Most of us do not think much about the working order of the aircraft we fly on. We board the planes and just assume they are fit to take us from one place to another.
Whether you are talking about a commercial airline, a private jet, military aircraft or a personal plane, aircraft maintenance is critical. One small issue can lead to catastrophic circumstances. And it isn’t like when you fail to keep up on the regular maintenance of your car – there is no pulling over to the side of the road to sort issues out when flying an airplane.
Airplane maintenance is a special skill that requires training. You might be able to work on your car, but a technician must take an aircraft maintenance program before working professionally on airplanes.
Even with most people taking aircraft maintenance for granted, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes to keep aircraft safe and running. The following are some of the reasons why aircraft maintenance is so important.
Just like any machine, the performance of an aircraft can degrade over time. Parts wear out with every hour of use, and finely calibrated systems can lose precision. If aircraft owners want to achieve the best performance possible, they need to perform regular maintenance.
Most aircraft will need to have certain parts replaced on a set schedule. Just like cars, airplanes need to get regular oil changes. Any system that requires calibration should also be tested regularly. The calibration should also be adjusted when needed. When an aircraft is at peak performance, it will not only perform reliably for the pilots, it will also operate at maximum efficiency and save fuel.
Protecting the Asset
Airplanes are expensive assets. Just one commercial airline can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. Even a small, single-engine plane can cost many thousands of dollars. Any way you look at it, planes are assets the owner should want to protect. Regular maintenance is an important part of making sure you get everything you can from an aircraft.
To start, you should want to get as many years as possible from an airplane. This is true for aviation businesses and individuals who own small planes. You should also want to prevent damage that can shorten the life of the aircraft. When some parts break or wear out, they can damage other parts. Eventually, this can cut into the operating life of the plane.
Prevent Lost Travel Time
While some planes are owned for recreational purposes, many are needed for travel. If a plane is broken down or unsafe, it can’t serve its purpose. However, regular maintenance will keep planes in the air. If you are talking about a commercial airline, a plane being unexpectedly out of commission can cost the company thousands of dollars per flight canceled. For a smaller flight service, losing the ability to transport customers can put a significant financial strain on the company.
Safety is paramount when you are flying thousands of feet above the Earth. One of the main reasons why there are so many mandatory checks and why airlines go to great lengths to maintain airplanes is to prevent accidents. Even under the best circumstances, plane crashes usually result in serious injuries.
With the right safety checks and maintenance, aircraft accidents are rare. Tens of thousands of flights reach their destinations without issue every day. In fact, it is statistically safer to fly than it is to ride in an automobile. Much of this safety record is the result of strict aircraft maintenance protocols.
While there are many reasons to be diligent about aircraft maintenance, regulations provide an added incentive. Along with other government bodies around the world, aircraft maintenance regulations from the FAA set strict guidelines for when and what types of maintenance are needed. Beyond that, the laws also set regulations for the qualifications a person needs to perform aircraft maintenance.
Reduce the Cost of Repairs
Regular maintenance can also cut the cost of aircraft repairs. With some repairs, if they are handled sooner, they can be performed for less money. In many cases, a simple repair being performed on time can save a part from needing to be replaced. As long as you stay current on the maintenance schedule, you can save a lot on repair costs over the life of an aircraft.
All of this airplane maintenance is performed without most of us knowing about it. It keeps the aircraft safe so we can travel around the world without worrying about the plane malfunctioning. It also keeps them running well so we don’t have to experience so many delays or cancellations.