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Work at Height Solutions for Aviation Service Technicians

Explore OSHA 1910, AFOSH and ANSI Z359 compliant solutions for commercial, corporate, aircraft manufacturers and military hangars.

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Published on: April 23, 2024

Commercial jets cruise at about 35,000 feet above the earth, and passengers are knowingly comfortable—unless stuck in the middle seat—of landing safe and sound. Military aircraft soar even higher into the “Wild Blue Yonder” at unprecedented speeds because the pilots are the most skilled on the planet. So, what is the major risk of an accident in the aviation industry?

When the plane is on the ground.

Air travel is safe in great part due to the extraordinary efforts of expert technicians who inspect, maintain, and repair airplanes at all hours. The service crew must access aircraft from above, below, and all around, and a fall can result in a serious injury or even a fatality. As important as it is for airlines to ensure the safety of flight crews and passengers, the safety of workers taking care of the aircraft is also paramount.

The challenges to keep fear out of flying.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has a long list of inspections and maintenance/repair regulations to ensure the aircraft’s airworthiness. Tasks can take place at the gate with pre-flight visual inspections for wear, damage, and malfunctions or in a hangar for scheduled maintenance to engines, landing gear, and structural checks based on flight hours, time in service, and other factors.

Deicing, electrical outages and other unscheduled maintenance, routine inspections, component replacement, corrosion control, avionics checks, and major overalls are all factored into the requirements to ensure the safety and reliability of aircraft.

Commercial airlines are challenged to meet the growing demand for air travel and the demands of their customers to keep planes running on schedule. Military aircraft—from fighter jets and bombers to troop transports and helicopters—come in all shapes and sizes and must be ready for takeoff at a moment’s notice. Corporate aviation also brings small to large aircraft into the fold with widely varying flight schedules.

Aviation maintenance requires precision, efficiency, and safety. Overhead track systems and maintenance platforms enable service technicians to perform their vital tasks safely and productively.

Above the fold with rigid rail systems.

Overhead rigid rail track systems provide an essential type of fall protection in aircraft hangars, enabling technicians to perform tasks hands-free from above the plane. A track or series of tracks is installed along the ceiling, allowing for attaching a harness and self-retracting lifeline. It is superior to cable systems because it will arrest a fall in a much shorter distance. Structural components are hot-dipped galvanized steel for strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. An enclosed track plus PTFE wheels with sealed bearings result in virtually maintenance-free operation.

The rigid rail design provides stability and reliability and can withstand the dynamic forces generated during a fall arrest event. Systems can be customized to suit each hangar’s specific layout and requirements—incorporating curves and intersections—to accommodate different aircraft configurations and maintenance tasks. Multi-track systems have bypass capability for multiple users to work efficiently. Rigid rail systems can be expanded and modified if layout and maintenance requirements change.

More “overhead” for more protection.

Two other types of overhead fall protection systems are ideal for the aviation industry:

Bridge-style tracks can be positioned anywhere along the runway to service different aircraft types in various parked positions. They can span up to 50 ft. and accommodate multiple users.

Overhead horizontal lifelines are easy to customize. Single-span systems protect up to three users over a length of up to 200 ft. Multi-span systems are designed for horizontal, inclined, curved, and vertical requirements.

Take a stand for maintenance.

Aviation maintenance stands with elevated work platforms are an ergonomic way to optimize access to all areas around the body of all types of planes. They can be designed for rotor, fixed-wing, commercial, and military aircraft. This flexibility enhances productivity and reduces the likelihood of overreaching or working in awkward postures, mitigating the risk of injuries.

OSHA-compliant, modular work stands are constructed of pipe-fitted frames, supports, and guardrails that can be lightweight aluminum or galvanized steel for strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. Steps and platform floors are anti-slip, anti-bounce, and self-draining. The access stair systems are also self-leveling.

Maintenance stands can be outfitted with heavy-duty locking casters for station-to-station mobility, adjustable height platforms for maximum versatility, and connections for electricity, water, and shop air.

Which solution is best for you?

If you work in the aviation and aircraft industry and are responsible for worker safety, contact Flexible Lifeline Systems. We can discuss your needs and concerns about regulatory compliance, visit your site to conduct a safety audit and map out a plan. Our services can include as little or as much as you need, from design, engineering, and fabrication to installation, training, and other support.

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