Across the world, twelve ton jets ascend to our skies hourly transporting our colleagues, our friends and our families. Helicopters maneuver the skies to provide traffic reports, medical evacuations, rescue operations and tourist excursions. Safety is key for any helicopter and airplane that fly across the skies. At the forefront of ensuring aircraft safety is maintained are aircraft mechanics that perform routine safety checks and maintenance programs.
Since helicopters have a lot of moving parts as compared to airplanes, there are more parts that could potentially malfunction. A helicopter has key parts that are in constant motion like gearboxes and rotors. Parts tend to wear out more quickly.
Maverick Helicopters is a tourism-based aviation company located in Las Vegas, along with additional operations in Henderson (Nevada), the Grand Canyon and Maui. Plus a new location in Kaui. The company currently has over 40 helicopters and a few fixed wing aircraft. Maverick Helicopters flies passengers around these beautiful destinations. The company has the top safety record of any tourism-based aviation company in the world and an ongoing commitment to safety.
Since Maverick’s helicopters are deemed as “aircraft for hire” service, the FAA requires the aircraft to be disassembled and inspected every 150 hours of flight time. The amount of flight time determines the level of disassembly, cleaning, inspection and reassembly required. Many of the parts on these helicopters are “service life limited,” which means after a helicopter achieves a certain amount of flight hours, the parts are discarded, regardless of its condition.
Every single bolt, nut and screw on these helicopters has a torque value. There are literally thousands of bolts and nuts. Every bolt and nut is torqued, and then a safety wire or cotter pin is placed. To apply torque to a bolt, the process requires three people. One mechanic sets the torque value on the click wrench and then the wrench is shown to the second mechanic. The second mechanic verifies the torque value is correct and then has to physically watch the wrench “click” and stays there until it is safety wired or cotter pinned. The third mechanic inspects the finished part that was completed. A simple mistake by one of the mechanics would be catastrophic. Every mechanic that works on the helicopter has to be a FAA licensed airframe and power plant mechanic with a helicopter certificate.
Maverick Helicopters uses the award winning EPT click wrenches by Mountz during the routine maintenance processes of servicing their helicopters. The EPT is an adjustable click wrench that provides different setting options for applications that require more than one torque value. The adjustable wrench features an external adjustment torque scale, which allows an operator to adjust the torque setting on the tool as needed. The EPT wrench offers an easy-to-read dual scale system (American & S.I.) with a laser marked scale along the body tube section of the wrench. Designed with durable all-steel construction and a corrosion-resistant finish, these metal handle click wrenches are suitable for various maintenance and assembly torque applications.
“All helicopter service stations need Mountz wrenches instead of using either Snap On or Matco wrenches, which are inferior quality and triple the price.” said David Burgess, Mechanic Technician, of Maverick Helicopters. “Our torque range is from about 31 inch pounds up to about 1100 inch pounds, on some of the bigger bolts on the main rotor. The Mountz torque wrenches are working great and everyone is very happy with them.”
Using a quality torque wrench makes a safer world through accuracy and precision. Controlling torque is essential for companies to ensure their product’s quality, safety and reliability isn’t compromised. The failure of a three-cent fastener that isn’t properly tightened can lead to catastrophic or latent failures. Fasteners that are insufficiently fastened can vibrate loose and excessive torque can strip threaded fasteners.