LONDON, 7 June 2012. Leaders of aircraft maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) expert Monarch Aircraft Engineering Ltd. in London completed a C Check on an Airbus A330-based Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) managed by AirTanker Services Ltd. in Carterton, England. Monarch technicians did the FSTA C Check at Manchester Airport in Manchester, England.
The FSTA is a British project to buy aerial refueling and air transport aircraft for the British Royal Air Force (RAF) to replace old mid-air-refueling aircraft based on the Vickers VC10 and Lockheed L-1011 Tri Star aircraft.
AirTanker Services was awarded a 27-year FSTA contract by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MOD) in 2008. The contract calls for AirTanker to provide 14 new A330 aircraft converted to air-to-air refueling and air transport capability. AirTanker is owned by Cobham plc, EADS, Rolls-Royce plc, Thales UK, and VT Group plc.
Aircraft maintenance checks are periodic inspections for commercial, general-aviation, and military aircraft. Commercial and general-aviation aircraft operators follow inspection programs approved by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or by other airworthiness authorities such as Transport Canada or the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
C Checks are done about every 15 to 21 months, take the aircraft out of service, and go over the entire aircraft. The C Check usually takes one or two weeks and as much as 6,000 man hours of maintenance work.
An A Check, by contrast, happens about every 500 to 800 flight hours, and requires about 20 man-hours of maintenance done overnight at an airport gate. B Checks are done about every four to six months and require about 150 man-hours of maintenance work done over one to three days at an airport hangar.
D Checks are the most comprehensive and demanding aircraft inspections, and also are known as heavy-maintenance visits (HMVs). The D Check happens about ever five or six years, and essentially takes the entire airplane apart for inspection and overhaul. Paint often is removed for close inspection of the fuselage metal skin. D checks usually take about 40,000 man-hours of maintenance work, and can take as long as two months.
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