Whether your aircraft jack is hydraulic or mechanical, it is always essential to check and ensure the jack is not damaged or wrongly calibrated before and after each use. When a jack is damaged or inadequately measured, the aviation technician, along with all other neighboring workers and the environment around the aircraft, are in a significant amount of danger. Aircraft jacks are responsible for holding up an average of 490 tons. If the jack is not operating properly, there is a high risk for the aircraft to fall from the prop leading to damages of the hanger where the maintenance is taking place, damages to the aircraft itself, and injuries to those surrounding the aircraft – possible life or death situations if an aviation technician is under the aircraft. These hazardous situations can be avoided if careful and proper jacking procedures are followed.
FIVE TIPS FOR ENSURING SAFE JACK HANDLING
- Check the jack before and after each use. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- Never return a damaged jack back to storage. If a jack is damaged, it should be properly set aside and marked so that other aviation technicians are aware of the defect.
- When storing a jack, ensure that it is standing upright with the ram/rack/screw/journal lowered to protect from damage in storage. The levers, handles and tommy bars should be stored separately.
- When handling a jack, be sure to never raise the load higher than necessary or over extend the jack. This could cause damage to the equipment.
- Jacks should undergo regular inspection, maintenance and calibration. These three steps ensure the equipment is working properly and adequately.
OTHER JACK SAFETY PROCEDURES TO REMEMBER
Before raising an aircraft, an overall inspection of the jack, the aircraft and the environment should be completed. This inspection should determine if there are any hazards to the aircraft or the personnel. When inspecting the jack, it is important to check the lifting capacity, the functionality of the safety locks, the condition of the pins and the overall serviceability. The jack should always be placed under the aircraft’s designated jacking points and an alignment check should always be made before raising the aircraft. Misalignment is the most common reason for accidents during the jacking of an aircraft. The head of the jack should be in full contact with the jacking pad to ensure proper distribution. Before raising the aircraft, it is very important to ensure that the floor, along with the aircraft, are level and that there is no potential for overloading. When an aircraft is raised, the area surrounding the aircraft should be secured and no personnel should work or climb on the load.