Tech Tip: On Heat and Maintenance Accuracy

July 19, 2012
Getting the temperature down will go a long way in getting the job done correctly.

The shop is full and you just got an ELT install that “just has to be done before I take it on vacation Friday.” The summer temps on the ramp means the installer will be guaranteed miserable while fitting the unit and the wiring in the aircraft. He/she’ll be trying to run wires with sweat running into the eyes and hurrying up to get those screw holes drilled.  Hurrying causes mistakes and mistakes cause more problems.

The solution? Get that cabin and/or tailcone area cooled off. And you don’t need to have a huge budget or special tools to do it … and it works great in the desert heat or humid tropics.

To make this, pick up a cheap cart from the local discount tool store, then run down to your appliance dealer/discount center to pick up the smallest, cheapest window air-conditioning unit you can find. Then run by the local home hardware store for a dryer vent (or any other) line and an adapter plate that can be screwed into the box you’ll build. 

After returning to the shop (or take the pictures to your local sheet metal fabricator), build an adapter similar to the one shown. For very cheap, you can put together one or more of these air-conditioning units to cool off aircraft … and with sufficient hose they can stand back at a distance from the work to ensure they are kept a safe distance from the aircraft. 

One of the most aggravating aspects of working in an aircraft is the discomfort of being crammed into a small space — and then compounding it with heat. Excess heat can not only make mistakes possible because of people trying to hurry through a job, it also can cause health issues for mechanics if they don’t keep on top of hydrating themselves and taking breaks often. While cramped spaces can’t be changed much, getting the temperature down will go a long way in getting the job done correctly. The small investment is well worth the benefits.

About the Author

Clint Lowe

Clint Lowe holds an FAA Airframe and Powerplant certificate with Inspection Authorization and a Commercial Pilot certificate with instrument and multi engine ratings. Clint has spent most of his aviation career with the United States Air Force and Air National Guard in a variety of roles including maintenance, safety, training, oversight, and accident investigation. He has owned and maintained several aircraft and had a Part 135 air freight business for several years running bank checks. In 2007 he received the Maintenance Group Senior NCO of the Year Award. He currently is a Quality Assurance Inspector/Quality Assurance Representative with the North Dakota Air National Guard in Fargo, ND.