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All aircraft are designed to withstand the normal flight and landing loads expected
during a typical flight cycle. These loads will include the normal manoeuvres the
aircraft is expected to make. The designer will build in a safety factor to compensate
for loads slightly larger than normal. Sometimes extreme circumstances occur which
cause stresses outside the normal design limits.

If the design limits are exceeded, then damage may occur to the aircraft. If it is
known or suspected that the aircraft has been subjected to excessive loads, then an
inspection should be made, to ascertain the nature of any damage that may have
occurred. The manufacturer will normally have anticipated the nature of some of
these occurrences and detailed special checks for these ‘Abnormal Occurrences’.


The aircraft maintenance manual will normally list the types of abnormal
occurrences needing special inspection. The list may vary, depending on the
aircraft. The following items are a selection from a typical aircraft:

 Lightning strikes
 High-intensity radiated fields penetration
 Heavy or overweight landing
 Flight through severe turbulence
 Burst tyre
 Flap or slat over-speed
 Flight through volcanic ash
 Tail strike
 Mercury spillage
 Dragged engine or engine seizure
 High-energy stop.


It is not intended to describe the types of damage applicable to every type of

occurrence. It is more important to understand that, often, the damage may be
remote from the source of the occurrence.

In many cases the inspection would be made in two stages. If no damage is found in
the first stage then the second stage may not be necessary. If damage is found,
then the second stage inspection is done.

This is likely to be a more detailed examination.


Both lightning strikes and high-intensity radiated fields (HIRF) are discussed in
Module 5. Consideration is given in this topic to their effects and the inspections
required in the event of their occurrence.
Lightning, of course, is the discharge of electricity in the atmosphere, usually
between highly charged cloud formations, or between a charged cloud and the
ground. If an aircraft is flying in the vicinity of the discharge or it is on the ground, the
lightning may strike the aircraft. This will result in very high voltages and currents
passing through the structure.

All separate parts of the aircraft are electrically bonded together, to provide a low-
resistance path to conduct the lightning away from areas where damage may
hazard the aircraft.

1.3.1 Effects of a Lightning Strike

Lightning strikes are likely to have two main effects on the aircraft:

 Strike damage where the discharge enters the aircraft. This will normally be on
the extremities of the aircraft, the wing tips, nose cone and tail cone and on the
leading edge of the wings and tailplane. The damage will usually be in the form
of small circular holes, usually in clusters, and accompanied by burning or
 Static discharge damage at the wing tips, trailing edges and antenna. The
damage will be in the form of local pitting and burning. Bonding strips and static
wicks may also disintegrate, due to the high charges.

1.3.2 Inspection

The maintenance schedule or maintenance manual should specify the inspections

applicable to the aircraft but, in general, bonding straps and static discharge wicks
should be inspected for damage. Damaged bonding straps on control surfaces may
lead to tracking across control surface bearings, this in turn may cause burning,
break up or seizure due to welding of the bearings.

This type of damage may result in resistance to movement of the controls, which
can be checked by doing a functional check of the controls. Additional checks may

 Examine engine cowlings and engines for evidence of burning or pitting. As in

control bearings, tracking of the engine bearings may have occurred.
Manufacturers may recommend checking the oil filters and chip detectors for
signs of contamination. This check may need to be repeated for a specified
number of running hours after the occurrence.
 Examine fuselage skin, particularly rivets for burning or pitting.
 If the landing gear was extended, some damage may have occurred to the lower
parts of the gear. Examine for signs of discharge.
 After the structural examination it will be necessary to do functional checks of the
radio, radar, instruments, compasses, electrical circuits and flying controls. A
bonding resistance check should also be done.


This procedure is an extract from the Boeing 757 Maintenance Manual. It is included
to give an idea of a typical aircraft inspection procedure. Not all of the details have
been supplied, but there is enough information to provide a general idea. The
student will not be examined in detail on this procedure, but should be able to
identify specific checks that highlight the previous notes.

This procedure has these three tasks:

 Examination of the External Surfaces for Lightning Strike

 Examination of the internal Components for Lightning Strike
 Inspection and Operational Check of the Radio and Navigation Systems.

