Commercial airplanes are complex vehicles consisting of hundreds of thousands of individual parts. While there are different types of commercial airplanes, they are all very complex. As a result, they require regular maintenance to provide a safe flying experience for their respective crew and passengers. You might be surprised to learn, however, just how frequently commercial airplanes undergo maintenance.
Flying aboard a commercial airplane is undoutedbly safer than driving. Research shows that flying, in fact, is nearly 20 times safer than driving. In any given year, there are approximately 6 million car accidents in the United States. The rate of commercial airplane crashes is much lower. In most years, there are no fatal airplane crashes.
One of the reasons why flying is so much safer than driving is because of the extensive work that goes into maintaining commercial airplanes. Most commercial airplanes are inspected by a team of maintenance professionals at least once every two days. During this inspection, maintenance professionals will check the commercial airplane’s fluids to ensure they aren’t low. Maintenance professionals will also check the commercial airplane’s tires. If they are low on air, they will pump them to the appropriate pounds per square (PSI) of pressure.
It’s important to note that commercial airplanes don’t have air in their tires; they have nitrogen, instead. Air is susceptible to expansion and contraction from environmental changes. When the air becomes colder and less dense, air-filled tires lose their pressure. Nitrogen-filled tires, on the other hand, are protected against extreme environmental-related expansion and contraction. They can withstand the otherwise harsh environment at high altitudes without contracting. Therefore, most commercial airplanes use nitrogen in their tires rather than air. Maintenance professionals will check the commercial airplane’s tires during a basic inspection, and if they are low on nitrogen, they will refill them.
Along with a basic inspection — which occurs once every two days on average — commercial airplanes undergo a heavy maintenance inspection. A heavy inspection, as the name suggests, involves a more thorough evaluation of the commercial airplane’s. A heavy maintenance inspection typically occurs once every few years. During a heavy maintenance inspection, a team of maintenance professionals will thoroughly check most of the commercial airplane’s components. They’ll look for signs of corrosion, loose fasteners, worn parts and other signs of fault that need addressing.
Commercial airplanes require frequent maintenance to offer a safe flying experience. They typically undergo a basic maintenance inspection once every two days, followed by a more thorough heavy maintenance inspection once every few years.