The Signs and Common Causes of Aircraft Vibration
With over 24 million general aviation flight hours logged in 2015, being able to properly maintain your aircraft is extremely important. Aircraft maintenance consists of everything from having the proper aviation equipment, to being able to track bearing vibration (or monitor vibration overall with a portable vibration analyzer), and ensuring high quality engine and parts are in proper running condition. Knowing the common causes of aircraft vibration can go a long way in preventative aircraft maintenance.
When it comes to signs of aircraft vibration, there is a lot you can be on the look out for before using a portable vibration analyzer. While we fully stand behind regularly using portable vibration analyzers to help ensure prime condition of your aircraft, every pilot and aircraft engineer should be able to identify aircraft vibration in other ways too.
The Signs of Aircraft Vibration: Because pilots are flying their aircraft frequently, they sometimes grow accustomed to the vibration and quirks that their particular aircraft exhibits. Sometimes to the point that the vibration is thought of as normal. Here are some of the symptoms of high vibration that should be watched for constantly and dealt with immediately:
If a panel is shaking or vibrating, this is a sure sign of high vibration.
“Random,” but periodic failure of instruments.
Growing fatigue cracks that continuously spread.
Compasses with inaccurate readings.
Tingling or numbness in the pilot’s extremities while operating the aircraft in flight.
These are all reasons to pull out your portable vibration analyzer and start cracking down on what is happening inside your aircraft. Vibration could be due to a bad cylinder, belt resonance, problems with the gearbox, or a number of other issues on the aircraft.
Vibration within an aircraft is not always detectable by feel alone, and so routine maintenance and checks should be done to ensure no vibration is occurring on the aircraft. Vibration diverts energy away from propelling an aircraft forward, and into shaking the aircraft. Beyond leaching horsepower though, vibration also causes massive fatigue on an aircraft, damaging components and instruments, shortening their lifespan.
Using proper diagnostics equipment, such as a portable vibration analyzer, it is usually quite easy to pinpoint the source or sources of vibration. Once identified, the problem that was causing the vibration should be dealt with immediately to ensure further damage to the aircraft does not occur. Additionally, once the issue causing the vibration is resolved, the aircraft should be tested and balanced properly to ensure no other vibration issues are hiding or begin occurring.
When it comes to aircraft maintenance, we provide all the resources you need. Getting portable vibration balancing equipment may seem to be a bit of a chore at first, however if you are on a layover in the middle of a trip and have extreme vibration occurring, it is important to get get it diagnosed and fixed as soon as possible.
Those who own a personal aircraft can attest to the joy and freedom that comes from “owning the sky,” so to speak. Being able to take off and fly over mountain ranges, huge fields, or vast deserts is an exhilarating feeling. However like a jealous lover, if a pilot doesn’t pay proper attention to the aircraft, there could be big issues underway.
If you are new to the field of aviation and aren’t sure what you need to get started give us a call. We can help you understand your particular aircraft better and what you will need in order to get the most out of your intended use. For you aircraft veterans, let us know how we can best serve you. We are here to help make your time in the sky incredible on every take off from now till the day you retire your wings.