1.4.1 Basic Protection

The aircraft has all the necessary and known lightning strike protection measures.

Most of the external parts of the aircraft are metal structure with sufficient thickness
to be resistant to a lightning strike. This metal assembly is its basic protection. The
thickness of the metal surface is sufficient to protect the internal spaces from a
lightning strike.

The metal skin also gives protection from the entrance of electromagnetic energy
into the electrical wires of the aircraft. The metal skin does not prevent all
electromagnetic energy from going into the electrical wiring; however, it does keep
the energy to a satisfactory level.

If lightning strikes the aircraft, then all of the aircraft must be fully examined, to find
the areas of the lightning strike entrance and exit points.

When looking at the areas of entrance and exit, this structure should be carefully
examined to find all of the damage that has occurred.
1.4.2 Strike Areas

Lightning strike entrance and exit points (refer to Fig. 1) are, usually, found in Zone
1, but also can occur in Zones 2 and 3. Lightning strikes can, however, occur to any
part of the aircraft, including the fuselage, wing skin trailing edge panels. wing-body
fairing, antennas, vertical stabiliser, horizontal stabiliser, and along the wing trailing
edge in Zone 2.


Zone 1. High Possibility of Strike

Zone 2. Average Possibility of Strike

Zone 3. Low Possibility of Strike

A = Aerials and Protrusions

B = Sharp Corners of Fuselage and Control Surfaces

Risk Areas for Lightning Strikes

Fig. 1
1.4.3 Signs of Damage

In metal structures, strike damage usually shows as pits, burn marks or small
circular holes. These holes can be grouped in one location or divided around a large
area. Burned or discoloured skin also shows lightning strike damage.

In composite (non-metallic) structures, solid laminate or honeycomb damage shows

as discoloured paint. It also shows as burned, punctured, or de-laminated skin plies.
Hidden damage can also exist. This damage can extend around the visible area.
Signs of arcing and burning can also occur around the attachments to the
supporting structure.

Aircraft components made of ferromagnetic material may become strongly

magnetised when subjected to large currents. Large currents, flowing from the
lightning strike in the aircraft structure, can cause this magnetisation.

1.4.4 External Components at Risk

A lightning strike usually attaches to the aircraft in Zone 1 and goes out a different
Zone 1 area. Frequently, a lightning strike can enter the nose radome and go out of
the aircraft at one of the horizontal stabiliser trailing edges.

External components most likely to be hit are the:

 Nose Radome
 Nacelles
 Wing Tips
 Horizontal Stabiliser Tips
 Elevators
 Vertical Fin Tips
 Ends of the Leading Edge Flaps
 Trailing Edge Flap Track Fairings
 Landing Gear
 Water Waste Drain Masts
 Pitot Probes
1.4.5 Electrical Components at Risk

Lightning strikes can cause problems to the electrical power systems and the
external light wiring The electrical system is designed to be resistant to lightning
strikes but a strike of unusually high intensity can possibly damage such electrical
system components as the:

 Fuel valves
 Generators
 Power Feeders
 Electrical Distribution Systems
 Static Discharge Wicks

NOTE: Should inaccuracies in the standby compass be reported, after a lightning

strike, then a check swing will be necessary.

Frequently, a lightning strike is referred to as a static discharge. This is incorrect and

may create the impression that the metal static discharge wicks, found on the
external surfaces of the aircraft prevent lightning strikes. These static discharge
wicks are for bleeding off static charge only; they have no lightning protection

As the aircraft flies through the air, it can pick up a static charge from the air (or from
dust/water particles in the air). This static charge can become large enough to bleed
off the aircraft on its own. If the charge does not bleed off the aircraft on its own, it
will usually result in noise on the VHF or HF radios.

The static discharge wicks help to bleed the static charge off in a way that prevents
radio ‘noise’.

The static discharge wicks are frequently hit by lightning. Some personnel think
static dischargers are for lightning protection. The dischargers have the capacity to
carry only a few micro-Amps of current from the collected static energy. The
approximate 200,000 Amps from a lightning strike will cause damage to the
discharge wick or make it totally unserviceable.

