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Condition Based Maintenance Vs. Phase Based Maintenance

1549 words - 7 pages

There is an increasing desire for the implementation of condition based maintenance programs to replace the traditional hour based maintenance on Military rotor wing aircraft. There are several advantages and disadvantages to this type of maintenance. The purpose of this paper is to discuss both and the affect that they play in regards to the organizational behavior of a business. There are distinct advantages in regards to cost when we talk about condition based maintenance. Replacing a part only when it is likely to fail saves the cost of replacement at a possible earlier time like in a phase based program, or catching a part that might have failed prior to the required ...view middle of the document...

First is a PMD or “Preventative Maintenance Daily”, these checks take place at the end of the day after the helicopter is done flying or every seven days if the helicopter hasn’t been flying. Second is the PMS or “Preventative maintenance services” are required to be done every 40 flight hours, consuming about 15 to 20 man hours and can be accomplished in one day with two maintainers. Third is the120 flight hour inspection which takes two to three days and checks for critical vibrations of the engine high speed shafts, tail rotor and cooling fan. Lastly is the PMI or Phase Maintenance Inspection which is accomplished every 360 flight hours. There are also smaller inspections like gearbox oil samples taken on an hour requirement to determine the health of the gearboxes, 30 day engine wash to minimize coking and maintain engine performance, 90 day corrosion check.
Nearly all components are replaced when they are found to show signs of wear, fatigue, or cracks indicating impending failure of the component. These are usually detected by maintenance personnel during scheduled inspections or found when the helicopter does not perform correctly. Other components are replaced based on a manufacturer’s predicted failure time, or Time Between Overhaul (TBO). As you can see the traditional Phase maintenance program is extremely in-depth and costly for the continued operation of advanced aircraft such as the UH-60 Blackhawk. With all this required maintenance are the maintenance crews and supervisors that are required to ensure proper implementation of the Phase maintenance program along with quality control to ensure that the work is being completed correctly.
There are two significant draw backs with this maintenance system. One is that TBO’s are projected failure times established by engineers based on science but not perfect. An example of this happened several years ago at my facility. We had am AH-64D taxing in after a flight, when the rotor system at 100% RPMR fell forward into the cockpit, taking the life of the front seat pilot and permanently disabling the back seat pilot. At the conclusion of the safety investigation, it was found that the metal in the main mast failed and the rotor system fell forward. This mast was found to have 15,000 flight hours on it and was the oldest in the Army inventory. With that said, the manufacturer had determined a life expectancy of 30,000 flight hours. The second downfall is regarding the effects on mission readiness. If an aircraft reaches its 250 hour inspection point, it is pulled off the flight line, cowlings and panels removed, and sometimes the component itself is removed from the airframe to complete the procedure, creating a high demand on maintenance personnel and artificially inflating the number of man-hours expended.
Now we think about CBM “Condition Based Maintenance”, where you can fix or replace a part before it fails and the ability to determine how much more running time you have on a...

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