February 1, 2017

Maintenance and Efficiency

What is aircraft maintenance and how is it performed better?

The word maintenance means the labor spent for something to stay in a good form. In aeronautical terminology, it can be thought as an activity which must be taken in order to prevent an unexpected interruption of the activity of an aircraft or a part thereof. So the main purpose of maintenance is to ensure that the aircraft and all its parts can operate continuously.

The question of how to maintain is performed, of course, is not a question that can be answered in a simple way. The maintenance requirements of each aircraft and airplane part are different. These requirements are foreseen when the aircraft is in the design phase. After the aircraft enters service, all systems are monitored closely and the required maintenance changes are implemented simultaneously. They are changed again and again as it is necessary.

There are a number of different maintenance methods such as general visual inspection only, visual inspection but detailed control, instrumented checks, on-site tests, workshop tests, non-destructive examinations. As you know, as every machine is working, or time passes even if it does not work, it tends to break down as time goes on. Planes are no different; even as they take off or land, or do not fly at all, the maintenance requirements increase as time goes on.

If all the operations to be performed under any maintenance are clear and known at the beginning, is it possible to perform a better maintenance? It is possible, and even an absolute necessity.

Better maintenance relies on it being more efficient. The path leading to an efficient maintenance passes through good planning.


For example;

- Getting all the materials needed for maintenance ready for maintenance.
- Getting the required tools ready and working when maintenance is underway.
- Having competent and licensed maintenance staff ready.
- Documents to be referenced during maintenance being complete, clear and ready.
- The proper ordering of the operations to be performed has been done.
- Keeping the spare parts that may be needed in stock.
- If any unexpected situation is encountered, having identified the list of people to get in contact with.
- The preparations of these people for unexpected situations to be handled.
- Fast and clear communication of the teams.
- The timing of supplementary services, such as fuel, catering, cockpit and cabin crew, are the factors that directly affect the efficiency of maintenance.

The most efficient maintenance is the maintenance of a process that is done once, and completed correctly in the shortest possible time.


From the same example;

A maintenance where;

- Only one visit is made to the warehouse for all the required materials,
- Tools are used without replacement or any other procedure,
- Qualified and licensed maintenance personnel is ready,
- No additional request, explanation or confirmation request is necessary for the existing documents,
- Each person working in his/her own area, without any recurring tasks,
- Spare parts required are supplied in full,
- Unexpected situations, if any, are reported to relevant people immediately,
- The person who receives the report replies the corrective or necessary action as soon as possible,
- Teams communicate quickly and clearly and do not fall into unnecessary repetitions,
- The fuel, catering, cockpit and cabin crews are provided immediately after maintenance,

is a very efficient maintenance.

Hence any failure in any of these basic steps leads to maintenance inefficiency, and inefficiency leads to loss of profit for the company.

With this approach, there is always room to improve. Some things, a little or more, can definitely be done better.

In general, a better maintenance is achieved if these improvements are constantly put into practice.