1.4.6 Examination of External Surface

Examine the Zone 1 surface areas for signs of lightning strike damage. Do the
examinations that follow:

 Examine the external surfaces carefully to find the entrance and exit points of
lightning strike.
 Make sure to look in the areas where one surface stops and another surface
 Examine the internal and external surfaces of the nose radome for burns,
punctures, and pinholes in the composite honeycomb sandwich structure.
 Examine the metallic structure for holes or pits, burned or discoloured skin and
 Examine the external surfaces of the composite components for discoloured
paint, burned, punctured, or de-laminated skin plies.
 Use instrumental NDI (NDT) methods or tap tests to find composite structure
damage which is not visible.

Note: Damage, such as de-lamination can extend to the areas around the
damage area which is not visible. De-lamination can be detected by
instrumental NDI methods or by a tap test. For a tap test, use a solid metal
disc and tap the area adjacent to the damaged area lightly. If there is de-
lamination, it will produce a sound that is different to the sound of a solid
bonded area.

 Examine the flight control surfaces for signs of strike damage. If the control
surfaces show signs of damage, examine the surface hinges, bearings and
bonding jumpers for signs of damage.
 If the ailerons show signs of a lightning strike, examine the surface hinges,
bearings, and bonding jumpers for signs of damage.
 If the speed brakes show signs of a lightning strike, examine the surface hinges,
bearings, and bonding jumpers for signs of damage.
 If the trailing edge flaps show signs of a lightning strike, examine the surface
hinges, bearings, and bonding jumpers for signs of damage.
 If the leading edge flaps/slats show signs of a lightning strike, examine the
surface hinges, bearings, and bonding jumpers for signs of damage.
 Examine the nose radome for pin-holes, punctures and chipped paint. Also
ensure bonding straps are correctly attached. Examine the lightning diverter
strips and repair or replace them if damaged. If there is radome damage,
examine the WXR antenna and wave-guide for damage.

1.4.7 Functional Tests

Functional tests will need to be done as follows:

 Ensure the navigation lamps, rotary lights and landing lights operate.
 If the previously mentioned control examinations show signs of damage: Do an
operational test of the rudder if there are signs of lightning strike damage to the
rudder or vertical stabiliser.
 Do an operational test of the elevator if there are signs of lightning strike damage
to the elevator or horizontal stabiliser.
 Do an operational test of the ailerons if there are signs of lightning strike damage
to the ailerons.
 Do an operational test of the speed brakes if there are signs of lightning strike
damage to the speed brake system.
 Do an operational test of the trailing edge flaps if there are signs of lightning
strike damage to the trailing edge flaps.
 Do an operational test of the leading edge flap/slats if there are signs of lightning
strike damage to the trailing edge flap/slats.
 If there are signs of strike damage to the landing gear doors, disengage the main
gear door locks and manually move the doors to ensure they move smoothly.
Visually examine the door linkage, hinges, bearings and bonding jumpers for
strike damage. Ensure the proximity switch indication unit gives the correct

1.4.8 Examination of Internal Components

If a lightning strike has caused a system malfunction, do a full examination of the


 Do a check of the stand-by compass system if the flight crew reported a very
large compass deviation.
 Make sure the fuel quantity system is accurate. This can be achieved by a BITE
 Examine the air data sensors for signs of strike damage. Do an operational test
of the pitot system if there are signs of damage to the probes. Do a test of the
static system if there are signs of damage near the static ports.
 Do an operational check of any of the following systems that did not operate
following the strike, or if the flight crew reported a problem, or if there was any
damage found near the system antenna:

 HF communications system
 VHF communications system
 ILS navigation system
 Marker beacon system
 Radio altimeter system
 Weather radar system
 VOR system
 ATC system
 DME system
 Automatic Direction Finder (ADF) system

If one or more of the previous systems have problems with their operational checks,
examine and do a test of the coaxial cables and connectors.
1.4.9 Return the Aircraft to Service

After all areas have been inspected and lightning damage has been repaired,
components replaced as necessary and tests completed if necessary, the aircraft
may be returned to service.


