There is no way to tell if your hydraulic aircraft jack can withstand the force it was built to withstand until it’s too late, or after proof load testing it. This can create a lot of problems when you think about it. For example, what if you lift a plane up on the jack and as you’re working on it, the jack leaks. Now it may not have the power you need to get the plane back on the ground safely.
There are many factors that can impact the performance of your hydraulic aircraft jack, but the most common issues have to do with leaks in the hydraulic system.
For example, a seal can go bad, contamination (especially rust) can cause imperfections in the cylinder, a check ball valve may not be seating correctly, and other issues can cause hydraulic fluid to leak which in turn can lead to underperformance or complete failure of the jack.
Outside of issues with hydraulics, structural damage caused by misuse or mishandling can also cause equipment to lose integrity. For example, a dented leg on a tripod jack could easily collapse when being used to lift a plane, which could result in physical harm to maintenance crew members or the aircraft being worked on.
For all of these reasons, regular proof load testing is recommended by the companies who manufacture these tools.These tests verify that the exterior and interior components of the jack comply with specifications of the manufacturer to reduce the risk of equipment failure like those examples given above.
Further, practicing regular hydraulic aircraft jack maintenance and testing increases your value as a high quality provider of aircraft maintenance services. This can be a major value-add to your internal quality assurance program and customer peace of mind.
Additional benefits of aircraft jack proof load testing include:
What do you do when you find out the jack need repaired?
Read our guide to find out.