When it comes to airworthiness, there is a distinct connection to flight safety, although it can be somewhat complicated. When a defect is present in the aircraft, it significantly affects airworthiness and can cause the craft to fail to meet the required conditions for safe operation.
If left uncorrected defects can cause major accidents. Sometimes, the aircrew themselves are partly to blame in the event of a malfunction due to an improper response. However, in most cases, the crew provides an appropriate response to a craft malfunction and is able to recover the aircraft.
In the case of defects and failures, the list is long and exhaustive, and troubleshooting the exact cause can be difficult. The list below covers the possible threats to an aircraft’s airworthiness.
- Accidental Damage (AD) and/or Environmental Damage (ED)
- Maintenance errors which create malfunctions that only become apparent long after the maintenance was performed
- Deterioration due to ageing components
- Usage alterations or unmonitored operation
- Undeserving issuance of Type Certificate due to errors in the process
- Inadequate or fragmentary maintenance or servicing
- Hazards regarding fuel and/or fuel system
- Inability to properly oversee operations due to poor training, operation procedure, and/or maintenance
- Legislation change
- Major component degradation as a result of fatigue, fretting, wear, corrosion, or creep, depending on the component or system operation
- Design, maintenance, supply, or manufacturing errors
- Human factors
- Operating the aircraft beyond the certificated limits. Flight operation in ice or snow conditions, for example
- Insufficient configuration control
Proper aircraft maintenance and operation can significantly reduce defects and failures.
There are many procedures that can help with threats such as degradation, including vibration analysis. Defects will create unwarranted vibrations, and using a vibration analyzer can help identify these defects. Aircraft are equipped with high quality, high-end engines that need constant monitoring, as well as propellers that need both static and dynamic propeller balancing. In 2015, there were 24,142,000 logged hours of general aviation flight, all of which resulted in operation and use of aircraft. Without proper aircraft maintenance and type certification in place as defenses, aircraft are prone to both physical and human-related malfunctions.
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