Air travel was a major part of the transportation network before the COVID pandemic and many expect it to bounce back fast now that the pandemic is nearing its end. What this means for airlines is to ready all those airplanes that were put into storage several months ago.
Here’s a quick look at the entire process that will see those airplanes flying again:
How They Got Stored
To fully understand what is happening, you have to know how they ended up in storage in the first place. Aircraft that are not in use usually end up in a storage site. Old aircraft also usually end up in these sites but they are then readied for dismantling. For planes that are intended to return to the skies, there are several procedures to consider. For one, there is the fact they need to be moored properly so that they don’t tip over in high winds. Most storage yards don’t have enough hangars to store them so they have to keep the planes on runways.
Besides that, there are also the preservation methods like removing the current oil inside and replacing it with preservative oil. There also might be parts that need to be taken out so that they don’t rust or degrade. Finally, a cover is placed over the entire aircraft to protect it from the elements. Additional covers are placed over various parts to further protect them from corrosion.
Bringing Them Back
When it is time to bring the planes back, several steps have to be taken. After all this, there needs to be some testing before they are given their CRS (Certificate to Release to Service). First of all, there needs to be the removal of covers and a check on everything. This is important because while airplanes are grounded, they make perfect homes for a variety of pests.
They might have crawled in and made a mess of things. A thorough cleaning is one of the first steps in reactivating any aircraft. Fortunately, a lot of the shutdown airplanes were expected to come back into service again soon. This meant that maintenance staff was coming in and cleaning the aircraft so they were in decent shape. But there is still a lot of work to do.
Returning The Essentials
One of the more important things that need to happen is that some internals has to be returned. When they were mothballed some parts were pulled out. The most important of these were the engines but they were not the only things removed. Electronics and other essential equipment were taken out. Even hardy equipment with an AS9100 PCB can be damaged if left alone for a long time. The main part of restoring an airplane is getting all these back in and connected. It’s pretty much reassembling an entire plane, with the chassis still in place.
Airing Them Out
If you ever entered a house that has not had any people in it for a long time, then you should be familiar with the stuffy atmosphere of stale air. This is the same for aircraft. After storage, a passenger aircraft will feel full of bad air if it goes into service. Additionally, items inside will smell bad. This is where airing out the aircraft is important. Full cleaning and applying some air freshener can help a lot. Besides that, letting the air circulate with the ventilation system can bring fresh air into the aircraft and have it ready to fly.
Flying allows for easy travel all over the world. Without it, a lot of the tourism industry would be severely limited. Additionally, business connections would also be limited without their presence. It is reassuring that we will soon see planes flying again.