Module 5 discusses electromagnetic phenomena, in particular the problem of

electromagnetic interference. HIRF may be generated by airborne transmitters such
as high-powered radar or radio. to commercial aircraft. Increased use of digital
equipment has increased the problem.

HIRF can be generated from an internal (within the aircraft and its systems) or
external source (i.e. HIRF may be transmitted by military aircraft in close proximity).
All of the systems which might cause, or be affected by, HIRF, must be suitably

Electronic developments have yielded greater miniaturisation and complexity in

integrated circuits (IC) and other electronic circuitry and assemblies, increasing the
probability of electromagnetic interference.

Rapid advances in technology and the increased use of composite materials and
higher radio frequency (RF) energy levels, from radar, radio, and television
transmitters, have substantially increased the concern for electromagnetic
vulnerability of flight critical systems, relative to their exposure to HIRF.

Environmental factors such as corrosion, mechanical vibrations, thermal cycling,

damage and subsequent repair and modifications can potentially degrade
electromagnetic protection. Continued airworthiness of these aircraft requires
assurance that the electromagnetic protection is maintained to a high level by a
defined maintenance programme.

HIRF can interfere with the operation of the aircraft’s electrical and electronic
systems by coupling electromagnetic energy to the system wiring and components.
This can cause problems relating to the control systems, both of the aircraft and its
power- plants, the navigation equipment and instrumentation.

Design philosophies in the area of aircraft bonding for protection against HIRF can
employ methods that may not have been encountered previously by maintenance
personnel. Because of this, the HIRF protection in the aircraft can be unintentionally
compromised during normal maintenance, repair and modification. It is critical that
procedures, contained in the AMM/CMM, reflect reliable procedures, to detect any
incorrect installations, which could degrade the HIRF protection features.
There are three primary areas to be considered for aircraft operating in HIRF

 Aircraft Structure (Airframe Skin and Frame).

 Electrical Wiring Installation Protection (Solid or Braided Shielding Connectors).
 Equipment Protection (LRU case, Electronics Input Output Protection).

Visual inspection is the first and generally most important step in HIRF
maintenance. If errors have been made that do degrade the protection (paint over
spray and incorrect assembly of connectors for example), then they should be found
during inspections.

Whilst the visual inspection may suffice for observation of the deterioration of the
protective features, any time that this method is found to be insufficient or inefficient,
then specific testing may be required. These techniques should make use of easy-
to-apply, quick-look devices that can be readily integrated into the normal
maintenance operations.

1.5.1 Specific Testing – HIRF

The milliohmmeter is often used to measure the path resistance of earthing straps
or other bonding. This technique is limited to the indication of only single path
resistance values.

The Low-frequency Loop Impedance testing method complements dc bonding

testing and it can be used together with visual inspection. It can give good
confidence in the integrity of the shielding. This loop impedance testing can be used
to check that adequate bonding exists between braiding/conduits and the aircraft
structure, especially where there are multiple earth paths, when the dc resistance
system will not indicate which earth has failed.

The frequency of any maintenance tasks selected for the HIRF protection features
should be determined by considering the following criteria:

 Relevant operating experience gained.

 Exposure of the installation to any adverse environment.
 Susceptibility of the installation to damage.
 Criticality of each protective feature. (within the overall protection scheme)
 The reliability of protective devices fitted to equipment.

Table 1 gives some indication as to the maintenance tasks that may be applied to
certain types of electromagnetic protection features. ‘Raceway’ conduits are
separate conduits containing individual cables to the various aircraft systems while
‘RF gaskets’ have conducting properties.
Table 1
Applicable Maintenance Tasks for HIRF Protection Measures
Protection Cable Aircraft Structure Shielding Circuit
Type Shielding Protection
Description Over braid Raceway RF gasket Shield for Structural bonding HIRF
shield, conduits non- protection
critical conductive devices
individual surfaces
Examples Metallic Raceway Removable Conductive Contact Bonding Resistors,
conduit conduits Panels coatings bonds, lead/straps, Zener diodes,
braid rivet joints pigtails EMI filters &
filter pins
Degradation Corrosion, Corrosion, Corrosion, Damage, Corrosion, Corrosion, Short circuit,
or failure damage damage damage, erosion damage damage, security open circuit
modes deformation of attachment
Maintenance Visually Visually Visually Visually Visually Visually inspect Check at
operations inspect inspect inspect inspect and inspect for corrosion, test/repair
and and gaskets, measure and attachment and facility iaw
measure measure bonding shielding measure condition, maintenance
cable bonding leads and effectiveness bonding measure bonding or surveillance
shielding straps plans
or bonding

