Aircraft Preventive Maintenance
Like all complex mechanical systems, aircraft require regular maintenance to ensure safety and reliability. Preventive maintenance is key to keeping an aircraft in good condition and identifying potential problems before they lead to serious consequences. Both certified aviation maintenance technicians and pilots who hold a pilot certificate issued under 14 CFR Part 61 are authorized to perform aircraft preventive maintenance, although both groups must adhere closely to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.
What Is Preventive Aircraft Maintenance?
Preventive aircraft maintenance can be defined as simple preservation or replacement tasks that do not involve complex assembly operations. Essentially, this is any work from a list of permitted tasks where you're replacing small standard parts or servicing parts of the aircraft without taking much apart. Aircraft preventive maintenance typically takes place on a regular schedule and aims to prevent major problems through upkeep. This type of maintenance may involve running tests, checking for wear, lubricating and cleaning certain components and replacing certain components.
Aircraft preventive maintenance can be completed by certified technicians or by pilots who own and/or operate the aircraft they're maintaining. However, pilots cannot perform preventive maintenance on aircraft used under 14 CFR parts 135, 129 or 121.
It's also important to note that what counts as preventive maintenance may vary from aircraft to aircraft, depending on the accessibility of the components in question. Furthermore, any airframe, engine, appliance or propeller worked on during preventive maintenance must at least match its condition prior to alteration. When in doubt, pilots should seek guidance and supervision from a qualified mechanic or repairman.
Regardless of who performs preventive maintenance, all work should be recorded in the appropriate logbook. Be sure to include a description of any work performed, the date when the work was completed and the signature, kind of certificate and certificate number belonging to the person who performed the work.
An Abbreviated Preventive Aircraft Maintenance List
The types of preventive maintenance permitted in aviation are limited to 31 items, which can be found listed in 14 CFR Part 43 Appendix A. Any tasks not listed are not considered preventive maintenance, which means a pilot cannot complete them without supervision. Examples of preventive maintenance include:
- Replacing safety belts
- Replacing or cleaning spark plugs
- Changing and repairing landing gear tires
- Replenishing hydraulic fluid
- Replacing and servicing batteries
- Replacing safety wires
- Checking oil levels and condition
- Replacing air filters
- Lubricating components that don't require disassembly
Before starting any maintenance task, you should always make sure you have the approved manuals, tools and parts on hand.
The Benefits of Preventive Aircraft Maintenance
The primary benefit of preventive maintenance in aviation has to do with safety. By catching potential problems early and addressing them before they lead to performance issues, preventive maintenance helps to ensure that aircraft continue to operate safely while minimizing unscheduled downtime. Aircraft owner maintenance, when performed properly, can also save money, since simple tasks can be handled by the individual owner rather than outsourced to a technician.
The benefits of preventive aircraft maintenance make it well worth the investment for military and commercial aircraft. However, to get the most out of preventive maintenance, you also need the right tools to protect maintenance workers. At JETechnology Solutions, we have more than 75 years of experience providing aircraft maintenance stands with built-in fall protection. To learn more about the benefits of our platforms for preventive maintenance, contact us online today.