Types of Aircraft Maintenance

As we all know Aircraft Maintenance is very essential. Read to know about the types of maintenance, need for maintenance, salary of an AME and much more. Hopefully you’ll get answers to all your mind-boggling questions.

DEFINATION-Aircraft Maintenance .

No aircraft is so tolerant of neglect that it is safe in the absence of an effective inspection and maintenance programme.

The processes that affect an aircraft are deterioration with age (e.g. fatigue, wear and corrosion) as well as chance failures (e.g. tyre burst, excess structural loads).

Aircraft maintenance can be defined in a number of ways and the following may help understand the different aspects:

  • [World Airlines Technical Operations Glossary]
    • “Those actions required for restoring or maintaining an item in a serviceable condition including servicing, repair, modification, overhaul, inspection and determination of condition”.
  • [Hessburg, 2001]
    • “Maintenance is the action necessary to sustain or restore the integrity and performance of the airplane”
  • [Kinnison and Siddiqui, 2013]
    • “Maintenance is the process of ensuring that a system continually performs its intended function at its designed-in level of reliability and safety.”

Need of Aircraft Maintenance

Aircraft maintenance is intended to keep the aircraft in a state which will or has enabled a certificate of release to service to be issued.

A hangar environment may be available but is often not necessary.

Moreover, Aircraft maintenance is that part of the process of aircraft technical activity which is conducted on aircraft whilst it remains in the line maintenance or base maintenance environment.

  • Aircraft safety – airworthiness at its heart
  • Keep aircraft in service – Availability, which is of key importance to an operator i.e. the aircraft can meet its schedule.
  • Maximise value of asset (airframe, engines and components) – of prime importance to the owner or lessor.

Types of Aircraft Maintenance

Aircraft have set checks at various intervals, often known as flight line maintenance checks and also four different types of higher-level maintenance:

A, B, C, and the heaviest D checks.

Maintenance will consist of a mixture of preventive and corrective work, including precautionary work to ensure that there have been no undetected chance failures.

There will be inspection to monitor the progress of wear out processes, in addition to:

  • Scheduled or preventive work to anticipate and prevent failures.
  • Unscheduled work – Repair maintenance and On-condition maintenance

Line maintenance

This would typically include Pre-flight checks, daily checks (before first flight) fluids, failure rectification as well as minor, scheduled maintenance tasks as follows.

According to EASA Part 145, AMC 145.A.10, line maintenance should be understood as “any maintenance that is carried out before flight to ensure that the aircraft is fit for the intended flight.”

This may include:

  • Trouble shooting
  • Defect rectification
  • Component replacement, up to and including engines and propellers, with use of external test equipment if required.
  • Scheduled maintenance and/or checks including visual inspections that will detect obvious failures but do not require extensive in depth inspection. It may also include internal structure, systems and powerplant items which are visible through quick opening access panels/doors.
  • Minor repairs and modifications which do not require extensive disassembly and can be accomplished by simple means.

EASA Part 145, AMC 145.A.10 also explains that “for temporary or occasional cases (ADs, SBs) the Quality Manager may accept base maintenance tasks to be performed by a line maintenance organisation provided all requirements are fulfilled as defined by the competent authority”.

It is also noted that “Maintenance tasks falling outside these criteria are considered to be Base Maintenance”.

Base Maintenance

Base maintenance may be referred to as heavy (or depth) maintenance, and consists of tasks that are generally more in-depth and long-lasting than those above, but are performed less frequently.

An MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) company will have to have large facilities and specialised equipment and staff to undertake base maintenance, and many operators contract-out this function.

The different activities may include:

  • C and D Checks (block checks see Maintenance Programme) which will check for deterioration of the airframe, engines and systems, e.g. corrosion, fatigue
  • Removal of defects – implementation of Service Bulletins (SB) and Airworthiness Directives (AD), although this can also be done during Line maintenance.
  • Technology upgrade – fitting of Terrain Avoidance and Warning System (TAWS), Airborne Collision Avoidance System (ACAS) etc
  • Cabin reconfiguration, painting etc.

Type-A Maintenance

The next level of checks is known as A checks.

  • Firstly the A check is performed approximately every 400-600 flight hours, or every 200–300 flights, depending on aircraft type.
  • However, A check maintenance is typically done at a hangar and can take a minimum of 10 working hours depending on the services needed.
  • Sometimes, this maintenance is done overnight as to not interrupt the schedule that airlines keep.
  • The frequency of this check varies by aircraft type, the flight cycle count, or the number of hours flown since the last check.

The maintenance work during A checks often covers general inspections of the interior and the aircraft hull for evidence of damage, deformation, corrosion, missing parts. Additionally, it also includes service, engine, and function checks.

Other work performed could entail things such as:

  • checking emergency lights
  • lubricating nose gear retract actuator
  • checking parking brake accumulator pressure

Type-B Maintenance

Next, B checks are often completed during the A check phase, as airlines and operators have phased out B checks.

  • For airlines and operators to efficiently maintain, repair, and overhaul an aircraft, some B check tasks have been absorbed into A check phases.
  • This helps by reducing aircraft downtime, reducing time maintenance technicians work on the aircraft, improving maintenance scheduling, and implementing better usage of resources such as hangars and test equipment.
  • Typical work completed during B checks are tasks such as
    • checking alignment and torquing of the nose landing gear spotlight
    • inspecting the wheel well hydraulic tubing for condition
    • corrosion, and fluid leakage.

