As airlines continue to move towards nearly 24/7 operations, the demand placed upon aircraft will continue to grow, with most expected to fly over 3-4 times per day. In order for these vessels to remain in a serviceable condition throughout their long days, it is necessary for them to undergo quick yet thorough ground servicing between flights. This service is supported by a catalog of ground service equipment, which comprises handheld or larger tools that serve several roles in the maintenance of the plane. Of this equipment, one of the most instrumental in preventing aircraft damage is the jack. Aircraft jacks perform the critical task of lifting the vessel off the ground to help facilitate maintenance. In this blog, we will discuss the four most common types of aircraft jacks and in what circumstances they should be used.
Most jack designs are named after the number of legs they contain. The tripod is the most popular due to its stability and ease of use. Tripod jacks are hydraulic-powered pieces of equipment consisting of three legs and a pump. Although the assembly is capable of lifting immense weights, it is important to only perform operations on flat ground since any incline would cause a significant enough perpendicular force to damage the hydraulic actuator.
Depending on the type of aircraft being operated upon, customers may either choose a fixed or variable-height jack. A fixed-height jack has legs that are fabricated at a particular height and cannot be raised or lowered to fit the needs of varying planes. On the other hand, variable height jacks come with adjustable legs, enabling their use in a wide variety of aircraft types. As a result, most standalone operators of a single aircraft will choose a compatible fixed-height unit, whereas MRO facilities and larger operators will elect for one with a variable height.
Although similar in design and function to tripod jacks, the bipod design is capable of sustaining angular tilt up to 6 degrees. This is enabled by an adjustable leg, which helps to steady the assembly during a tilt, and a fixed leg which remains in place during the entire operation.
The quadrupod jack is the most capable and expensive of the frame-raising jacks. Using the same design principles as the bipod model, this device is compatible with incline lifts. In fact, quadrupods jacks are even more stable thanks to their additional two legs.
Unlike the other three designs, which raise the aircraft as a whole to enable widespread repair, axle jacks are explicitly designed to support the wheels only. In many cases, only a single or series of components require attention in the wheels or brakes, and it would be inefficient to raise the entire aircraft off the ground. Axle jacks are generally smaller and may be handheld, horseshoe, or outrigger in design. In most instances, the hydraulic-powered handheld jack is chosen due to its price and lightweight nature. However, if the aircraft is heavier, the application may call for a two-speed outrigger axle jack.
Regardless of the aircraft jack your application calls for, Hardware and Fasteners has you covered with an expansive inventory, rapid lead times, and significant price savings. Owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we give customers direct access to an inventory of over 2 billion ready-to-purchase items for the civil and defense aviation industries. In order to ensure high-quality distribution, we regularly subject our inventory to various inspections, helping screen for any potential issues before shipping. Browse our numerous part catalogs at your leisure or use our powerful search engine to find the exact component you need, and keep in mind that you may begin the purchasing process at any time using our Instant RFQ form.
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