Sample Aviation Research Paper on Propeller Maintenance and Inspection

Propeller maintenance and inspection

Introduction

It has been established that aircraft propellers are the most stressed component of the aircraft and as such must be inspected regularly. It is affirmed that the inspection will lead to maintenance that is always specified by the propeller manufacturer and may also vary from type to type. Aircraft safety professional have affirmed that propeller maintenance and inspection will typically encompass a visual inspection of propeller blades, hubs, controls, and accessories for security, safety, and general condition (McCloskey, 2008). The visual inspection must take note of detecting defects and flaws that may likely lead to an accident due to malfunctioning of the propeller. There is also need to adhere to the recommendations that have arisen from inspection and visual examination in cases of accident or malfunctioning of a propeller. As a requirement experts have pronounced that whenever a propeller is removed from a shaft, the hub cone seats, cones, and other contact parts should be examined to detect undue wear, galling, or corrosion (McCloskey, 2008). 

Inspection criteria

It is opined that inspection criteria for propellers include performing a visual preflight inspection of the blades for nicks, scratches, dents, erosion, corrosion and cracks (McCloskey, 2008).  Once this is conducted and an apparent damage is discovered then the services of a qualified and appropriate mechanic should be engaged, this may then result to the removal of the propeller in case of cracks or bends discovered. Secondly, maintenance personnel should also check and ascertain the propeller spinner attaching screws for security and check the spinner for damage, check any evidence of oil spillage, clean propeller blades periodically with fresh water and ensure that the tachometer is appropriately marked for operational limitations of the propeller. Additionally, maintenance personnel should ensure applicable installation, information, and warning decals are on the propeller for decision making, prepare and document a propeller maintenance and inspection record while also reconditioning the propeller in case of any problem discovered.  

Types of propeller damage

There are several types of propeller damage that comprise internal and external corrosion that may pose a serious problem to the aircraft since it threatens propeller structural integrity and performance without being noticed. Second, surface corrosion that arises due to chemical action on the surface and thus reducing the life span of propeller blades and to some extent lead to malfunction of the propeller (National Learning Corporation, 2004).  In addition, pitting is another damage that leads to cavities in the propellers to impede rotation, intergranular corrosion mostly occurring on the grain boundaries to facilitate corrosion on the blades.

Limitations

As a requirement operations and service personnel should familiarize themselves with certain limitations during maintenance and inspection, for instance presence of corrosion may require the removal of propeller for reconditioning.  Another limitation pertains to a bent propeller that cannot be straightened without special processing in an appropriately rated repair station because bending may harden the aluminum and lead to catastrophic blade failure (National Learning Corporation, 2004). Third, maintenance personnel may be restricted from shortening blades and can only be possible with reference to approved data from the manufacturer. Fourth, it is affirmed that maintenance personnel should also limit all blade repairs to those allowed by the manufacturer. Finally, there is limitation on when and how to polish blades and FAA requires that propeller blades should be maintained with respect to the design type. 

References

McCloskey, I. (2008). Aircraft powerplant maintenance. Weyers Cave, Va: Avotek Information

            Resources.

National Learning Corporation. (2004). This is your passbook for fundamentals of airframe &

powerplant mechanics: Basic mini text : subject outline review. Syosset, N.Y: National Learning Corp.