Aviation maintenance professionals perform B maintenance checks approximately every 6-8 months. It takes about 160-180 labor hours, depending on the aircraft, and can be completed within 1–3 days at an airport hangar.

Type-C Maintenance

C and D checks typically fall under “heavy maintenance,” and are much more extensive than the B check.

  • Further the C check requires an aviation maintenance technician to perform a deep inspection of a majority of the aircraft’s parts.
  • Also, the C maintenance check can often take the aircraft out of service for 1–2 weeks.
  • This type of check often requires an aircraft to stay at a maintenance facility for the necessary space/tools/maintenance technician working hours/materials.
  • Up to 6,000 maintenance hours are typically needed for C checks.
  • Aviation maintenance technicians will perform certain tasks during C checks, such as:
    • examination of structures (load-bearing components on the fuselage and wings) and functions for corrosion and damage
    • checking the operation of the DC bus tie control unitin-depth lubrication of all fittings and cables

There are different levels of C checks depending on the type of aircraft, much like how A checks incorporate B check tasks!

For example, a schedule might have aviation maintenance technicians performing C1 check tasks on a certain day and then the next day continuing with C2 and so on.

Type-D Maintenance

Lastly, the so-called “heavy maintenance visit” occurs every 6-10 years depending on the aircraft.

  • D checks are comprehensive inspections and repairs of the entire aircraft and can mean taking apart the aircraft to inspect for damage and corrosion.
  • The process can also take upwards of 30,000 to 50,000 labor hours over a period of four to six weeks.
  • With the entire aircraft stripped down and equipment removed, airlines often decide to refurbish aircrafts’ interiors and upgrade them altogether during D checks.

There comes a certain point where airlines realize that the cost of repair is more than the actual cost of the aircraft. This usually happens after two or three D checks.

Because of the nature and the cost of a D check, most airlines plan D checks years in advance.

Oh, and also the cost of the entire process can cost upwards of a few million dollars!

Routine Maintenance and You!

There is a strict system for aircraft to be properly maintained, repaired, overhauled, and also inspected as time goes on.

  • The Federal Aviation Administration sets this system in place, and later it is up to airlines and other aviation operators to implement the system and ensure it is being followed.
  • Above all, preventing damage to aircraft and working to keep that aircraft flying safely is what it’s all about to be an aviation maintenance technician!

It’s time to dream bigger.

Train to become an aviation maintenance technician in as little as 14 months at National Aviation Academy!

Maintenance Intervals

The intervals of maintenance are parameters set within the Approved Maintenance Schedule (AMS), which is in turn based on the Maintenance Planning Document (MPD).

These will be set according to different criteria, mostly depending on how well damage can be detected and failure predicted.

Units for Maintenance Intervals

  • Flight Hours (FH),
    • for items that are in constant operation e.g. Fuel Pumps, Electric Generators.
  • Flight Cycles (FC),
    • for items operated once or twice per flight e.g. Landing gear, air starter, brakes, hull pressurisations.
  • Calendar Time (Cal),
    • for items exposed whether operated or not e.g. Fire Extinguishers, Corrosion to Structure.
  • Operating hours,
    • for items not operated every flight, or otherwise independent of FH or FC e.g. APU operation.

Aircraft Maintenance Salary

AME has a very bright future. It is a very adventurous job. It is skilled and very well paid job.

Click to know more in detail about the Aircraft Maintenance Salary. It varies with companies, post and most importantly experience.

  • The average salary for an AME is ₹6,73,200 per year (₹56,100 per month). Which is ₹2,85,700 (+74% higher than the national average salary in India).
  • Also Maintenance Engineer can expect an average starting salary of ₹1,10,300.
  • The highest salaries can exceed ₹20,00,000.

Aircraft Maintenance Jobs

Overall employment of aircraft and avionics equipment mechanics and technicians is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations.

Job opportunities are expected to be good because there will be a need to replace those workers leaving the occupation.

One can find Aircraft Maintenance Jobs at the following:

  • Airlines:
    • Airlines is a company which provides regular services carrying people or goods in aeroplanes.
    • Before aircraft fly, Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer has to analyse and solve the problems of aircraft.
    • After signing certificate an aircraft can fly.
  • Aircraft Operation Organizations:
    • ICAO, EASA, etc are the Aircraft Operation Organization.
    • Their organization deals with well being and protection of civil aviation.
    • When it’s about Safety in aircraft, AME is the first name that came out.
  • Flying Clubs:
    • A flying club is an organization that provides its members with affordable access to aircraft.
    • That aircraft need to be maintenance which is done by licensed AME.
  • Aviation Training Centres:
    • There are Aircraft Maintenance Engineer who aware another candidate about the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering and its scope.
  • Civil Defence Forces:
    • There are many aircraft which defence use for various purposes to protect the country.
    • Defence aircrafts are also maintenance by license Maintenance Engineers (AME).

The best countries for Aircraft Maintenance Jobs.

Your experience is very well counted in MROs and airlines in India.

However, if you are looking in some other countries, it is always good to get some relevant experience in commercial aviation and look for good opportunities.

Airlines usually prefer people who knows there fleet of aircraft.

With commercial aircraft experience, Qatar is a good opportunity for AMEs. DubaiKuwait and Abu dhabi also provides good opportunities for aircraft maintenance engineers. Another country you can try is Singapore.

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