All aircrafts, big and small, must regularly be serviced and maintained according to the specifications provided by the manufacturer. But there are several types of maintenance checks and also several ways that maintenance is scheduled. In addition to that, aviation technicians and pilots need to inspect every plane between flights thoroughly and before it takes off.
While specific manufacturer requirements differ, light aircraft generally require maintenance after a specified number of flying hours and annual maintenance to examine the condition of the plane. The maintenance involves complicated procedures done to ensure the continuing airworthiness of an aircraft or aircraft part, including inspection, repair, and replacement.
The servicing of the plane must entirely be handled by engineers and technicians who have the necessary expertise and training in the field.
Service And Maintenance Checks
Aviation is a highly regulated industry, and commercial aircraft must comply with continuous inspection programs established by aviation authorities. In Canada, aircraft maintenance programs are governed by the Transport Canada Civil Aviation Directorate (TCCA). TCCA is required to create a Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program routine and detailed inspection called "checks."
ABC Check System
Aircraft maintenance checks are periodic inspections that have to be carried out on all heavy and light aircraft after a certain amount of usage or flying hours. It is obvious that the more the aircraft is flown, the more frequently it will need servicing. This is why manufacturers specify 'flight hours' rather than a timeframe for maintenance checks.
The check system includes A check and B check for minor investigations. C check and D check for major or heavier inspections. Aircraft operators are allowed to conduct lighter checks on their own, but C and D checks are expected to happen at the locality of a certified aircraft welding company.
- A check: These checks are performed every 400–600 flight hours or 200–300 flight cycles and depend on the aircraft type. One aircraft cycle includes one round of takeoff and landing. The checks require about 50-70 person-hours and need the aircraft to remain on the ground for at least 10 hours. This type of check varies by aircraft type, cycle count, or the number of hours it has flown after the last inspection. The inspection can be delayed by the airline if certain conditions are met. A check is performed in an aircraft hanger.
- B check: This check is conducted about every 6-8 months. It takes about 160-180 person-hours, depending on the type of aircraft and its condition. It is generally completed within 1–3 days at an airport hangar.
- C check: The C check is conducted approximately every 20–24 months, or after a specified number of flight hours, or as specified by the manufacturer. This maintenance check is much more thorough and comprehensive than the B check and requires all the aircraft components to be inspected. This type of check puts the plane out of service for 1–2 weeks. It also requires more space and is therefore performed in an airport hanger or maintenance base.
- 3C check: Some authorities use a 3C check, also known as Intermediate Layover (IL). This type of check includes light structural maintenance, including inspection or checks for corrosion or high-load parts of the aircraft. The 3C check may also be used as the opportunity for aircraft upgrades such as the installation of new carpets etc.
- D Check: The D check, also known as a 'heavy maintenance visit', is the most extensive and demanding check for an airplane. This check is performed every 6-10 years and requires the whole plane to be taken apart for thorough inspection and overhaul. The inspection generally takes up to 50,000 person-hours and two months to complete depending on the number of technicians involved. It can only be performed at a suitable maintenance base.
Where to Go to Service Your Aircraft or Buy Parts
Acorn Welding is a TCCA approved aircraft maintenance organization and has vast experience in aviation welding and other services. At Acorn Welding, we also supply quality parts and components for a wide range of aircraft. Get in touch with us today for specialized maintenance and repair related to aircraft components, welding processes, and comprehensive inspection.