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How Often Are Airplanes Checked for Maintenance?

frequent-aircraft-maintenance

Many thousands of parts make up an airplane, which is one of the most complex vehicles in the world. To ensure the safety of their respective crews and passengers, they require regular maintenance. But how often are airplanes checked?

In spite of the fact that there are different types of commercial airplanes, they are all very complex.

To ensure a safe flying experience, airplanes need frequent maintenance.

Every two days, they undergo a basic maintenance inspection, followed by an annual heavy maintenance inspection.

What Are Line Maintenance Operations?

In addition to preflight, mid-flight, and postflight inspections, tires need to be replaced, and fuel needs to be refilled, among the ground services planes use.

A large number of major unserviceables are rarely dealt with by first-line maintenance departments (ground handling companies), and hanging facilities are rarely needed for repairs or rectifications.

1. Run-To-Failure (Reactive Maintenance):

Maintenance management strategies that have a minimal impact on production and pose no safety risks include using assets until they fail and then repairing them. Maintenance does not need to be performed until a failure occurs with this strategy. 

2. Preventive Maintenance (Proactive):

A proactive maintenance strategy is based on the adage “prevention is better than cure”. By performing regular maintenance and scheduling inspections, you can keep your assets in good working order and reduce the likelihood of unscheduled downtime. In the beginning, it might be a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. 

3. Predictive Maintenance (Condition-Based):

Utilizing monitoring tools, this strategy alerts you to the need to perform maintenance on your assets. Taking action before a problem becomes a major problem means keeping an eye out for potential problems early. 

4. Reliability-Centered Maintenance:

Maintaining productivity while maximizing productivity requires using the most cost-effective maintenance techniques. In order to implement a reliability-centered maintenance strategy, every asset must be analyzed separately, which can take a lot of time and effort.

ABC Check System

All heavy and light aircraft are required to undergo periodic maintenance checks after a certain number of flying hours or usage. It is evident that aircraft need to be serviced more frequently as they are flown more frequently. Therefore, manufacturers specify ‘flight hours’ rather than a timeframe for maintenance checks.

A check and a B check are included in the check system for minor investigations. C check and D check are required for major or heavier inspections. The operators of aircraft are allowed to conduct lighter checks on their own, but C and D checks must be conducted at a qualified aircraft welding company.

A check

It is recommended to perform these checks every 400–600 flight hours or 200–300 flight cycles, depending on the type of aircraft. Takeoffs and landings constitute one aircraft cycle. For the checks, the aircraft must remain on the ground for at least 10 hours and require about 50-70 person-hours.

Depending on the type of aircraft, the number of cycles flown, or the amount of time since the last inspection, this type of inspection varies. If certain conditions are met, the airline can delay the inspection. A check is performed in an aircraft hanger.

B check

In general, this check is performed every 6 to 8 months. Depending on the type of aircraft and its condition, it takes about 160-180 person-hours. An airport hangar usually completes it within 1–3 days.

C check

C check is performed approximately every 20–24 months, or after a specific number of actual flight hours (FH), or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. A large majority of the aircraft’s components must be inspected during this maintenance check, which is much more thorough than the B check. During this check, the aircraft will be out of service for 1–2 weeks. It is imperative that the aircraft is not allowed to leave the maintenance site until it is fully repaired. Due to the fact that it requires more space than A and B checks, it is usually carried out at a maintenance base in a hangar. Completing a C check requires up to 6,000 hours of labor.

3C check

3C check, also known as an Intermediate Layover (IL), is used by some authorities. As part of this type of check, the aircraft may undergo light structural maintenance, including inspections and checks for corrosion and high-load parts.

D Check

As the most extensive and demanding check on an airplane, the D check is also referred to as a ‘heavy maintenance visit’. A thorough inspection and overhaul of the whole plane is performed every 6-10 years. Depending on the number of technicians involved, the inspection can take up to 50,000 person-hours and two months. The maintenance can only be performed at a suitable facility.

How Often are Commercial Jets Serviced?

To ensure a safe flying experience, commercial airplanes require frequent maintenance. In general, they undergo a basic maintenance inspection every two days, followed by a heavy maintenance inspection every few years

How Often are Figher Jets Serviced?

In their operational lifespan, modern fighter jets are typically designed to withstand 8,000 hours of flight time. Their average flying time is 200 hours per year, which means they should continue to perform well in sorties and missions for about thirty to forty years.

How Often are Private Jets Serviced?

Providing a safe flying experience requires frequent maintenance on private aircraft. In aircraft maintenance, both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance are common. Various calendar and hourly inspections are usually scheduled every 12 months or every 200, 400, 600, or 800 hours.  An in-depth inspection is usually performed at a longer interval. 

