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What you should know about airline inspections

If you are a little intimidated about flying on a commercial aircraft, you are not alone. Many people are nervous when boarding an airplane, especially when flying long distances. Although the Federal Aviation Administration requires American aircraft to be inspected and maintained on a routine basis, accidents occur and unfortunately, lives have been lost due to equipment malfunctions and systems failures. As with all equipment and parts, aircraft equipment has aging patterns and diligent teams work to ensure people catch these problems before they result in a catastrophic accident.

When commercial airplanes are built, engineers develop a maintenance schedule for each aircraft based on certain factors, including the number of landings and takeoffs, number of hours in use or specific dates depending on which arrive first. All systems are inspected, including landing gear, engines, controls, fluids, safety systems and electronics. While some quick inspections happen overnight, others require the plane to be out of commission for months or years as every part is examined for stress, metal fatigue, cracks and fissures.

In a commercial airline last year, the outer casing of a blade located within the engine ripped off and the parts flew through a window. This horrible accident led to the death of a woman and caused engineers to take another look at why this casing separated. As industry standards for more fuel-efficient aircraft changes, engineers must continually look at how these systems will affect all parts of the plane. Factors, such as the thickness of the metal, design and wear and tear from hotter systems must all be reviewed.

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.  

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