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Historical development of Aircraft Maintenance

Aircraft maintenance means the preservation, inspection, overhaul, and repair of aircraft, including the replacement parts. This program is designed to serve individuals who have completed the required classroom instruction leading to FAA certification. An Associate Degree will be awarded providing the additional general education credit hours are completed. Maintenance requirements vary for different types of aircraft, however, most aircraft require some type of preventive maintenance every 25 hours or less of flying time, and minor maintenance at least every 100 hours.

Aircraft Maintenance Technician holds a mechanic certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. Aircraft Maintenance Technicians (AMT’s) perform or supervise maintenance, preventive maintenance, and alteration of aircraft and aircraft systems in accordance with the provisions of Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s, which are Chapter 1 of Title 14 the Code of Federal Regulations). The equivalent of an AMT is an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer. Certification of mechanics is regulated under 14 CFR Part 65.

Those who fulfill the necessary requirements are issued a Mechanic certificate with either an Airframe or Power plant rating, or both. It is these ratings which together account for the common practice of referring to mechanics as “A&P’s. ” Until the early 1950s, instead of the Power plant rating, an Engine rating was issued, so the abbreviation “A&E” may appear in older documents. The general requirements for eligibility for a mechanic certificate include the following: • Be 18 or older; • Be able to read, speak, and understand English; and

• Pass a set of required tests within a maximum of 24 months. Eligibility for the mechanic tests depends on the applicant’s ability to document her or his knowledge of required subject matter and ability to perform maintenance tasks. The FAA recognizes two ways of demonstrating the needed knowledge and skills: On-the-job experience or completion of a training program at a school certified under 14 CFR Part 147. A quantitative target is always useful to encourage a designer to improve the maintability.

This requires extensive knowledge of the performance of the previous products so that sensible targets are set. Civil aircraft operators often demand direct maintenance cost guarantees for both aircraft and its engine. Military aircraft targets are quoted as the number of maintenance person-hours per flying hour. The Bae Hawk is a good example of an aircraft designed for good maintenance, and performance as follows: Over all maintenance=3. 8 man-hour/flying hour.

This figure includes all the maintenance including the flight line and is about half that have the Gnat and hunter aircraft, which preceded it. Flight maintenance achieved figures are: Pre-flight = 1 man in 13 mins Turn Around= 1 man in 9 mins Post flight = 3 men in 11 mins Re-arming = 4 men in 10 mins It is very difficult to quantify these figures during the initial stages, but comparison can be made with empirical figures obtained from the current aircraft. Maintainability engineers can advise designers of good practices, and mock-ups can be used in relatively early stages of design.

Maintenance trials can be performing with mock-ups where it is still possible to change the design to improve matters. The maintenance checks are then made at subsequent stages of development, but the further the development process, the more difficult it becomes to make changes. Computer aided design (CAD) can be useful tool to check accessibility for maintenance purposes. CAD full-scale models have been made which can represent the shapes the strength of the complete range of maintenance personnel.

These early checks can be made in what are termed electronic mock-ups. The uses of quantified maintenance targets, and the other means described above, have the potential to significantly reduce maintenance cost. Aircraft is a machine or device, such as an airplane, helicopter, glider, or dirigible that is capable of atmospheric flight. For the centuries, man is able to soar with the birds. This machine was started by the famous inventor like Leonardo da Vinci, John Stringfellow, and Lawrence Hargrave and come up ideas of flying.

This started an idea of developing what we call an aircraft, which can either be heavier-than-air or lighter-than-air, lighter-than-air craft including balloons and airships; and heavier-than-air craft including airplanes, autogiros, gliders, helicopters, and ornithopters. The early aviation was started as a kite flying in the sky, which is designed in the 5th century. Later on in the 13th century, Roger Bacon, an English monk, performed studies that later gave him the idea that air could support a craft just like water supports boats.

In the 16th century, Leonardo da Vinci studied bird’s flight, and later produced the airscrew and the parachute. The airscrew, leading to the propeller later on, and the parachute were tremendously important contributions to aviation. He envisioned three different types of heavier-than-air craft; the helicopter, glider, and ornithopter (a machine with mechanical wings which flap to mimic a bird). The kite played an important role in the development of the aviation. Aerodynamic and flight stability test are used in kite especially in the 1893 up to 1910.

In the 19th Century British Sir George Cayley designed a combined helicopter and horizontally propelled aircraft, and British Francis Herbert Wenham used wind tunnels in his studies and predicted the application of multiple wings placed above each other. Inventor John Stringfellow designed a steam engine powered aircraft that was launched from a wire. This model demonstrated lift but failed to actually climb. Lawrence Hargrave, a British-born Australian inventor, created a rigid-wing aircraft with flapping blades operated by a compressed-air motor, it flew 312 ft (95m) in 1891.

A glider was develop by Jean Marie Le Bris in the 19th century. Samuel Langley made another important model flight attempt. The first heavier than air, gasoline powered engine that flew. It is called ‘aerodrome’, was powered by a 53 horsepower 5-cylinder radial engine and later crashed into the Potomac River on December 1903 — days before the Wright’s historic flight. Throughout this century, major developments would give inventors a sound basis in experimental aerodynamics, although stability and control required for sustained flight had not been acquired.

Most importantly, inventors noticed that successful powered flight required light gasoline engines instead of the cumbersome steam engines previously used. On December 17, 1903, at 10:35 a. m. , the Wright brothers’ (Orville at the controls) made the first heavier-than-air, machine powered flight that lasted 12 seconds and spanned 120 feet. Their first flight was 102 feet short of the wingspan of the C-5 Galaxy today, yet they did what every man and woman has dreamed for centuries. They flew.

Yet, not all flights were victorious, on September 17, their aircraft crashed, injuring Orville and his passenger (Lieutenant Thomas E. Selfridge). Selfridge later died of a concussion and was the first person to be killed in a powered airplane. Yet the show went on and Wilbur went to France in August 1908, and on December 31, 1908, he completed a 2 hour 20 minute flight that demonstrated full control over his Flyer. The Flyer was purchased on August 2 and became the first successful military airplane. It remained in service for around two years and was retired to the Smithsonian Institution where it rests today

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