Ground support equipment (GSE) is used to provide support to aircraft maintenance. This equipment are used to service aircraft between flights. As the name suggests, the equipment are utilized to support the operations of aircraft while it is on the ground. The responsibilities of ground support equipment personnel involve aircraft mobility, passenger/cargo loading operations and ground power operations.
Activities carried out during a usual aircraft gate time interval include potable water storage, aircraft refueling, fuselage and engine examination, and maintenance. To complete these processes, various equipment are used; some of the procedures and related equipment are mentioned in this article.
Hydraulic Jacks: Maintenance of wheels, tires, struts and brakes requires part or the full aircraft need to be lifted off the deck. Also to test operations of landing gear, entire aircraft needs to be lifted. Hydraulic jacks allow engineers to lift the entire aircraft. One of the common examples of hydraulic jacks is aircraft axle.
Aircraft Axle Jacks: The aircraft axle jacks are self-contained, portable and hydraulically operated unit. To perform maintenance operations, these jacks are used to lift landing gear wheels off the deck. A component of the base of the jack, the lift consist of 3 rams and an outer cylinder. A welded rectangular tank to the base forms fluid reservoir.
Aircraft often requires the use of maintenance platform. Depending upon the type of aircraft, maintenance platforms are of different models. Commonly used maintenance platforms are B-2 maintenance platform and B-4 maintenance platform.
Oxygen Servicing Unit
Oxygen servicing unit is used to refill emergency bailout oxygen cylinders and oxygen storage cylinders that are installed in the aircraft. The unit consists of oxygen module, 3 cylinders of gas and nitrogen module. An oxygen cylinder is used for servicing and other 2 cylinders of nitrogen are used to drive boost pump.
Nitrogen Servicing Unit
The unit, a mobile source of nitrogen provides nitrogen to refill aircraft nitrogen system. The unit consist of welded steel frame, a front retractable caster wheel, two-wheel axle, draw bar coupler ring for towing, six compressed gas cylinders, tool and storage boxes, and a manual hand brake. It is also equipped with boost pump that helps to boost nitrogen supply pressure to maximum of 3,500 psi. The nitrogen under pressure is transferred to the aircraft via series of gauges, manifolds, pressure regulator, hoses, valves and filters.
Mobile Air-conditioning Units
Modern aircrafts are installed with electronic equipment that generates tremendous amount of heat and provides required air conditioning in the air as well as on the ground. Air conditioning system is generally fixed on onboard system however, aircraft engines must be operating for the system work. Electronic equipment must run for long period of time for calibration, testing and maintenance purpose. Thereby, mobile air-conditioning units are required.
There are number of equipment that are used for aircraft maintenance. Aforementioned equipment are some of the key units that are necessary for every aircraft. Hydraulics jacks plays an important role for maintaining tires, brakes and struts. Oxygen and nitrogen cylinders are also essential unit to refill the cylinders installed in the aircraft.
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