It has been more than a century since the first commercial flight took off from St. Petersburg, Florida and landed, a mere half hour later, in Tampa. In those 100+ years, the industry has polished and perfected the art of aircraft operation and maintenance. A key factor in making flight the safest way to travel has been the establishment of regular aircraft maintenance checks at specific, regulated intervals. This important work is carried out by the more than 130,000 aircraft mechanics and service technicians working in the U.S.
While virtually all aircraft are inspected prior to each flight, more intensive checks vary in frequency. This guide lays out the general recommendations for the timing of different types of maintenance for aircrafts.
Aircraft need high quality treads to achieve such safe, consistent landings. The time it takes for these treads to wear down is contingent on the frequency of landings an aircraft makes, as the intense friction between the tires and the runway when planes land takes a toll on the rubber. Some people wonder — airplanes are extremely heavy, how do these tires attain such incredible load-bearing capacity? According to an article by Wired, airplane tires are inflated to a pressure approximately six times greater than car tires: 200 PSI, or even more for high-performance aircraft such as fighter jets.
A plane cannot fly until it has received this certificate ensuring it was built to the precise specifications for its model, and that the model has been sufficiently tested for airworthiness. Once it receives this certificate, it must pass frequent inspections. Commercial aircraft can be checked as often as every 100 flight hours.
More frequent aircraft maintenance service checks
Just like cars, aircraft engines must receive regular oil changes in order to continue operating at a satisfactory performance level. There is some variation in the frequency with which plane engines require an oil change, depending upon the precise conditions of the engine. Flight instructors generally recommend that high-end engines with a filter have their oil changed every 50 flight hours. Engines with just a screen rather than a filter should be replaced twice as often, roughly every 25 hours. Critical components such as the bolts securing the propeller and the engine of a plane undergo checks and routine maintenance as well.
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