February 03, 2020 | By JETechnology Staff
All military or commercial aircraft require regular maintenance checks to ensure smooth operations. Conducting these inspections is paramount to the safety of your crew, pilots and passengers. Scheduled and unscheduled checks should occur regularly, with each type serving a different purpose in the care and upkeep of an aircraft.
Scheduled Aircraft Maintenance Checks
Scheduled checks include annual, pre-flight, 50-hour and 100-hour and progressive inspections, which all fall under preventative maintenance. Fixing a component before it breaks down saves time and money. Pilots ensure top-tier flights by performing thorough examinations and noting any areas of concern before and after each flight.
Pilots are required to conduct pre-flight checks. These checks are short but thorough, and they generally include inspecting the engine, tires, brakes and more. Pre-flight inspections consist of a walk-around to visually inspect the exterior, plus interior maintenance of the switches, cockpit and controls. Many pilots carry a manufacturer’s checklist during pre-flight and other inspections to leave no point unchecked.
50-Hour and 100-Hour
50-hour and 100-hour checks operate on a rigorous aircraft maintenance schedule. Both checks are done for flight instruction or for-hire crafts, although 14 CFR Part 91 only calls for the 100-hour examination. The 50-hour check is recommended to ensure proper adherence to safety standards. During one of these checks, the pilot will inspect the engine controls, electrical systems, hydraulic lines and more.
As the most comprehensive of all checks, annual inspections include the engine, flight controls, aircraft skin, access doors and much more. Not all aircraft follow the same rules for yearly reviews. Those with a progressive plan are not required to undergo the annual check, because periodic inspections replace the yearly schedule. Aircraft with special permits such as a ferry permit can fly to another location while being out of annual.
Progressive aircraft inspections provide a flexible maintenance schedule when there is not enough time to complete the typical annual or 100-hour checks. High-usage aircraft, such as those used for flight schools or FBOs, adopt progressive inspection plans to meet federal standards in shorter time intervals. A craft may undergo two or four 25-hour checks. While these occur more frequently, they still must meet all the required standards for 100-hour and annual inspections.
Unscheduled Aircraft Maintenance Checks
Unscheduled aircraft checks often occur as part of corrective maintenance. A&P technicians conduct these inspections when an element has malfunctioned or is suspected to be malfunctioning. The pilot usually discovers the defect while in flight or during one of the previously scheduled inspections. If a faulty component is the culprit, the aircraft is grounded until the technician can repair it.
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