Monday, 6 July 2015

Mechanical checks on aircraft - a thought

Just this week, I took my car in for its 'annual' service. I didn't have to, but I started getting warning signs on the dashboard.  I went 300 miles past the warning lights - because I can.

I took the car in and the mechanic told me that 'according to the service schedule, I need to replace a certain component at 40,000 miles.  It would cost £400 on top of the service bill...'

I thought it seemed a lot of money for something that wasn't broken.

Here is the dilemma.

  1. I could risk it and leave it until I feel richer or it breaks
  2. I could get it done just in case

The reality is, I have a choice about which I do.

This is a car I value. This is a car I take me and my family in. This is a car that I check the tire pressures and oil about once a month - sometimes more if doing longer journeys.  Mostly, I just trust that when I turn the key, it will start and I am safe.  I do not even consider the risk!

Compare that to commercial aviation....

Every component part has a 'life.'  In other words, when any components are made, they test them to destruction. They measure how long it takes for that part to corrode, break or become less than effective.  They do this deliberately.

If, after 5,000 hours of flying it breaks, the engineers are delighted.  Now they know how long it will last, they then schedule it to be replaced at 3,000 hours of flying for example. So, straight away, there is extra safety built in. 

The aircraft are given a 'going over' every day by qualified engineers. They are scheduled for certain deeper and deeper checks over their life time. When they are taken off flying and into a hangar, they are pretty much re-built.  Anything due to be changed, is changed. Commercial aviation do not have the choices that I do with my car. It is legally enforced. Also, all records are open to inspection by civil aviation authority or the equivalent authority in each country.  Something to think about?

Take care,
Paul & Richard
Future Courses

Premium courses: Birmingham August 30th; Manchester November 8th; Gatwick November 22nd

Children's course: Gatwick November 22nd

Ground courses: Heathrow July 26th

P.S. I got the part changed by the case you were worried!

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