Operating an aircraft is a huge responsibility, as the safety of goods and the lives of people are in your hands. However, some operators often put maintenance on the backseat. As a result, the aircraft can later have expensive damages and impose costly downtime on the operation to carry out repairs. Aircraft fuel system maintenance and inspection is a must if your goal is to have safe and reliable aircraft.
Proper inspection of the aircraft should include a thorough investigation of the aircraft especially the interior part of its fuel tank, which needs intense examination and attention to detail. Tanks must be checked for multiple inconsistencies such as fuel leakage, fuel quantity probe replacement, fuel boost pump obstructions, faulty wiring, F.O.D. or foreign object debris, any structural damage to wings like cracks and corrosion, and sealant deterioration.
If the tank is accessible, technicians must physically crawl inside the tank to perform proper inspections and maintenance. Specialized training and procedures exist to protect technicians from the hazards of their job. Emergency response plan must also be in place in case of accidents. It is equally important as well to choose the best fuel tanks for the aircrafts firsthand.
It is imperative to purchase a quality fuel tank for an aircraft right from the beginning. You can never compromise the safety of the crew and the passengers when it comes to aircraft equipment, parts, and features. Before a technician can safely enter a tank for maintenance, there are procedures that need to be done, including the following:
- The aircraft must be electrically grounded and defueled.
- Fire protection equipment must be gathered and have them on standby.
- Aircraft systems must be deactivated.
- Proper ventilation must be ensured.
- Air quality within the tanks must be monitored frequently.
- Oxygen and flammable vapor concentrations within the tank must be monitored using portable gas detectors.
Proper training of the crew is essential to avoid any untoward accidents in maintaining and repairing aircraft fuel tanks. Constant and accurate verbal communication must be maintained among technicians while doing the maintenance. There must also be continuous monitoring of the aircraft fuel tanks and their surroundings. All technicians must have the knowledge and skills of the critical components inside the fuel tanks of the aircraft and their functions to prevent personnel injury and costly damage to the aircraft.
Emergency Response Plan
Serious and grave issues can occur with aircraft fuel systems maintenance. The interior of a fuel tank is a very hazardous environment and freak accidents may not be avoided. All aircraft service and maintenance procedures should include an emergency response plan in case unfortunate events happen.
Aircraft fuel systems maintenance is a very complex and dangerous procedure and requires monitoring. Proper training, quality fuel tanks, and effective processes will help create a healthy work environment for fuel tank repair technicians and maintenance crews.