At any given moment, there are approximately 5,000 aircraft in the US airspace. Each day, there is an average of 44,000 flights that cater to 2.7 million passengers that travel into, out of or within the US.
Commercial airplanes fly at between 31,000 and 38,000 feet, which is about 6-7 miles above the ground. If a plane develops any mechanical issue at such a height, the consequences could be gruesome. This is where aircraft maintenance crews come in. Their role is to ensure that an aircraft is in tip-top shape before it takes to the skies. This involves checking rotor track balance, transient balance and conducting vibration analysis, among others.
Aircraft maintenance teams are an invaluable part of the aviation industry. This is why airliners ensure that teams have enough members and high-quality tools to work with. Since air travel is projected to double in 20 years, airliners are continually adding to their teams. In 2017 alone, there were roughly 131,500 service technicians and aircraft mechanics employed in the US.
To ensure that planes are always safe for passengers, service technicians must be thorough and efficient. This article has insightful tips for aviation maintenance mechanics and supervisors to help them run efficient teams.
Have a Schedule for Inspection
As per the FAA rules, any aircraft must be inspected at least once every year. Additional inspections for every hour of flying time are required if it carries passengers other than the crew.
Regular inspections are necessary for any plane that is used frequently. By reducing the time between inspections, you will be able to ensure that planes are safe for use at all times. Other than routine maintenance, some components also require individualized inspections after various periods. As such, a schedule that factors for all this will make planning and conducting routine checks easier.
Work on Communication within the Team
For all their technical prowess, maintenance guys at times lack people and communication skills. Though their primary role is to get planes ready for flight, effective communication skills are just as important.
Any time a plane is grounded for inspection, your client is losing income. As such, it is important that supervisors keep them up to date with the progress of inspection. This helps clients plan for when to have the plane back in operation or allows them to make alterations to plans if the plane has to stay longer.
However, this only relies on how soon technicians pass on information to their supervisors. For efficient communication, set up guidelines and requirements for how and when progress reports are issued.
Encourage Technicians to Take Action as Soon as They Notice Something
When it comes to aircraft maintenance, nothing is left to chance. Encourage and give your technicians the liberty to take action whenever they notice something wrong. If there any signs of damage or traces of grease or oil, they should do the repairs or trace that leak immediately.
Another thing to always check on is the tires. It is essential that after every routine inspection that your team ensures that they are in good condition and have enough pressure. This is crucial for the safe landing of any plane.
Run an Efficient Operation
Many things play a part in building a great aircraft maintenance team. These include identifying potential and grooming it as well as using high-quality aviation equipment, among other things.
However, all these are useless if you are not focused on continuously improving efficiency. To achieve this, you need to assess every aspect of your operation and identify any areas that slow the process down. Inefficiencies increase the amount of time taken for each inspection and expenses, which reduces profitability.
One and a half centuries ago, the idea that one could travel thousands of miles in just hours was outright absurd. Now, you can travel to three or four different continents in one week. And thanks to aircraft maintenance crews that work behind the scenes, air travel is the safest mode of transport.