From time to time, companies will be faced with warranty claims outside of the warranty period from people who try to justify the claim by stating “but I didn’t use it”. Is this a valid claim?
For whatever reason, many people in the aviation industry do not relate some real world factors and principles when it comes to addressing aircraft and aircraft parts. While most every-day consumer related industries do not have the rules and regulations that exist in the aviation world, some factors are universal no matter what you are selling or what market sector you cater to.
Question: Would you leave a car in a garage for let’s say 1 or 2 years, hop into it, and expect it to run like new? Most likely it wouldn’t even start due to the battery let alone run properly after not moving for that long.
It would probably be safe to argue that nothing with moving parts should sit motionless for too long without affecting its eventual operation. Things with moving parts are designed to…well…MOVE.
Aircraft parts with moving parts such as electromechanical gyros, starters, generators, pumps, etc are designed to perform a function with assemblies of moving parts in most cases. Those moving parts are housed, treated, and conditioned in certain ways to ensure proper operation. Even electronic components using electrolytic capacitors have a limited life span. If left unused, the capacitors can deteriorate without connecting them to a voltage source.
Thus, manufacturers have specific standards and procedures for maintaining functionality of the item such as lubricating parts, cleaning, alignments and other adjustments. Storing parts for long periods of time without some attention to them every now and then can create problems down the road.
Remember that car in the garage?
What happens when you don’t start it or drive it for a long time? A few things come to mind such as dead battery, fuel turning bad, flat spots in the tires, and possibly even a seized engine with no oil running through it?
Are aircraft parts any different?
Well, obviously aircraft parts are not cars but they are machines of a certain type. No, you cannot let certain parts remain unused for too long.
Most, if not all manufacturers, have not only recommended maintenance procedures but recommendations for storage of a part as well.
If you choose not to follow these guidelines, then your odds of eventually turning on a part that does not work increase greatly.