An aircraft must undergo regular inspection and maintenance for its unimpeded, proper functioning and prevent it from severe damage. Which, otherwise, can cost a fortune to repair.
Regular visual checks are a must; however, each part of an aircraft requires specialized inspection and maintenance. This ensures smooth operation while avoiding any serious issues that may occur in the long run.
Why Do Aircraft Exhausts Need To Be Inspected?
Aircraft exhaust systems operate in scorching hot environments, making its machinery prone to corrosion and breakages. The cracks can result in fluid leakage, which can then damage other parts of the engine.
Furthermore, once the aircraft exhaust systems have troubled to function, they become ineffective in removing the harmful gases produced by the engine, especially by exposing the passengers or occupants to carbon monoxide that can potentially cause choking. Therefore, aircraft owners must inspect their aircraft exhaust systems for any leakages regularly.
Heat, Corrosion, And Leakage In Aircraft Exhaust System
An aircraft's exhaust system is responsible for removing hot depleted gases produced within the aircraft’s engine. When the engine turns on, the exhaust components immediately heat up, reaching high temperatures, while it quickly cools down when switched off. Hence, with these extreme temperature changes, the exhaust systems are predisposed to metal fatigue leading to cracks.
Connecting metal components like slip joints, cylinder exhaust flange attachment, and clamps are most susceptible to deterioration. Furthermore, due to leakages, any metal area that is exposed to the corrosive exhaust gas is severely damaged.
How Do You Inspect Aircraft Exhaust Systems?
Mufflers And Heat Deflectors
Signs of overheating and metal fatigue can be observed as creases or protrusions on the muffler and heat deflectors. Therefore, these components must be removed for close examination during exhaust inspection, using a bright light or specialized inspection camera. The sidewalls of the mufflers usually undergo thinning as a result of deterioration. Hence, while inspecting, an awl should be used to probe the walls in order to perceive their thickness.
Checking For Exhaust Leaks
Exhaust leaks can be visually detected as grey or sooty residues around the leaking area or yellow stains within the system itself. However, sometimes aircraft exhaust leaks do not leave any tint behind thence; it becomes hard to spot the leakage. A thorough leakage inspection needs to be performed using the vacuum and soapy water method in this situation.
Moreover, to detect leakages around the gasket area, assessment is done using feeler gauges and pressurizing systems.
Exhaust Cylinders and Flanges
Leakage of corrosive exhaust gases around the gasket degrades the aluminum of cylinders and flanges. This can be visually observed and is a ‘Must’ during aircraft exhaust system inspection. If left unchecked, extreme pitting can occur, which will then require resurfacing.
Maintenance And Inspection Tips
An aircraft exhaust system is critical to the aircraft's proper functioning and must regularly be inspected and maintained to ensure a safe flight. Some of the maintenance tips for aircraft exhaust systems are;
- Dissemble all the exhaust parts and components from the stack and muffler
- Check each piece for a potential leak or crack
- If any part is damaged, make sure it is replaced, also replace any missing features such as bolts, nuts, or plugs
- While inspecting the exhaust system, avoid using pencils as graphite weakens the metal when exposed to heat, making it vulnerable to cracks
- During a ‘magneto check,’ if the ignition switch is accidentally shut, it is best to wait for the entire engine to shut down and restart
- A simple prerequisite is keeping the engine as cool as possible on climb outs, and as warm as possible on descends to extend the exhaust systems life
Following the above maintenance and inspection tips from Acorn Welding, can help you review your aircraft exhaust systems more comprehensively. For more information, visit our website or contact us today for customized service.