Many understand that commercial and military aircrafts cannot afford any problems during flight. The consequences of a malfunction can range from inconvenient to drastic. If a problem arises it can cause much confusion, schedule delays, stranded passengers, and possible grounding of the aircraft until the problem is addressed and fixed. A more serious malfunction could lead to the type of disasters that you hear about on the news, which, in addition to the tragic loss of life, also hurt the reputation of the airline and impose costly insurance expenses. For the military, a mid-flight failure could have even further-reaching consequences, potentially returning to enemy territory, and/or compromising sensitive strategic information.
It is for these reasons that the federal government has placed many regulations on the aviation industry. Each airline has to follow strict guidelines during the aircraft inspection process. These inspections are meant to ensure the safety of everyone on board, and also keep things working efficiently. The inspections are required every twelve months, unless the carrier or group opts for a progressive inspection plan, which means that the aircrafts would be checked more often, but for less time each inspection. In this case, the aircraft would still have to undergo the same checks, but they could be carried out in multiple visits that total the same amount of time.
So what are the inspectors looking for when checking a plane? Really, they check just about every component, outside and in, for any problems. Below are some of the most important things they go over:
- The fuselage and hull – Here they will check the exterior for any evidence of damage or corrosion and incorrect attachment of parts. They will examine the systems and their components for proper function, correct setup, and manufacturing flaws. They will also check the condition of parts such as the gas bags, envelope, and ballast tanks.
- The cabin and cockpit – Inspectors will check the instrumentation, as well as the engine and flight controls, to ensure that they are in good working order. They will also check the batteries and their power connectors for proper operation and installation. In addition to the instruments, they will verify the safety of the area by looking for dangerous loose parts, window deterioration, and chair and seatbelt conditions.
- The engine and its outer casing – Internally, the inspectors will check to see that the engine runs properly, that there are no foreign objects in it or leaks, and that the engine cylinder compression levels are high enough. Outside, they will check the engine mount to ensure that it's stable and crack free, and the tightness and soundness of the nuts and studs. They will assess the dampeners, cowling, exhaust stacks, hoses, clamps, lines, and all other parts for leaks, cracks, or other signs of looseness or breakdown.
- The landing gear and all related components – This part of the inspection has something in common with a car inspection, in the sense that the plane's wheels, tires, and brakes will be tested for functionality and condition. The shock absorbers, the locking and retracting apparatuses, hydraulic lines, skis and floats, and linkages, trusses and members will all also be checked for performance, defect, and condition.
- The wing and center section assembly of the airplane – The exterior will be examined for physical flaws, loose components, and any malfunction.
- The tail assembly – The tail will be checked for all the same things as the wing section, plus poor installation and operation.
- The propeller group – Without propellers, airplanes wouldn't even be able to get off the ground. As one of the most important parts of flight, the propellers will be tested to ensure that operations are in no way inhibited. The physical mechanism itself will be checked for cracks, leaks, and dents, and for loose or improperly fitted bolts. Anti-ice components will be inspected for malfunction and defect.
- The radio group – Since it's crucial that flights be able to communicate, the radio will also be examined for incorrect mounting and installation, for problems with the wiring and antenna, and for bonding and shielding issues.
This is a simple overview of what inspectors looking during the aircraft inspection process. Because of the rigorous standards that airlines and military craft are subjected to and the obvious pitfalls of a malfunction, it's incredibly important for them to ensure proper maintenance of all of these parts and to invest in only the best replacements, when necessary. Rebling Power Connectors are an industry standard, and have been trusted by commercial and military carriers for over 5 decades. Call or contact us for more information today!