Aircraft engines are large, complex components that cannot simply be stored under a hood or stowed away in the fuselage.  The engine must be fitted to the aircraft in a specific way to meet two parameters:  first, to ensure the engine will not come loose in any way, and second, to isolate the engine from the passengers and crew onboard. The answer to these two requirements is to either mount the engine under the wings, or near the rear of the aircraft. Each design has its advantages and disadvantages depending on the type of aircraft.

Commercial aircraft usually have an engine that is located under the aircraft wings. Since they are heavy, high functioning components, engines are fitted to the airframe or fuselage using different engine mounts. The weight of the engine needs to be distributed evenly and the vibration and torque emitted from the engine should be dissipated and absorbed by the mount. Most mounts are made out of a durable and lightweight material such as steel alloy tubing that is welded together. The two key types of mounts are the conical mount and the dynafocal mount. The conical mount is the easiest to construct and features 4 key mounting points.  A downside of this mount is that it does not dampen vibrations or engine torque as much as the dynafocal mount. Generally, the dynafocal mount is viewed to be the better mount as they are consistent at reducing vibration, engine noise, and torque. Typically, a dynafocal mount is the less cost-efficient option.

Compared to engine situated at the rear of the aircraft, under wing engines are easier to access and maintain. They do not require as much structural work and they are safer in the event of fire. Pylons connect the engine mount to the wing of the aircraft. An advantage of a pylon connection is that the engine can be removed without the need to take the whole wing off. Pylons allow for different engines to be fitted to the aircraft. Although the engine mount is still in place, pylons should also be manufactured to withstand high levels of stress and vibration emitted from the engine.

Aircraft Pylons also help to ease the structural requirements of mounting an engine. Another advantage of having the engine located under the wing is that the engine is easier to access and maintain. From a safety point of view, the location is better as the engine is the furthest away from the passengers on board. A downside of this engine placement is that the engine is more susceptible to debris. The noise level is also higher.

In comparison, the rear mounted engine is usually found on smaller aircraft. The engine noise is quieter from inside the cabin and debris is not as likely to fall into the engine. The downside of this engine mounting is that it is harder to access and requires a more complex structural fitting than the pylon used in the wing engine mount.

In either case, the engine on an aircraft is an integral part of the aircraft that requires its own particular style of mounting. If the engine is mounted at an awkward angle or in the wrong location, the aircraft’s center of gravity will be thrown off. Whether it wing or rear mounted, dynafocal or conical mounted, with or without pylons, the engine placement needs to be exact.

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It is an inevitable maxim that what goes up, must inevitably come back down. No aircraft can sustain flight indefinitely until now, perhaps. The Swiss private project Solar Impulse has developed an aircraft by the same name that can theoretically stay in the air indefinitely, with its only limitations being those of the pilot’s body and mind.

Solar Impulse I and Solar Impulse II are driven by four propeller engines, each one powered by its own lithium ion battery. These engines each put out roughly ten horsepower, making them roughly as powerful as the Wright Flyer’s engine! With a top speed of roughly 43 miles per hour, the Solar Impulse aims for endurance, not outright velocity. This is because Solar Impulse’s batteries are fed energy from the 17,000 solar cells covering the top of the aircraft’s wingspan, which reaches over 208 feet from tip to tip

Solar Impulse has a crew of one, situated inside a cockpit holding enough provisions to allow the pilot to live for a whole week onboard without needing to land. The cockpit, however, is unpressurized and unheated. This means that the pilot must wear an oxygen mask at high altitudes, and protective clothing to ward against the extreme temperatures Solar Impulse can encounter during flight, ranging from -40 to +40 degrees Celsius. During the average flight day, the aircraft climbs to 28,000 feet to harvest as much sunlight as possible, then descends to 3,000 feet during the night to conserve energy. The pilot must also sleep in 20-minute bursts to maintain awareness and control of the aircraft.

The most innovative aspect of Solar Impulse, however, is the four lithium-ion batteries that provide the engines with power. Each of these batteries contains 70 lithium-polymer cells, housed in a soft, thin, and flexible material custom-built for the aircraft. Produced by the Korean manufacturer Kokam, the batteries have also been treated with monofluoroethylene carbonate solvent to improve their energy density. Because batteries can lose efficiency when in extreme temperatures, the batteries are kept heated to 25 degrees Celsius to maintain performance.

At ASAP Aviation Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the aircraft battery systems and parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at 1-269-264-4495.

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Aircraft ground handling plays a vital part in ensuring the proper functioning of aircraft. A key component in ground handling is the use of aircraft jacks in lifting the plane for maintenance. The two most common aircraft jack types found on airport runways are the axle jack and the tripod jack. Each one performs a different service depending on the application.

An axle jack is a freestanding hydraulic jack built with a portable design. It can maneuver around an airport with ease and can be manually operated. This jack is constructed with three rams as well as an outer cylinder; in addition, it contains a built-in reservoir for fluid on the base of the jack. These types of jacks are mainly used in brake repair or service, tire replacement, and other applications involving lifting the nose of the plane. In order to accomplish the heavy task of lifting an area of the plane, the axle jack should be placed and operated directly under aircraft landing gear.

Tripod jacks are designed with three core components: a steel tripod structure with caster wheels, a hydraulic pump assembly, and a hydraulic cylinder. These jacks are also manually operated and have wheels to assist in maneuverability. The tripod jack provides more muscle than the axle jack in that it can raise the tail, wing, fuselage, or nose of an aircraft. The hydraulic pump activates the cylinder, causing it to raise. If enough tripod jacks are present the whole aircraft can be lifted for maintenance. These work best in stationary positions; if any movement is required while the jack is lifted, it may malfunction. Ensure that your jack is functioning properly to avoid any mishaps.