1.5.2 Protection against HIRF Interference

The manufacturer will normally protect the aircraft against HIRF. Bonding, shielding
and separation of critical components usually achieve this. It is difficult to know
when the aircraft has been subjected to HIRF; consequently protection is best
achieved by regular checks of:

 Bonding of the aircraft

 Correct crimping
 Screens correctly terminated and earthed
 All bonding terminals correctly torque loaded.

A heavy or overweight landing, can cause damage to the aircraft both visible and
hidden. All damage found should be entered in the aircraft’s Technical Log.

An aircraft landing gear is designed to withstand landing at a particular aircraft

weight and rate of descent. If either of these parameters was exceeded during a
landing, then it is probable that some damage has been caused to the landing gear,
its supporting structure or elsewhere on the airframe. Over-stressing may occur if
the aircraft is not parallel to the runway when it lands or if the nose- or tail-wheel
strikes the runway before the main wheels.

Some aircraft are provided with heavy landing indicators, which give a visual
indication that specified ‘g’ forces have been exceeded. Long aircraft may have a tail
scrape indicator fitted, as a scrape is more likely. In all instances of suspect heavy
landings, the flight crew should be questioned for details of the aircraft’s weight, fuel
distribution, landing conditions and whether any unusual noises were heard during
the incident.

Primary damage, that may be expected following a heavy landing, would normally
be concentrated around the landing gear, its supporting structure in the wings or
fuselage, the wing and tailplane attachments and the engine mountings.

Secondary damage may be found on the fuselage upper and lower skins and on the
wing skin and structure.

Different aircraft have their own heavy landing procedures. For example, some
aircraft, which show no primary damage, need no further inspection, whilst others
require that all inspections are made after every reported heavy landing. This is
because some aircraft can have hidden damage in remote locations whilst the
outside of the aircraft appears to be undamaged.

1.6.1 Example of Post Heavy Landing Inspection

The following items give an example of a typical post heavy landing inspection:

Landing Gear
 Examine tyres for creep, damage, and cuts.
 Examine wheels and brakes for cracks and other damage.
 Examine axles, struts and stays for distortion.
 Check landing gear legs for leaks, scoring and abnormal extension.
 Examine gear attachments for signs of cracks, damage or movement. Some
aircraft require the removal of critical bolts and pins for NDT checks.
 Examine structure in vicinity of gear attachment points.
 Examine doors and fairings for damage.
 Carry out retraction and nose wheel steering tests
 Examine the upper and lower skins for wrinkles and pulled rivets, particularly if
the engines are mounted on the wings.
 Check for fuel leaks.
 Check the root attachments and fairings for cracks.
 Function the flying controls for freedom of movement.
 Examine wing spars.

 Check skin for damage and wrinkles.
 Examine pressure bulkheads for damage.
 Check all supporting structures of heavy components like galleys, batteries,
water tanks and APUs.
 Ensure no inertia switches have tripped.
 Check instruments and their panels are functional.
 Ensure pipes and ducts for security.
 Check all doors and panels fit correctly.

 Check controls for freedom of movement.
 Examine all mountings and pylons for damage and distortion.
 Check turbine engines for freedom of rotation.
 Examine all cowlings for wrinkling and distortion.
 Check all fluid lines, filters and chip detectors.
 On propeller installations, check for shock-loading, propeller attachments and
counterweight installations.

Tail Unit
 Check flying controls for freedom of movement.
 Examine all hinges for distortion or cracks especially near balance weights.
 Examine attachments, fairings and mountings of screw jacks.

