Even the most experienced professionals in the aviation industry need to remind themselves from time to time of the few basics of aviation maintenance. Maintenance involves inspection, overhaul, upkeep, repair and preservation of the aircraft and engine.
The replacement of parts in accordance with FAA is also included in the maintenance equation. The owner or operator of the aircraft is responsible for its maintenance and engine safety.
The pilot should ensure that the aircraft is in great condition for flight. He should also have valid certificates of registration and airworthiness should be displayed inside the aircraft during all flying operations. The pilot should also ensure that there is an FAA-approved flight manual inside the aircraft and that he remains updated on current regulations that concern the maintenance and operation of the aircraft and engine.
Maintenance requirements are usually different for various aircrafts. The FAA rules require most aircrafts to undergo some kind of preventive maintenance after flying for 25 hours.
Minor maintenance should also be done at least every 100 hours. There are also preventive and progressive maintenance that need to be done, depending on the manufacturer’s set requirements.
An annual inspection has to be done every year by any of the following: a certified mechanic with inspection authorization, a well-rated certified repair station, or an expert from the aircraft manufacturer.
Any kind of passenger aircraft should always be inspected every 100 hours of flying by the same experts. An annual inspection can qualify as a 100 hour inspection; but the reverse doesn’t.
There are also daily and pre-flight inspections that the owner or operator need to perform. Preflight inspections are mandatory to establish the airworthiness of an aircraft.
This is simply information given to aircraft operators about any unsafe conditions. The FAA clearly specifies any component found to be unsafe, along with any other conditions and limitations. The aircraft owner is responsible for ensuring that the aircraft complies with pertinent airworthiness directives.
Service Bulletins by Aircraft Manufacturers
Sometimes the aircraft or engine manufacturer comes up with updates to extend or improve their products. The manufacturer typically issues service bulletins to inform operators what the problem is and how exactly the remedy should be carried out.
Service bulletins are mandatory, required by the FAA, and addresses any issues that might affect the safety of flight. They usually come in the form of service letters and instructions along with the maintenance manual.
Aircraft Flight Test after Alteration or Repair
According to the FAA, any alteration or repair made on an aircraft or engine is enough reason to perform a thorough flight test. There is no doing away with it – the aircraft has to be tested before it resumes normal operations, especially so if it is a passenger plane. The test pilot must always maintain a log of findings and flight records for reference and verification purposes.
There shouldn’t be any compromise when it comes to buying replacement parts for any aircraft. All parts should be FAA approved. It doesn’t matter if you are buying a B&C alternator, propellers or an engine, everything must comply with FAA standards.
Basic maintenance of an aircraft takes a lot of work. Unlike land vehicles which can still operate even when they are road unworthy, an aircraft cannot afford the same because the lives of the pilots and passengers are at stake, not to mention the safety of the cargo onboard.