A lot of people feel nervous as they walk down the boarding ramp to catch their flight. In fact, up to 25 percent of Americans experience some fear of flying and will spend their trip across the sky with a white knuckle grip on their armrests. Nearly all of them will find that their fears are unfounded, arriving safely at their destinations with a few concerned looks from the cabin crew being the worst that happens during the flight. Flying is, after all, the safest way to travel, and it is truly amazing when you stop to think about it.
A jetliner flies between 30,000 and 45,000 feet at speeds in excess of 500 miles per hour. It is powered by engines that spin at speeds between 10,000 and 25,000 revolutions per minute, with exhaust heated to around 1,650°F. That air travel can be regarded as safe—let alone the safest way to travel—is a testament to the quality of aircraft engineering, the reliability and care taken with aircraft repair, and the tools that these repairs are made with. Aircraft repair is completed by attaching every tiny piece exactly as directed and tightening every bolt exactly as specified. It requires experience on the part of aircraft maintenance technicians and tools that allow them precise control over the aircraft components and the forces holding those components together.
Why Precision Engineering and Control Matter for Aircraft Repair
The sheer power and speed of jet engines make for an incredible amount of force and an incredible amount of vibration on every part of an aircraft. Added onto this is the friction that comes from moving at high speeds and the stress of pressure changes as the aircraft moves from ground level to heights where the air is too thin to breathe. Any loose or damaged fastener has the potential to come free. Given the level of forces involved, the hostility of the environment, and the height above the ground, any loose fastener can cause a catastrophe. A screw, nut, or bolt in an aircraft’s engine, wing, or airframe must hold, and it must do so over the entire maintenance cycle of the aircraft.
The force that holds fasteners in place high in the troposphere —and occasionally in the stratosphere—is torque. Torque is simply the measure of radial force exerted on a fastener like a screw or bolt. It is measured by multiplying the force applied by its distance from the application point. The turning of the fastener creates tension along the shaft of the fastener that holds the fastener and substrate together. It is torque that determines whether a fastener will hold.
If too little torque is applied, then the fastener holding a vital component like a fuel line can vibrate loose, causing terrible consequences for the aircraft. Alternatively, if too much torque is applied, the fastener or the substrate can be damaged. The fastener can shear through or the substrate can crack when exposed to the stress caused by vibration, pressure changes, or friction. In aircraft especially, fastener torque must be exactly as specified, and the choice of tools used to turn those fasteners makes all the difference.
Choosing the Best Torque Tools for Safe and Reliable Aircraft Repair
The fasteners used for aircraft repair are carefully accounted for when the aircraft is designed and engineered. Their weight, material strength, and the material’s possible interaction with metals are all taken into consideration during design and testing. Aircraft torque bolt charts demonstrate the factors that must be accounted for. The torque required to hold it in place throughout aircraft operations until the next scheduled maintenance cycle is carefully calculated and is generally provided in the aircraft’s maintenance manual concerning the relevant process. It is absolutely vital to use the correct fasteners and tighten exactly as specified during aircraft repair. This can only be accomplished with precision torque tools like torque wrenches, torque screwdrivers, and power assembly tools.
Inside jet engines, where space is limited, torque wrenches with ratchet heads allow fasteners to be turned with a reciprocating motion that doesn’t require much clearance. Click wrenches are a common type of socket torque wrench that derives its name from the click it emits when the torque limit is reached. However, there is nothing that actively prevents the user from exceeding the torque limit. Cam-over torque wrenches disengage and spin free at the set torque limit, and an adjustable cam-over torque wrench is a foolproof way to ensure that the fasteners on jet engines are tightened exactly to spec. Smaller adjustable torque screwdrivers are an excellent choice for the smaller screws that hold fuel lines to a jet engine’s housing, and the smaller fasteners that attach some actuators. They also have a cam-over design that prevents over torquing.
The more robust and numerous bolts that hold housings together, like those that attach the starters and gearboxes to the engine, may best be turned with powered torque tools. Air screwdrivers provide faster fastening and more power to turn heavy-duty bolts. When the set torque limit is reached, the air supply is shut off to prevent over-torque conditions. Air screwdrivers can speed up the fastening times for heavy-duty fasteners in aircraft repair without sacrificing safety. Given the stresses that aircraft go through, the fasteners should be checked and double-checked as repairs are completed, and dial torque wrenches allow repair shop chiefs to check fastener torque before signing off on repair completion.
High-quality torque tools are fundamental to safe aircraft repair. They ensure that the engine delivers thrust when the aircraft is high in the sky and that the ailerons are set to the precise angle needed for a safe landing. Without the ability to ensure that every fastener in the airframe and the engine is set to precisely engineered specifications, flying wouldn’t be the safest form of travel. Safe aircraft repair and safe travel, therefore, demands precision torque tools that tighten fasteners exactly to specifications.
Mountz, Inc. understands the importance of precision in aircraft repair. That’s why we offer a full range of top tier torque tools that are carefully calibrated for precision you can rely on. To see all of our products, shop our store. Contact us anytime to ask a question. To inquire about price, request a quote. If you’d like to see our equipment in person, schedule an appointment.