There are numerous other checks that need to be done, depending on the damage
found (or not found), during the inspections. This can include engine runs and
functional checks of all the aircraft systems.

Signs of some damage and distortion could be a reason to do full rigging and
symmetry checks of the airframe.

If an aircraft has been flown through conditions of severe turbulence, the severity of
the turbulence may be difficult to assess and report. For aircraft that utilise
accelerometers, flight data recorders or fatigue meters, the records obtained can
give an overall picture of the loads felt by the aircraft.

They cannot, however, give a full picture and so must only be used for guidance.

Turbulence can be too fleeting to record on some forms of load instrumentation.

As a general guide only, loadings greater than – 0.5g and + 2.5g on transport
aircraft could indicate some damage to the airframe and engines. Aircraft, which
have no recording devices installed, must have reports of flight through severe
turbulence thoroughly investigated.

Severe turbulence may cause excessive vertical or lateral forces similar to those felt
during a heavy landing. The forces felt may be increased by the inertia of heavy
components such as engines, fuel and water tanks and cargo.

Damage can be expected at similar points to those mentioned previously

concerning heavy landings. It is also possible for damage to occur in those areas of
the wings, fuselage, tail unit and flying controls where the greatest bending moment
takes place. Pulled rivets, skin wrinkles or other similar structural faults may provide
signs of damage.

As with a ‘heavy landing’ report, further inspection, involving dismantling of some

major structural components, may be necessary if external damage is found during
the initial inspection following flight through turbulence.


An aircraft has to receive regular maintenance, of varying depths, to remain fully

airworthy at all times. This is achieved in most circumstances by making various checks,
at intervals, throughout the life of the aircraft. These intervals can be stated in quantities
of flying hours, calendar time or combinations of the two systems.


The periods of maintenance can be small or large. The aircraft can be in for a short
period of maintenance over-night (or perhaps no longer than two days), whilst, on a
large maintenance period, the aircraft might be in the hangar for a week or two,
depending on the type of aircraft.

It is normal to apply what is known as a ‘back-stop’ to each period for safety.

For example, if the frequency of each maintenance action is every 100 flying hours,
then there will probably be a calendar ‘back-stop’ of one month. This means that if the
aircraft is only flown for 25 hours during one month, then it will have its maintenance
done on the last day of that month, regardless if its low hours.

Equally, if the aircraft is intensively flown day-and-night, it might reach its 100 hours
after 19 days. It will then receive its maintenance at that time, as a result of its intensive
flying. The decision as to the frequency and depth of this maintenance is controlled by
the ‘Type Design Organisation’, the organisation which designed the aircraft.

The maintenance programme contains a list of the most significant items and
recommendations as to the maintenance actions, recommended frequencies and
sampling/inspection points. It will also contain a programme that monitors engine critical
parts and the inspections to be done on those parts.

All aircraft have a list of critical parts, with which it cannot fly without them being
serviceable, or which can be dispensed with, providing other parts can cover for the
missing part.

Modifications are changes made to a particular aircraft, including all its components,
engines, propellers, radio apparatus, accessories, instruments, equipment and their
respective installations.

With the exception of modifications which the CAA agree to be of such a minor nature
that airworthiness is unaffected, all modifications must be approved in accordance with
the relevant parts of JAR OPS.

The modifications are approved by the CAA or by the ‘Approved Organisation’ carrying
out the modification programme.

Modifications must be such that the design of the aircraft, when modified, complies at
least with the requirements which applied when the aircraft was originally certified.

When a modification is being designed, a decision has to be made as to whether the

modification is to be classified as ‘Minor’ or ‘Major’. The installing of a new type of
engine would most definitely be a major modification, whilst changing the type of clips
holding cables together would be a minor one. It is somewhere in the middle when the
decision as to the grading of a modification has to be decided by the CAA.

2.2.1 Major Modifications

The organisation sends a form, AD282 to the CAA and, when approved, an approval
note is returned to the organisation. This allows the modification to be embodied.

