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The Basics of Helicopter Maintenance in General Aviation


February 3, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ News


Helicopter Maintenance in General Aviation

The principles and concepts involved in helicopter maintenance are more detailed than basic aircraft maintenance. We’ll start by gaining knowledge of all helicopter maintenance activities. In doing so, we’ll determine the outcome of different scenarios by means of hard time, on-condition and condition monitoring.

Starting on Helicopter Maintenance

Helicopter maintenance is not just about keeping things in check just so it lasts longer. Helicopter maintenance includes the practice of restoring and preserving its condition so it remains airworthy, focusing on its engine and its equipment. The basic activities involved in maintaining a helicopter include:

  • Inspection
  • Repair
  • Overhaul
  • Modification
  • Replacement

Maintenance Process

The three processes of primary maintenance of a helicopter are:

  • Hard time
  • On-Condition
  • Condition monitoring

The processes of hard time and on-condition focus on actions that directly target and prevent failure. Condition monitoring then focuses on subsequent preventative actions for the incident that occurs.

These maintenance processes are practiced on the assumptions that with age, the reliability of the helicopter will indeed decrease. As such, it’s better to have a process in place so any future failures are prevented.

Hard Time

Hard time components are ones that require a specific action at a specific interval. This could include repairs or replacements. Once the limit or fixed time is reached, that component is discarded or overhauled. These limits are implemented on simple parts and assemblies which have definite life cycles such as the metal chassis or any machinery whose failure may have a direct negative effect on the safety of the helicopter in flight.

The prescribed actions in hard time include servicing, partial overhauls, overhauls or complete replacements of the items in question. However, the application of this process has become somewhat outmoded now that the aircraft industry has matured and manufactured more complex and durable machinery.

Therefore, this process is now only applied to machinery whose failure will not have devastating consequences.

Instead, reliability-centered processes i.e. on-condition and condition monitoring are now used dominantly.

On-Condition

The purpose of the on-condition process is to remove the part of the machinery before it fails during service. This preventative process puts the item to an inspection or test. Specific standards are set for each part.

The on-condition process is designed to detect potential failures so that action can be taken beforehand. The tests then determine either the removal or complete repair of the component on the condition that they don’t satisfy the defined standards.

These standards may be set through tests, measurements or visual examinations, but there’s no teardown overhaul. The checks are performed within the time limit and are mainly focused on determining the machine’s tolerance against wear and tear. If the inspection yields any results that signify reduced resistance, the unit goes under repair.

Condition Monitoring

In this process, information is gathered and analyzed so it can be used for further implementation of future corrective procedures. The process mainly applies to items that show corrosion over time. That component is observed as it gradually starts to deteriorate, and is monitored throughout.

A good example of this is through engine condition monitoring, in which various components of the machine are monitored and results are collected so they can be properly analyzed. In this process, disassembly or removal isn’t required.

Learning about Helicopter Maintenance

As a company that sells helicopter maintenance platforms and other machinery for aircraft maintenance, we have all the information you need and the tools required to help you preserve the condition of your aircraft.

If you’re looking for further information on aircraft maintenance and how our platforms can help, contact Industrial Man Lifts at (727) 490-8839.

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