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Avionic Repairs Explained In Simple Terms

By Elena McDowell

Both military and civilian aircraft have so much more to them than just the body and the engines. There are many different controlling systems, and deal with such things as communication, navigation and engine management. There are many more systems too, and you will not be surprised to learn that sometimes this technology becomes faulty. This can mean that avionic repairs will be needed.

In the commercial sector any aircraft withdrawn from service can cause problems. These might be delays or even cancellations. Neither is a pleasant option for the operator or the customer. Ideally flight disruptions will be kept to a minimum.

The vast majority of these control units are all housed in the same bay within the aircraft. Whenever there is a fault the engineer will diagnose the most likely cause, and replace the problem item. He will then test the system to ensure that it is once again working, before releasing the aircraft back into the schedule. This makes sure that the disruption has been as small as possible.

So even though the aircraft has returned into the flight program the engineer now has an unserviceable piece of equipment on his hands. Depending on who the operating company are they might have their own engineering test facilities at a major airport hub. Most often the equipment has to be sent to another specialist company for rectification.

One important task that the maintenance engineer can do is provide as much information as possible when completing the paperwork. This enables the rectification company to narrow their diagnostic checks, and so save time. On confirming that there is a fault, the company will investigate what has caused it.

The workshop facilities where the equipment is checked has to meet certain criteria. The environment has to be controlled in both temperature and humidity, and the air is scrubbed to remove dust particles. Even the technicians working on the equipment will have undergone specialist training, and will employ various devices to minimize the possibility of static discharges damaging the equipment.

During the diagnostic testing the technicians will be looking for operations and readings at set points, these will be compared against the average readings provided by the manufacturer. In a few cases the fault is easy to see with the naked eye, it might be a broken wire or an unshipped PCB. It can also be an electronic component on a PCB which failed.

Actual faults are easier to deal with and rectify than intermittent ones. As soon as the fault is found it can then be sorted out, on completion the technician will conduct further testing. This is to prove that no further faults have occurred, or have been missed. The equipment piece is then deemed as being serviceable once it passes all of these final tests.

The technician will sign for these avionic repairs only when he is convinced that everything is working as it should do. The piece of equipment can now be sent back to the airline. They will retain it, in a state of readiness, until the next time it is required.

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