What Happens During Aircraft Maintenance?
Proper aircraft maintenance is not just about extending its life and preventing expensive major repairs, but also ensuring the safety of pilots and passengers.
As an aircraft owner and holder of a pilot certificate issued under FAR 61, you can perform basic preventive maintenance tasks like adding oil and air to the shock struts of the service landing gear, installing landing gear tires, and lubricating items that don’t require disassembly.
But for a more complicated inspection and repair, you need to hire a certified technician or work with a company that repairs and manufactures FAA-approved aircraft exhaust parts like Knisley Welding.
What are the things that a certified aviation maintenance technician can do?
A more complicated maintenance (and inspection) work is best reserved for a certified technician who typically performs the following:
- Inspecting components for general wear and tear
- Draining and troubleshooting fuel systems
- Checking the hydraulics and pneumatic systems for wear and tear
- Applying anti-corrosion chemicals to protect the engine
- Lubricating some parts
- Inspecting the aircraft exhaust system
Note that an aircraft exhaust system plays a critical role in flight safety, that’s why it’s always included during preventive, corrective and comprehensive maintenance. In fact, a defective exhaust system may cause carbon monoxide poisoning, fire accidents and complete engine failure.
Visit Knisley Welding to learn more about how we inspect, repair and manufacture FAA-approved exhaust system parts.
What are the maintenance tasks you can do as an aircraft owner?
Again, as an aircraft owner you can also perform maintenance that’s easy like minor preservation operations (adding oil and air), preventive maintenance, and replacement of small standard parts that don’t require a complex assembly process.
By contrast, anything that requires repairs, rebuilding, and alterations should be left to the FAA-certified professionals.
Can you wash your aircraft’s exterior with water?
Technically, pilots and aircraft owners can do it themselves. However, the vast majority still prefer to hire a professional because it’s a bit tricky and time-consuming, especially if one doesn’t have the right cleaning equipment. Also, it involves a complex step-by-step process to ensure that the exterior is protected from harsh elements (sunlight, dirt, moisture, etc.).
This is how a professional will clean the aircraft’s exterior:
- They wash off the dirt with a gentle water stream and bare hands. However, others prefer using a special type of cleaning solution that dissolves the protein without damaging the paint.
- They spray the windows with a plastic-specific cleaner and wipe it off using a soft microfiber cloth.
- Next, they clean the underbelly using an aluminum-safe solution that’s wiped off using a microfiber cloth. In many cases, they need to repeat this process to remove all the gunk and dirt.
Why do you need to wax and polish your aircraft?
You might be thinking that the only reason for this is something superficial–to make the plane look pristine all the time. But the truth is that waxing and polishing is a critical aspect of aircraft maintenance.
Aircraft-specific wax protects the paint against corrosive elements (salt, spills from jet fuel, oxidation, etc.), preventing weak spots, cracks and chips that tend to collect moisture.
A good rule of thumb is to wax and polish your plane at least every six months, paying close attention to the spinner heads, inlets and leading edges because they are particularly prone to corrosive elements.
How frequently do you need to perform aircraft maintenance?
The maintenance requirements depend on the kind of aircraft you’re dealing with. Nevertheless, the FAA states that most planes will need some type of preventive maintenance after every 25 hours and a slightly more comprehensive one after every 100 hours of flying.
These are other maintenance requirements for your aircraft:
- Daily and preflight inspection (conducted by the pilot)
- Annual inspection conducted by a certified repair station of the aircraft’s manufacturer or a certified A&P mechanic with inspection authorization
- Airworthiness Directives or “AD Notes,” which are warning letters given to aircraft owners about their planes’ unsafe conditions.
Final Word on Aircraft Maintenance
Now that you know the maintenance work you can perform as an aircraft owner and the tasks that are best left for professionals, you may want to visit Knisley Welding to learn more about how we repair, conduct maintenance and manufacture high-quality exhaust system components.