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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