Keeping planes and helicopters in perfect order is just as much work as learning to skillfully fly one. These complex machines require a lot of training and dedication to maintain. Unsurprisingly, these highly specialized pieces of technology also require a few specific, quirky inventions. There are three interesting tools used in aviation maintenance that the average person wouldn’t immediately recognize.
The speed handle is one of the most useful tools in the aviation mechanic’s arsenal. It serves the same purpose as a regular wrench by loosening or tightening screws. As the name suggests, it does so quickly and is faster to use than a common tool. Mechanics can use it with only one hand, making it ideal for multitasking.
However, the most important detail is its long and ungainly shape. While it might be better than a normal wrench, the odd shape would make it awkward outside of aviation. The long and thin design is made specifically for getting at hard-to-reach screws or ones in spaces where a standard wrench would not fit.
To understand what’s wrong with any plane, mechanics must diagnose it. Flying vehicles much more streamlined and compact than cars and trucks. That means that many areas within planes are tough to reach. Rather than dismantling the whole machine to look around, mechanics use a variety of borescopes.
The most common type is a fiber optic borescope which features a camera mounted to a cord. Mechanics can insert the cord anywhere in a machine and explore even the tightest spaces, including sections inside the housing or around corners.
Magnets and extendable arms are a few other interesting tools used in aviation maintenance. During flight, every part must be stable. Loose pieces could pose a serious threat if left to rattle around inside a plane. Mechanics can retrieve loose materials or pieces that fall inside the housing using a magnet. Some magnets even feature telescoping grips, making them easy to insert into tight spaces.
They are useful for cleaning up areas where welding and metalwork may have produced shavings inside a casing. They are also essential for little slipups like dropping a screw. And a magnet on a thin rod is a must-have tool to remove parts loosened using a speed handle.