AIRCRAFT TECHNICAL MANAGEMENT
All maintenance must be conducted in accordance with the regulations of the national aviation authority of aircraft registration. Any aircraft registered in and operated under a commercial AOC in Europe must be maintained in accordance with EU legislation, the AOC operator itself being ultimately responsible for maintenance compliance. Other national regulations apply to different jurisdictions.
Aircraft are in all cases required to undergo regular scheduled inspections and servicing in accordance with an approved maintenance programme determined for the precise aircraft type established with the national authority responsible. Maintenance is scheduled based on hours flown, pressurisation cycles on the airframe, landings and calendar dates. Such programmes generally follow the airframe, engine and component manufacturers’ recommendations and guidance, where appropriate modified to the operator’s pattern of usage and/or by operator experience in consultation and by agreement of the manufacturer and the operator’s national authority.
Typically, an aircraft will undergo a daily pre-flight check, perhaps conducted by the crew but in any event to carefully defined procedures under the control of the maintenance organisation appointed to look after the aircraft. Other scheduled checks will typically be required at intervals of between 50 and 1200 hours, carried out an approved maintenance facility, generally resulting in short hangar visits about once a month and a major visit, perhaps resulting in 2 to 3 weeks downtime, approximately once per year. Variations may be granted by the maintenance organisation extending the period to next check by a maximum of 10% of the lowest frequency check, even if the aircraft is away from its maintenance base. Where defects are found during such inspection and/or in operation, they must be corrected as required, most often prior to next flight to ensure the continued airworthiness of the aircraft.
Away from base, while certain defects will ground the aeroplane immediately, others may be carried to the next inspection or for an otherwise limited period. The Minimum Equipment List (MEL) is an approved document forming part of the aircraft’s airworthiness approval, stating which on-board equipment may be unserviceable while still permitting safe flight.
Major components, including engines and engine accessories, each have defined overhaul lives with flight-hour, flight-cycle and calendar limits computer tracked so that work can be conducted at appropriate times to coincide with scheduled hangar visits. Replacement or loaner components can be ordered in advance, while owned units are returned for trade-in or overhauled. Some aircraft and engine manufacturers operate ‘power-by-the-hour’ parts schemes providing all life limited parts, together with scheduled replacements and those to replace prematurely failed units, for a fixed all-inclusive hourly price.
With careful advance planning and fore-thought, hangar visits and component changes can be scheduled so as to be of minimum impact on the owner’s operation. A good management company will take into account the owner’s precise requirements in scheduling maintenance and in ensuring maximum availability to its client.
AIR FLEET’s Continuing Airworthiness Management Exposition (CAME), actually a maintenance policy & procedures manual, establishes policies and procedures pertinent to its maintenance procedures and identifies maintenance contractors and respective responsibilities. All maintenance activities are carried out in accordance with this manual.
Client aircraft are inspected, overhauled and repaired in accordance with the manufacturer's procedures and recommendations, and detailed Maintenance Programme properly and fully approved by the relevant regulatory authorities. Current aircraft specific maintenance manuals, each with a current revision record, Service Letters, Service Bulletins, and Airworthiness Directives are available to all maintenance personnel engaged in the servicing, repair or inspection of client aircraft.
Facilities used by AIR FLEET for client aircraft maintenance are regularly audited to not only confirm regulatory compliance but also the employment of highest possible standards throughout their respective activities:
- Facilities shall be of a sufficient size, capability and staffing to ensure effective all weather aircraft maintenance operations on the type of aircraft concerned.
- Such facilities shall be fully approved by the applicable regulatory authorities for the work to be performed, and have necessary fully equipped workshops, hangar equipment, general tooling, specific type tooling, test equipment (calibrated where appropriate). Secure air-conditioned stores shall be provided, with all parts properly stored and tagged. A quarantine area shall be designated.
- Minimum qualifications for persons employed in the supervision of maintenance of aircraft operated by the Company shall be a current EASA Engineer’s Licence (or equivalent), endorsed with the respective airframe and engine type as appropriate, with an overall background of at least ten years experience in aviation maintenance and not less than three years in servicing and inspection of the appropriate aircraft type. Maintenance training shall be continually monitored and records available.
Maintaining a focus on safety and cost control, our objective is also to return client aircraft to service on time, with minimum ground time.
We charge a maintenance management fee covering administration of engine and airframe guarantee programmes and applicable OEM warranties. We also bid, track and schedule all required maintenance with all work performed by outside vendors recharged to the owner.