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Different types of risks are involved while operating an aircraft. Such risks cannot be eliminated, and thus the operators should take all possible precautions to minimize them. The propeller is a pertinent part of the aircraft. As such, a slight mechanical problem can cause a forced landing or even occasion vibrations which can lead to the damage of the plane. Propellers experience constant vibration stresses from the engine and airstreams as well as the centrifugal forces. Therefore, an adequate margin of safety must be demonstrated for a propeller to be certified as being safe to operate on an airplane (Hitchens, 2015). Notably, a lot of precautions have been taken in the design and manufacturing of an aircraft propellers. However, rare instances of failure, particularly fatigue failure, are still being experienced. Consequently, it is crucial to continuously maintain the propeller in strict conformity with the recommended service procedures. Consistent checks should be kept to detect impending problems.
Various types of inspections done on the propellers include pre-flight, operations and periodic inspections (Hitchens, 2015). A proper procedure has been laid down to facilitate effective and efficient reviews. First, the mechanical personnel visually inspect the entire blade and the erosion shield. Any defect noted should be fixed accordingly. Such, damages may include lightning strikes, looseness or cracks among others. Second, the propeller is checked to find out whether it is experiencing either oil or grease leakage. Caution should be taken to perform this inspection without cleaning any part of the propeller. Third, maintenance experts evaluate the vibration of the propeller. Abnormal vibration should be subjected to investigations instantly. Fourth, tachometer inspection should be carried out. Next, technical experts perform blade track checks. Fifth, blades are inspected to ensure that they are tight. Additionally, assessments are carried out on the spinner and the electric De-ice System.
Types of Propeller Damage
Different kinds of damages render the propellers defective. It is worth noting that damage can occur at any part of the propeller blade. Thus, it is essential to inspect the whole blade during inspection and maintenance. Propeller damages fall into two categories namely, corrosion and physical damages. There are different types of corrosion, for instance, intergranular, surface and pitting corrosion (Setz, 2009). Physical defects include leading-edge misalignment, Nick, scratches, cracks, dents, heat damage, lightning, and foreign object strike.
Qualified persons are mandated to perform Propeller installation. As a requirement, the propeller manufacturer provides clear installation instructions. Caution should be taken to ensure that mechanical experts use bolts supplied by the manufacturer while assembling various parts of the propeller. Further, they should be careful while determining whether lubrication is needed during torquing or not. Generally, it is vital to follow the correct procedures and requirements of proper propeller installation.
To sum up, aircraft propellers play a significant role in determining the safety of the flight. Failure to adhere to the inspection and maintenance requirement leads to an adverse impact on the aircraft and particularly on the safety of passengers onboard. Therefore, it is imperative to note that proper maintenance of the propeller is equal to safe flight.
Hitchens, F. (2015). Propeller Aerodynamics: The History, Aerodynamics & Operation of Aircraft Propellers. Luton, Bedfordshire: Andrews UK.
Setz, H. L. (2009). THE INFLUENCE OF CORROSION ON PROPELLER SHAFT MAINTENANCE. Journal of the American Society for Naval Engineers, 53(4), 735-744. doi:10.1111/j.1559-3584.1941.tb01551.x
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