Always follow the proper rules and regulations when operating either jack. In Aerospace, safety should always be the main priority. It is recommended to follow the manufacturer's guidelines for proper operation of an aircraft jack. There are a few considerations you will want to make in the maintenance and care of an aircraft jack. Be sure to examine the condition of the locknuts to confirm they aren’t damaged. You will also want to double check other hardware for any missing or malfunctioning components. In addition, it is important to analyze the welded joints and keep an eye out for fatigue at all fastened locations; inspect the lugs and other components to spot any cracks or stress fractures. Another important tip is to monitor the fluid levels and refill according to manufacturer specifications. Routine maintenance can help avoid costly repairs on your axle or tripod jack. Always remember- safety first! Once you’ve determined the safety of the aircraft jack, be sure to remain abreast of required safety procedures during operation.

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One of my most memorable moments on a commercial flight took place just after takeoff from Chicago O’Hare International Airport. It was mid-July, and a summer thunderstorm had the airport struggling to get flights out of the city before the weather worsened. Shortly after takeoff, I peered to the right and my eyes fell to a window just above the wing— dark, swollen clouds sat in the near-distance and lightning bolts illuminated the sky in grey and purple hues. The pilot calmly announced that due to weather we were cleared for an emergency landing in Minneapolis. As frightening as this event might be to everyday passengers, aircraft components are designed to be resistant to lightning damage, strikes to an aircraft are actually quite common, and aviation professionals are well prepared for events of this nature.

Of all reported lightning strikes to an aircraft, 96% occur within a cloud structure between 5,000 ft. and 15,000 ft. (1,524 to 4,572 meters). 70% occur during the presence of rain, and 42% of reported strikes occur with no visible thunderstorms in the area. This is because of the energy storage availability created during precipitation, which can affect aircraft up to 5 miles away from the electrical center of a cloud. Lightning attachment is most common on the wing tips, nose, and rudder, or the aircraft’s leading edges because the air around the edges ionizes and creates a strike opportunity during rainy weather. Airports will analyze these factors and more to determine whether aircraft will be able to clear these parameters and reach a safe altitude and to formulate emergency landing procedures.

In production, there are three main factors that OEMs consider when incorporating lightning redundancy in aircraft components. These include the energy level of a potential strike, vulnerable attachment and exit locations on an aircraft, and the duration of a potential strike. The metal structure of an aircraft is the first defense against a lightning strike. It is designed to resist lightning strikes and provide initial protection from current; it prevents electromagnetic energy from interfering with the array of electrical wiring in an aircraft. Other lightning protection components include wire bundle shields, ground straps, aluminum flame spray coating, coated glass fabric, and more. Operational test procedures and subsequent inspections are conducted on vulnerable components to ensure that an aircraft is equipped for a lightning strike event.

Lighting inspection procedures, both before flight and post-flight, are utilized by technicians. The guidelines referenced for inspection include those set by aircraft maintenance manuals (AMMs) and SAE Aerospace Recommended Practices (ARP) 5414, which outlines vulnerable lightning zones on an aircraft. A technician must have a thorough understanding of how lightning damage might manifest on an aircraft. Because of the various lightning protection measures on an aircraft, a pilot may not be aware that their aircraft experienced a lightning strike, and therefore might not report it on the flight log. If it is known that an aircraft has encountered a lightning strike, a conditional inspection will take place. This inspection is performed to identify lightning strike attachment and exit points and to examine any affected systems.

At ASAP Aviation Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the airport lightning components you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-269-264-4495.

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Preparation is key to any operation and depending on the size of the operation there are more requirements that must be met in order to ensure safety and quality of service. International flight is on a scale so grand that there a multitude of things to consider before flying. Here’s a list of things that can help simplify preparations for your next international flight.

Ground Support Equipment (GSE) is the collection of tools and equipment needed to service an aircraft while it’s docked at a terminal between flights. This can range from fuel additives to airlifts, so it’s critical to ensure that airports in different countries meet the appropriate standards for service.

Possible GSE items can be as glaringly obvious as fuel but can creep into more obscure territory such as a de-icing liquid. At certain airports, hydrant fuel may not be available, forcing you to resort to bringing in off-airport fuel, which can cost significantly more than typical prices. Meanwhile, at some airports, it may be impossible to have fuel brought in. Plan your flights accordingly to how much fuel will be available between layovers, especially at airports that may not have fuel available. This applies to all GSE requirements.

In addition to equipment for servicing the aircraft, it is also recommended that flight destinations have the correct facilities in order to meet the needs of handlers and on-flight personnel. Things like laundry, shower facilities, and refrigeration for food and beverages ensure that the passenger flight experience is optimized for comfort and quality.

Some countries have certain guidelines and restrictions that further complicate flights and must be accounted for. In order to confirm aircraft parking, some countries require that there be a towbar present; while some airports in India and Africa may require disinfection and insecticide be sprayed in the cabin before the aircraft doors even open. Some things, like a towbar, are easier to account for compared to things like disinfectant spray, but it’s always better to be over prepared than underprepared.

 As a general rule of thumb, you don’t have to get ready if you stay ready. But with the various different requirements that must be met at each airport, it may be impossible to make sure all of the flight arrangements are accounted for at home base. It is recommended that all GSE requirements be researched at least two weeks prior to take-off. This allows any and all deficiencies to be dealt with in an adequate time-frame, allowing for appropriate corrective actions to be made and approved. 

At ASAP Aviation Hub, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the ground support equipment and parts you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-269-264-4495.

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