2.2.2 Minor Modifications

The organisation writes to the CAA, requesting permission to embody the modification
and, when approved, the CAA sends a form, AD261 back, to permit embodiment.

If the organisation has CAA approval, it is permitted to approve its own modifications. All
the organisation has to do is to keep full records of the design and embodiment of the

All modifications are recorded in the aircraft documentation, either inside the Airframe
Log Book, if the aircraft weighs less than 2730 kg, or in a separate Modification Record
Book if the aircraft weighs more than 2730 kg.

All aircraft and component manufacturing and maintenance establishments will have a
stores department, whose object is twofold. Its purpose, firstly, is to ensure that all
materials, parts, components etc. used on aircraft are to the correct specification. The
second purpose of the stores is to enable the history of any important part to be traced
back to its original manufacture and its raw materials.

All stores transactions use the same forms throughout the JAA system as well as the
USA and Canada. This system ensures that a store in one part of this country will
receive a component from within the UK, all JAA countries or North America on the
same form. This is known throughout the JAA system as the JAA Form 1.

Stores that operate within an organisation that is approved by the CAA to operate, with
little control or supervision from the CAA, is known as an ‘Approved Stores’.

An ‘Approved‘ Store will contain three main departments:

 A quarantine store, which accepts items from other companies and checks that they
are satisfactory.
 A bonded store which takes items from the quarantine store, after approval, and,
when requested, issues those components to the servicing technicians.
 An office or administration centre, which keeps adequate files and records, to enable
cross-checking of any transaction through the store system.


Any maintenance done on an aircraft that has a Certificate of Airworthiness (C of A), has
to be certified by the technician(s) doing the work. Depending on the company they
work for, the technicians can have either personal certification or approval by their own
The legal requirement is quoted as: ‘An aircraft shall not fly unless there is in force a
Certificate of Release to Service issued in respect of any overhauls, modifications,
repairs or maintenance to the aircraft or its equipment’.

Normally the work is either certified by an approved engineer or, completed by a non-
approved engineer and certified by another, approved engineer. This certification is
known as a Certificate of Release to Service.

The wording on the document for signature is to a standard format and certifies that the
work has been done in accordance with JAR 145 and that the aircraft is fit for release
back to service.
The certification should also contain particulars of the work done or the inspection
completed and the organisation and place at which the work was done. It is also
required that the aircraft type and registration or component type, part and serial
number shall be recorded as applicable.

There are a number of minor maintenance operations that do not require certification/
release to service. This can include minor maintenance, done by the pilot, on a small
private aircraft.

2.4.1 Interface with Aircraft Operation

There are many links between aircraft maintenance and the flying done by both
commercial and private operations. These links, or interfaces, include the legislation
that dictates how the two operations are to work together. For the larger commercial
companies, all the legislation is currently laid down under JAR-OPS, produced by the
JAA as an approximate replacement for the publication CAP 360 which was the method
by which commercial flying companies obtained their ‘Air Operators’ Certificate’.

JAR-OPS controls many facets of commercial flying. This can include how the company
maintains its aircraft, (or how it sub-contracts the work elsewhere); how the
documentation and publications record all the information needed for both the engineers
and the flight crew and how the quality of the whole operation is kept to an acceptable

The communication of information between maintenance and flying personnel is

normally via a number of different publications such as:

 The Technical Log Book (Tech. Log)

 The Log Books (Aircraft, Engine and Propeller)
 The Modification Records.

The Tech. Log contains all details of the sector by sector flight operations, such as flight
times, defects, fuel (on arrival and uplifted), other ground maintenance and

The Log Books are usually kept within the records department, but they are a long term
record of not only the total flying hours, but of the life remaining on engines and
propellers and the maintenance checks done on the aircraft.

The Modification Records allow all to see what changes, (modifications), have been
embodied to the aircraft. These changes might require different flight operations or
maintenance actions than prior to their embodiment.
Other publications that can be used by both sections include the Minimum
Equipment List (MEL) and Configuration Deviation List (CDL). These publications
inform both the crews and the engineers which components and parts can be
unserviceable, and yet allow the aircraft to be dispatched.

