service. Any work required on a part of a plane that is larger than what is defined by preventative maintenance, must usually be done elsewhere.
Requirement #5: Pre-Flight Examination
Once all the internal components of a requisite aircraft have been completed, it will usually be cleared. Before a plane has been loaded with passengers, the pilot, co-pilot, and flight crew must conduct maintenance inside. This involves conducting a walkaround of the plane cabin, and visually reviewing the most important parts of the aircraft.
In addition, the sensors, probes, and exposed motors and cables are reviewed. The latter mechanisms are usually related to landing gear, so that the plane can land safely after a flight. Newer aircrafts can automatically run system tests on areas such as the weather radar. This lessens the amount of manual maintenance the flight crew has to do before taking off.
Requirement #6: Post-Repair Flight Test
After a plane has been altered, whether in a minor or major way, it should be routinely tested. This means that, after being cleared for operation, the plane should conduct a flight test. If it is successful, and it has been given authorization to carry passengers, it can then return to its respective airline.
During the actual flight test, the pilot must ensure that they check the operations that have been rehabilitated. If they detect that it is operating in a less-than-stellar manner, they must make it clear that it should return to servicing. Planes have to be in peak condition, in order to safely carry passengers from one area to another!
From the body of the aircraft, to the engine, to the in-flight system check, airplane maintenance is critical. However, the sooner that the testing is successfully conducted, the sooner the plane will again be on the tarmac!