Monday, October 28, 2013

The Thoughts Behind Making An Aircraft Ladder

By Cornelia Reyes

Whenever people are faced with a slight delay at an airport they often watch what is going on outside at the flight line. The plane's parked there seem huge when compared to those people who are outside working on them. There are simple things such as the lights on the tips of the wings which do fail at times. They are not as easy to change as the lights on your car, but to gain access to these lights an engineer will make use of an aircraft ladder.

Even the most casual of glances will show that the planes are of varying sizes. As a consequence the maintainers have to get access to a lot of different heights in the course of their working day. To help with these requirements the designers and makers have made the various steps and platforms adjustable. They have also created different designs which are more suited for several tasks.

Take a refuelling platform for example. These will come with their own hoses attached as part of the design. The platform will be positioned underneath the belly of the plane, and then adjusted to the correct height. The integral fuel lines can now be connected to the plane's refuelling point. The fuel tanker can be connected to the other end of the fuel lines, normally positioned at the bottom of the steps.

The whole construction is normally made from aluminium. This is to prevent any sparks should anything be dropped on it. It also makes it much easier for people to move on their own.

The more observant would notice a small strap linking the base of the platform to the ground, this is a bonding strap. The purpose of this is to ensure that everything is at the same earth level, and stops static electricity being generated. Many will have been on the receiving end of a static shock when getting out of a car. Therefore it is easy to understand why it is not required during fueling operations.

The platform's chassis is on hard wearing rubber wheels. This helps make it very manoeuvrable in confined spaces. When the platform is correctly positioned the brakes can be engaged. On some designs there are also stabilizing legs, these can be screwed down into position. At the same time this is happening the wheel are also being lifted clear from the ground. This helps to make for a very stable work area.

With its versatility this refuelling platform is also perfect for other tasks and functions. Consider those wing tip lights which were mentioned earlier. Using the adjustable height facility this platform provides, a maintainer can now quite easily get to the correct height to change the blown lamps.

As with any aircraft ladder a great deal of thought has gone into designing it. The most important concern is always the safety of anyone using it, closely followed by making it versatile and adaptable. Next time you find yourself at an airport you will now have more of an understanding about what is happening down on the flight line as they wheel these bits and pieces round.

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