NEWS | Feb. 11, 2020

Aviation: Don’t Freelance; Follow the TM

Soldier working on Chinook rotor head section
Photo by Charles Rosemond

The right tools, time, place and approach to preventive maintenance services (PMS) for your aircraft and preventive maintenance checks and services (PMCS) for your aviation ground support equipment (AGSE) begins and ends with TMs. No maintenance should ever be done by the seat of your pants or as you see fit.  That’s a no-brainer.

Anytime maintenance takes place, always consult your TMs for the right tools. When it comes to the right time, some procedures require you to do daily, weekly and monthly inspections. That means you have to use your TMs regularly. And, of course, doing maintenance in the right place is not so much about location as it is about performing tasks safely. You stay safe by following all of the TM’s warnings, cautions and notes.

Mechanics, whenever you remove or disassemble a part, the right approach is to not get overzealous with maintenance. Only do what the TM says and not what you think on a whim. For example, overthinking maintenance can happen when you anticipate when a part or component might fail and then replace it when it’s still a perfectly good part. Mechanics who do that are guilty of over-maintenance.

Over-maintenance wastes time, money and effort by replacing serviceable parts. For example, if you remove a wheel so you can service wheel bearings, don’t replace the brake pads unless it’s necessary. There’s no need to replace brake pads if there’s nothing wrong with them. 

Or suppose you have seals that aren’t leaking. The aircraft is in for scheduled maintenance, so should you replace ‘em now? Nope! That’s over-maintenance again.

It’s best to always follow your TM’s inspection and service intervals. Don’t replace anything unless the TM requires it or the part is truly unserviceable.
It is also best, when in doubt, to consult your quality control folks. They have access to many maintenance guidance tools. And you should always check the latest safety messages and technical bulletins.
If a TM procedure is wrong, that’s the time to fill out a DA Form 2028, Recommended Changes to Publications and Blank Forms. Then the TM can be corrected.