Fixed wing maintenance may appear to be relatively simple compared to the complexities of maintaining the complex moving parts of helicopters.

However fixed wing maintenance has its own challenges, particularly as regards the accessibility of hard to reach components such as flap track mechanisms and undercarriage retraction systems.

Because fixed wing aircraft are not completely overhauled from nose to tail on a regular basis, many parts are allowed to deteriorate and are only replaced ‘on condition’. The best way to deal with this challenge is to have a strict regime of preventative maintenance that monitors the conditions of those parts which don’t normally get replaced. When significant wear and tear is evidenced there is a need then to replace them.

From SA Flyer’s own experience in particular, with our 18-year-old Piper Saratoga, it was evident that a good examination and preventative maintenance can enormously improve the dispatch reliability of the aircraft.

As always with maintenance, it is best not to seek out the cheapest supplier, but to find that balance between a fair price and quality. Thus, it is always recommended that the reputation of an aircraft maintenance organization (AMO) be established before significant work is entrusted to that organization.

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