Furthermore, a plane requires maintenance inspections more frequently the more it is flown. When a component of the aircraft malfunctions, unexpected maintenance is required. Maintenance that is unforeseen and must be addressed prior to the next flight is called unscheduled maintenance.

What are Aircraft Maintenance Requirements?

In spite of the fact that different types of aircraft require different maintenance, according to the FAA, preventive maintenance is generally required after every 25 hours of flight time, and minor maintenance is generally required every 100 hours.

Annual Inspection:

This inspection must be performed within the last 12 months by A&P (Airframe and/or Powerplant) mechanics with inspection authorizations, a properly rated certified repair station or the manufacturer of the aircraft.

100-Hour Inspection:

A&P technicians, properly rated certificated repair facilities or the manufacturer must inspect an aircraft every 100 hours when it is used for commercial flights or flight instruction. It is acceptable to perform a 100-hour inspection as part of your annual checkup, but not the reverse.

Daily and Preflight Inspection:

A daily inspection can be conducted by the owner or operator of the aircraft, but a preflight inspection must be conducted by the pilot if he or she elects to conduct one.

Where Do Aircraft Maintenance Services Take Place?

A maintenance check can take up to ten working hours in a hangar, depending on the services required. It is sometimes necessary to perform this maintenance overnight to avoid disrupting airlines’ schedules.

Depending on the aircraft type, flight cycle count, or flight hours since the last check, this check is performed more often or less frequently.

How Often Do Plane Wheels Need To Be Changed?

The temperature of aircraft tires must be able to withstand extremes that range from minus 60 degrees Celsius at 10,000 meters altitude to extremely high temperatures when landing in the hottest regions of the world. 

Furthermore, long-range aircraft like the B747 and A380 will complete more than 10,000 takeoffs and landings during their lifetime, which means their tires will change over 100 times. Additionally, aircraft tires differ from car tires in several ways:

They are tubeless, have a pressure between 12 and 18 bars, and are filled with nitrogen instead of air. 

Due to the fact that ambient air can reach temperatures of several hundred degrees, that last difference is crucial to ensuring safety.

In combination, all these variables result in aircraft tires needing to be changed every 120 to 400 landings, depending on the aircraft model, the runway, the weather, and the pilot.

How high do planes fly?

How fast do airplanes go?

Understanding aviation lights

What is the Frequency of Engine Replacement on Planes?

Different engine categories and types have different required times between overhauls (TBOs). It is common for older and smaller jet engines to have TBOs of 5,000 hours or less. A more modern engine usually has 6,000 or more hours of operation.

The MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) schedule for modern jet engines averages 12 years or more, since most business jets accumulate less than 500 hours of flying time a year.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Frequency Of Airplane Cleaning?

Each flight’s interior is quickly cleaned between flights, and during slow times at night the interior is cleaned more thoroughly. Deep cleaning is performed every 30 to 45 days on the interior. Depending on how often the plane is flown, the exterior is washed every 6-8 weeks.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Plane?

Decommissioning a plane can be done for a variety of reasons. As an example, when a new, more cost-efficient model is released. Safety is the most important consideration, aside from factors such as fuel prices, new models, and seat types. Generally, planes can fly for 30 years before they need to be retired. The lifespan of a plane is usually measured by its pressurization cycles rather than in years. 

A plane’s fuselage and wings are stressed every time it takes off because of pressurization. Fatigue of metal is the cause of this. It is expected that short-haul planes, which take off and land multiple times a day, will have a shorter lifespan than long-haul planes.

Metal can be damaged by too many pressurization cycles without being replaced. Metal fatigue can be understood if you bend a paperclip repeatedly until it snaps. It is possible for pieces of the plane to break off mid-flight if pressurization repeatedly presses on the same parts of the metal shell.

What Happens To Retired Planes?

It is either destined for another buyer or destined for the scrapyard when a plane retires. It may be possible to resell a plane to another fleet if it is still safe to fly, or if the buyer is willing to pay for maintenance rather than buying a new plane. There are different requirements for plane safety in different countries. In one country, something that is no longer considered safe might still be considered safe in another.

In the absence of buyers, old planes are typically disassembled for parts in scrapyards. When deciding whether to retire a plane, it is important to take this into account. Besides safety and economic factors such as fuel efficiency or seat type, it’s also important to retire the plane early enough to repurpose certain parts, which might help recoup some costs.

Final thoughts on how often are airplanes checked

Maintaining, repairing, overhauling, and inspecting aircraft is a strict process. The Federal Aviation Administration sets up this system, but airlines and other aviation operators are responsible for implementing and following it. 

Safety is, first and foremost, the most important principle in aviation. This is why maintenance and repair are necessary so that the aircraft can fly safely and avoid damage.

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