Majority of aircraft jacks fall under the hydraulic category, however there are still a few scenarios where mechanical jacks are used. Mechanical aircraft jacks are mostly used for lighter smaller aircraft and operate on a screw jack principle, a rotational force used to raise the ram with use of a square thread. Hydraulic aircraft jacks operate on a hydraulic principle, which consists of hydraulic fluid, pistons or rams, cylinders, oil reservoirs, an operator and a remote device. Due to the complexity of this principle, hydraulic aircraft jacks require regular maintenance and often need to be repaired.
It is important to note, hydraulic jacks consist of a handful of components that work together to lift the aircraft. If one of these components is not properly working or is simply not working at all, it is essential to have your aircraft jack looked at by a professional.
One common malfunction that occurs with hydraulic jacks frequently is fluid leaking. This could happen for a manifold of reasons. This malfunction most likely occurs when the seal has been dislodged or worn out due to overuse. A seal may also fail due to damage from incorrect installation, chemical break down or utilization of the wrong fluid.
The second most common issue seen with hydraulic jacks is ram malfunctions and check ball failures. When a ram malfunctions, it is usually due to there not being enough fluid in the reservoir. When this happens, air builds up in the reservoir which prevents the jack from lifting. Check ball failures occur when the check ball is not properly seated. This will result in the jack not lifting up the weight it is meant to.
Lastly, structural damage of a jack is very common, especially in the legs of a jack. It is important to have these damages fixed promptly by a professional because damages to jack legs could lead to leveling issues and could cause the aircraft to fall off of the lift. This could lead to catastrophic consequences.
Regular maintenance to your aircraft jack is recommended to ensure little downtime and to prevent unnecessary damage caused by over use. Manufacturers recommend maintenance to be perform every 90 days and aircraft jack proof testing to be done every 12 months.
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