Tuesday, 08 January 2008 18:58
Maintenance of an aircraft is many times more stringent than that of your car. If you have a problem with your car, you can always stop by the roadside to rectify it or call for the mechanic to help out. However, when you are in the air, any serious defects could put many lives into jeopardy. Hence, regulators imposed very strict conditions for airlines to adhere to. This is to ensure that aircraft maintenance is kept to the highest standard.
Before an aircraft is released for flight, the various licensed aircraft engineers must properly certify that all the systems are in good and serviceable condition. After every landing at the following airport, a similar check is also carried out. Any defects are duly repaired before the next flight.
Basically, there are two types of maintenance. There is the scheduled maintenance and an unscheduled one where defects are rectified when they are reported by the aircrew after every flight.
Scheduled maintenance is a very detailed work carried out on the aircraft at specified period or at the expiry dates of the various aircraft components.
Overall, a typical maintenance program would look similar to this:
· Prior to every flight, the maintenance personnel would conduct a thorough visual inspection of the aircraft, checking for dents, damage or cracks on the body and any oil or fuel leaks from the systems.
· In addition, after every 3 to 5 days, the plane's surface controls would also be thoroughly checked. It would also include the landing gears, brakes, various fluid levels as well as the oxygen system.
· Every 8 months, the internal control system, all the emergency equipment and the hydraulic system are carefully checked.
· Every 12 to 17 months, the maintenance crew do an even more detailed check using devices to probe for wear and tear, corrosion and cracks in components that are not visible to the eyes.
· After every 3 to 5 years, the aircraft is taken apart for a major overhaul. This entails the removal of major components that are life expired and replaced with newer ones where applicable.