Your airplane jack was designed to withstand certain amounts of force, but there are many reasons this may no longer be the case. To ensure proper function, airplane jack load testing is a must; but it’s not cheap. Shipping fees alone can be costly and that’s not even taking into consideration the “sweat equity” that goes into prepping the jack for shipping and putting it back into use upon its return. That is why, rather than going through the time and expense of shipping a jack out, many facilities opt for on-site proof load testing instead.
When you’re deciding on whether or not to use an on-site proof load testing service or shipping it out, this is a critical factor to consider. The time and labor investment just for shipping a jack out for service will typically look similar to this:
FOR AN AXLE JACK
Arrange a UPS pickup, you will need to plan this at least a day in advance. (10 minutes)
Drain all the hydraulic liquid – UPS does not allow them to be shipped unless this step is completed. (30 minutes)
Pack your jack into a crate or box for shipping; being sure to use plenty of protective precautions to avoid damager during shipping. (10 minutes)
You will need to weigh and measure the crate and go online or use your shipping system to print out a shipping label and attach it to the crate. (20 minutes)
UPS will come to pick up your package on the designated day or time.
Upon receiving the package back at your facility you will need to unpack the crate (5 minutes) and refill the jack with hydraulic liquid (30 minutes)
That is a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes spent on shipping/receiving the jack; and that’s assuming everything goes smoothly. Also consider that this time investment is for a single axle jack. Most aircraft maintenance facilities will have about a dozen (or more) axle jacks meaning that you’re losing almost three days of labor managing the process.
FOR A TRIPOD JACK
Drain all the hydraulic liquid. Freight carriers will not ship your jack until this is complete. (30 minutes)
Get the overall weight and size dimensions of your jack; you will need this when you call to schedule the freight pickup (20 minutes)
Go online or call to get a freight quote and schedule pick up; you will need to plan ahead and schedule this a day or two in advance. (25 minutes)
Secure the jack to the pallet for shipping and ensure any additional carrier packing requirements are met (40 minutes)
Ensure proper labeling is completed per your carriers request and that a bill of lading has been completed. (20)
The freight carrier will pick up your package on the designated day or time.
Upon receiving the shipment back you will need to unpack it from the pallet (20) and replace the hydraulic fluid (30 minutes)
This is a total time of about 185 minutes (a little over three hours) spent on shipping and receiving for one jack. Again, most facilities will have a minimum of a dozen tripod jacks meaning that you’re losing nearly a week of labor every year managing the process.
Considering all of the above, on-site testing can save you a significant amount of time and hassle that is simply wasted on shipping and receiving activities that you could be spending on other more important activities. All you need to do is call the on-site calibration service provider, answer a few questions, and schedule a day for on-site service. The whole conversation may take 30 minutes at the very most (and this could be for service on every jack you own).
When they get to your location, the calibration technicians will take care of any fluid handling involved and eliminate any of the additional work for you in terms of scheduling, shipping, and packing/unpacking.
Time and labor is not the only factor that must be considered as you think about whether you want to choose on-site or off-site proof load testing services. You must also think about shipping costs, service costs, shipping time, etc.