Despite being an essential component of an aircraft, engine mounts are frequently underappreciated and underrated. While overlooked, engine mounts are actually a sophisticated part of achieving proper aircraft operation. That being said, we will provide a brief overview of why these seemingly fragile mechanical components are important.
Apart from holding the engine to the airframe, engine mounts are sturdy enough to balance the engine’s weight according to varying torque prerequisites. They also play a vital role in suppressing an engine’s vibrations by distributing them evenly through the whole aircraft body. Keep in mind that excessive engine vibration is a significant problem in aviation today. Thus, a well-installed engine mount can ensure a smooth, quiver-free flight.
While aircraft enthusiasts dedicate time to learning safe flight techniques and basic aircraft maintenance, there is little effort devoted to understanding the adverse impacts of faulty or incorrectly installed engine mounts. Regardless of the fact that aircraft engine mounts are constructed from highly durable and robust polymers and/or metals, improper installation on a weak stringer can diminish any of its advantageous qualities. Instead of minimizing vibrations, the risk of potential transmission failure is heightened.
Not only does misalignment lead to premature damage in a wide range of internal components, it can also make a perfectly airworthy plane unstable. Keep in mind that aircraft are not like cars, where slight misalignments can be remedied and do not pose any major dangers to passengers. On aircraft, negligence like this can prove fatal. To avoid such problems, the engine mount should always have ample support, and if the stringer seems weak, a solid bracket must be built to minimize flexing and potential transmission failure.
Although the engine and aircraft exhaust system are considered crucial for flight safety, this does not mean the rest of the components are unimportant and do not require the same amount of attention. Because the mount holds the engine in place, it undergoes an array of stressors from the rough operations of the engine. With this in mind, it necessitates a routine amount of maintenance, repairs, and replacements.
As previously mentioned, correct engine mount installation can save you from poor performance issues, premature failure, tube fractures, poor load distribution, and more. For this reason, you should never install an engine mount parallel to the engine crankshaft centerline. More than that, due to the tremendous pressure it is subjected to, an engine mount is also subject to corrosion, cracks, and dents. In this same vein, rust and corrosion of metallic components is extremely detrimental to aircraft performance, and subparts made of polymer are more susceptible to damage as a result of heat, pressure, and age.
Generally, regular inspections can help reveal surface corrosion, but unveiling internal rust and corrosion is a more complicated pursuit. Such deterioration often takes you by surprise, leading to irreparable damage in the long run, and the only way to avoid such occurrences is by having an aviation welding technician on standby. These types of experts can help upend hidden degradation not caught by the average eye.
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