There are minor, but no less important, systems in place to allow the same form
of communication with smaller, private aircraft. They also have Log Books and
records of modifications but, because of their lower utilisation and private
ownership, most work is done during their annual and three-yearly Certificate of
Airworthiness by approved and licensed engineers.


All maintenance done on the aircraft, from the Pre-Departure Inspection (made
before every flight); to the heavy Check ‘D’ inspection (done every four to six
years), is controlled from the Maintenance Schedule. This publication is produced
by the aircraft manufacturer, and dictates the depth and frequency of work at
which each inspection is completed.

On light aircraft, the maintenance is normally done in accordance with a Schedule

produced by the CAA, called the Light Aircraft Maintenance Schedule, (LAMS).

This is a simple schedule, common to all private aircraft below 2730kg, which
divides the maintenance into 50 and 150 flying hour, annual and tri-annual

The personnel who do any of the inspections have to be either licensed by the
CAA or ‘approved’ by their own company, (if the company is itself approved by
the CAA). The types of aircraft being serviced, and their use, will control which
type of qualification they require.

If a company has CAA approval under JAR-145, it is permitted to control all of the
maintenance it does as well as, in some instances (with the additional approval
under JAR-147), the ‘in house’ training of its own engineers.

An approved company has to introduce a Quality Assurance Department, to the

strict rules laid down in JAR-145. This department controls the standards of the
company from the lowliest worker on the hangar floor to the Accountable
Manager, usually the managing director. It is responsible for all of the engineers
and their approvals. It also examines engineers and trainees, prior to their
examination by the CAA.

The Quality department also makes ‘audits’ throughout the company, at intervals,
to ensure all the procedures, laid down in the company manuals, are being
When certain operations are being done on an aircraft, whereby there might be
catastrophic consequences to the aircraft if the work was not done correctly, then
a duplicate inspection is required. This involves two engineers; one of whom
completes the work while the second (who has had nothing to do with the task),
checks the work and signs that it has been completed correctly.


Apart from the regular maintenance checks, listed in the Maintenance Manual, there are
a number of additional maintenance procedures that are done at irregular intervals.

These could include washing the aircraft, de-icing it in the winter, weighing it after
certain operations and painting it when its condition warrants it. The information and the
correct procedures will probably be found in the maintenance manuals. (under Washing,
De-icing, Weighing and Painting).

Other work done, in addition to the normal regular maintenance, might include an on-
going sampling programme or condition monitoring, which is done during the normal
day-to-day operation of the aircraft. These tasks would probably be organised at the
request of the local CAA office, to comply with an airworthiness request from the


On almost any aircraft, there will be a number of components that have a stated ‘life’,
usually quoted in flying hours, cycles, calendar time or operating hours.

The correct terminology for ‘life’ is Mandatory Life Limitation. The components will have
been given a life for various reasons. For example, a fatigue life on a structural
component in flying hours; the landing gear legs due for retirement after 10,000
landings, the batteries due for replacement after 3 or 4 months and a retirement life on
an APU measured in hours running time.

The control of the replacement of components, on completion of their lives, rests with
the Technical Control/Records department, which monitors all of the aircraft documents.

When an item is due for replacement, the work is often synchronised with a scheduled
maintenance check, so that the aircraft is out of service for the minimum amount of

It is normal, however, for small items such as batteries, to be changed on the flight line,
often at the end of the day’s flying, with the battery replacement being done at the same
time as the daily inspection.
The notification of the correct day for the replacement will be annotated on a
document called the Maintenance Statement, which gives all items due for
replacement, in between scheduled maintenance checks.

In the front of the Maintenance Manual is a chapter, variously entitled ‘Retirement

Lives’; ‘Long Life Items’ or ‘Fatigue Lives’.

This chapter lists the retirement lives of many components and parts with long
lives, which can include such items as engine ‘hot-end’ components, landing gear
legs and major structural items that have retirement lives in the thousands of
flying hours/cycles.

This list will be monitored by the Technical Records department, and the aircraft
documents will be annotated and the work cards etc., raised when the task is
required to be done.