Periodic aircraft evaluation has to be performed in the light of rules laid down by the international civil aviation regulation authority called the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). It is essential for ensuring that the flying machines are safe and in excellent working conditions before they take off for the next flight.
In simpler terms, aircraft maintenance refers to the process undertaken by the airline companies to maintain aircraft in its original condition. It is carried out to rule out any aircraft safety threats. Aircrafts are issued an airworthiness certificate after the aircraft has been inspected thoroughly.
Purpose of Aircraft Maintenance
Generally, there are three main purposes of carrying out any maintenance program. These include prevention, surveillance, and adoption of corrective measures where necessary. There are different kinds of performance checkups, depending on the time period and nature of maintenance required.
Levels of Maintenance
According to the nature of maintenance, if an aircraft needs deep maintenance with full-scale inspection and huge repairs are involved, it is called a heavy maintenance level. Aircraft going through this kind of maintenance will be examined extensively and detailed corrective measures will be adopted as compared to an aircraft needing minor repairs.
The aircraft which requires small-scale services are categorized under line maintenance level. The maintenance tasks at this level include basic checkups before the upcoming flight and minor fixtures wherever needed. Moreover, line maintenance does not really need to be scheduled beforehand. It can be carried out at any time.
Types of Scheduled Aircraft Maintenance
The aircraft maintenance checkups as per the time period include 4 types of scheduled maintenance inspections. These include the A check, B check, C check, and D check. The A and B checks are considered lighter to be in nature than the C and D checks.
A check is performed once every 400-600 flight hours have been completed by the aircraft and takes approximately 50-70 man-hours.
The B check is performed every 6-8 months and takes up to 180 man-hours.
The C check is performed every 20-24 months and may take up to 2 weeks to be completed. C check is more detailed in nature than the B check and requires more attention.
The D check is the most extensive in the nature of all the checks. It is also known as the ‘Heavy Maintenance Visit’ and takes up to 50,000 man-hours depending on the level of its requirements. Given its comprehensive and cumbersome nature, the D check is only performed 2-3 times in the life of an aircraft before it is retired.
No matter which type of checkup an aircraft company opts for, the process of aircraft maintenance includes the same steps; overhauling, inspection, replacement, rectification, and modifications.
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