How Often does an Airplane Need Maintenance?

Trever
Trever

Trever Rossini is the owner of Inflight Pilot Training and Citadel Aircraft Maintenance at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

When it comes taking flight, proper aircraft maintenance is a crucial component to making sure you never stay grounded. Every pilot, whether they’re new to flying or are veterans of the sky, should educate themselves on maintenance and inspection requirements for their aircraft. To help, let’s explore how often your airplane needs maintenance.

Maintenance Requirements are Different for Every Airplane

As with many things in the aviation industry, there isn’t a cut-and-dry answer to how often your aircraft will need maintenance – every plane has different requirements. When a new airplane is in production, an aviation authority, the manufacturer, and selected industry participants form groups known as maintenance steering group (MSG) and industry steering committees (ISC).

 

The MSG and ISC define how often the airplane needs to undergo inspections. They hand-off this criteria to another group, the maintenance review board (MRB) who then adds or removes their recommendations, providing finalized guidelines to the manufacturer. The document that’s produced is what’s known as the maintenance planning document (MPD), which tells the owner the proper inspection and maintenance guidelines.

 

Private pilots are only restricted to the inspection and maintenance policies put forth in the MPD, while commercial operators must go through one more FAA-approved step, known as the Continuous Airworthiness Maintenance Program (CAMP).

Why is Airplane Maintenance so Important?

Regardless of what type of airplane you have, maintenance is an important part of being a responsible pilot. At a high level, aircraft maintenance includes the overhaul, repair, inspection or modification of an aircraft or aircraft component to ensure an airplane is in compliance with Airworthiness Directives or Service Bulletins established by aviation authorities.

 

In general, operational checks are required for your airplane before every flight to ensure that everything is in order. To ensure your safety and that of your passengers, and to avoid any potential accidents, you don’t want mechanical components to fail while you’re cruising at 41,000 feet in the air.

 

When it comes to maintenance, airplanes are unique. At the end of the day, aircraft simply cannot fly without everything functioning correctly, otherwise you risk putting people’s lives in danger.

Unique Aspects of the Aircraft Maintenance Process

There are a few key things you should know about aircraft maintenance that will help you understand more about the process. This will help you during your upcoming inspection or servicing.

 

  • When it comes to aircraft maintenance, the main focus is on preventative maintenance rather than risking a problem during flight. Unlike a car, where you may risk a break down, that’s simply not an option for an airplane. There are formal maintenance guidelines for each specific type of aircraft that lists things like inspection requirements.
  • The single biggest aspect of aircraft maintenance is the inspection process – testing and retesting every component and spec. Maintenance manuals, while now digitized, consist of hundreds, if not thousands, of pages.
  • If anything goes wrong during a flight, the plane must be fixed at the next stop before it can continue flying again. Luckily, the aviation industry has a strong supply of spare airplane parts. Extensive inventory is normally kept at manufacturer’s warehouses throughout the world and can be shipped overnight to make your plane ready for take off.

What to Do When You’re in Need of Airplane Maintenance

When you need a big repair to components or total overhaul of your airplane, you’ll send it to an maintenance and repair organization, also known as an MRO. Some aviators may take on small repairs or updates themselves, however when a bigger project or inspection is at hand, you’ll need to hire an MRO – often, these jobs can take more than a month.

 

An approved Maintenance Organisation has something called an Approved Maintenance Schedule (AMS). This schedule lays-out all of the required maintenance and inspections on your airplane and the intervals at which they need to be carried out.

 

Aircrafts need maintenance all the time, it seems like. For example, after every flight, an engineer has to perform a transit check before you can take-off to your next destination. A daily check takes place every three days, a weekly check takes place every seven days and a monthly check takes place every 30 days.

 

At 500-hour intervals, depending on the type of aircraft you fly, the aircraft needs to go through an in-depth servicing at a hangar. In general, you can fly an airplane for approximately 30 years before it has to be retired due to things like metal fatigue and mechanical update requirements.

 

Additionally, within the maintenance and repair organization will be an aircraft maintenance technician (AMT) who will actually perform the maintenance, repair and overhaul of your plane. Because of the amount of maintenance required on the average plane, you’ll get to know your airplane mechanics pretty well. Whether your avionics need to be upgraded or your paint job needs a fresh coat, these mechanics are crucial in keeping planes in the air and people safe.

 

In Conclusion

As your flight approaches, make sure that you never have to stay grounded by following the proper maintenance requirements set forth in your airplane’s MPD. It’s your duty as a pilot to educate yourself on the when your specific aircraft needs to receive service. Look to your local airplane mechanic or MRO to understand more about your airplane’s maintenance requirements.

Contact Citadel Aircraft Maintenance for a Better Experience

Our team consists of the best plane mechanics in Minnesota. We’re ready to help you maintain your airplane so you never have to miss a day of flying. Whether you’re in need of a 100-hour inspection or a major overhaul, we have the capacity to meet your unique airplane maintenance needs.

 

The experience we offer gives pilots confidence in their aircraft and sets future expectations for a higher level of service. At Citadel Aircraft Maintenance, we will always treat our clients’ planes like our own.

 

Get in touch with our team for a free quote on your airplane maintenance needs.

 

Contact us!

 

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