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.

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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.

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