We all know that regular maintenance of your aircraft will extend the life and ensure safe performance. But to take preventative measures, you must go through different levels of aircraft service support; and the most important levels pertain to structural and component maintenance. In this blog post, you’ll learn about the maintenance of a hydraulic system and its components.
The Levels of Aircraft Maintenance
It’s important to assess the structural design of any aircraft, especially a new one. You’ll want to look at the damage tolerances and your service experience with similar structures.
When looking at preventative maintenance from a structural standpoint, evaluate accidental damage, environmental deterioration and fatigue damage. Loss of function and reduction of residual strength can have a serious impact on aircraft flight, response time and system failure.
Reviewing the hydraulic system
The successful operation of landing gear, flaps, control surface and brakes are accomplished with a quality hydraulic power system. The complexity of the system varies based on the type of aircraft. Being able to repair, remove and replace parts within the aircraft’s hydraulic system is critical to the aircraft’s safety.
The design of the hydraulic system is also critical to the longevity of the aircraft. Today’s aircrafts are more structurally sound since they utilize redundant hydraulic subsystems. Depending on the aircraft, it’s important for you to understand the level of its sophistication, so you know what to check within the hydraulic system overall. Some preventative maintenance tasks include changing the hydraulic filter, obtaining a hydraulic fluid sample, cleaning out the reservoir, etc.
The reliability of any aircraft component is only as good as its inherent design. Functional checks monitor characteristic dimensions or usage/operating parameters of a piece of hardware to determine if it is still suitable for continued operation. There are many components to check, which is why routine maintenance is necessary.
Reviewing your hydraulic fittings
Specifically, the type and placement of hydraulic fittings are crucial to maintaining a long service life. There are several factors to consider when reviewing your hydraulic fittings, and those include size, temperature and pressure. This is an imperative step to ensure there aren’t leaks in your system.
There are typically three fitting types – JIC fittings, O-ring face seal fittings and ORB fittings. They are usually all-metal fittings, meaning metal-to-metal connections. Or, they are O-ring fittings, meaning they contain pressurized fluid with compressed elastomeric seals. It’s important that these fittings are properly tightened to your system’s specifications to form that high-pressure seal without rupturing or cracking, and that the O-rings are not worn or damaged.
Most importantly, the conditions and environment of a system are key reasons for requiring fittings that are AS9100 and Nadcap certified. Maintenance engineers are relying on products that are supplied by aerospace-certified manufacturers to ensure better performance and longer service life.
For additional information, download our white paper on the “4 Considerations for Safe Hydraulic System Maintenance.”