Lubrication plays a critical part of any kind of aircraft no matter how advanced it may be. This is why the FAA puts so much emphasis on its Spectrometric Oil Analysis Program (SOAP) guidelines for aircraft. But apart from oil quality being a predictive factor that helps engineers decide when an aircraft may need servicing, there are other reasons regular oil changes are necessary in aircraft.
What the Oil in Your Aircraft Does
Engine oil plays a number of vital roles in the smooth operation of aircraft. These functions include:
· Reduces friction
· Cools internal engine parts
· Cleans, keep sludge, dirt and other contaminants suspended
· Reduces/dampens noise
· Prevents corrosion
· Maximizes propeller operation
· As a diagnostic tool (SOAP)
Oil used to lubricate turboprop planes must have the following qualities:
· Excellent load carrying properties.
· Good low volatility characteristics.
· Resistance to high temperature corrosion of metals
Moreover, turboprop engine lubrication is very demanding on the oil being used because for the following reason:
· Aircraft applications are one of the few applications where stopping and investigating oil related issues as they happen are not possible
· Wide range of temperatures, pressures, and speeds that the lubricant is exposed to under normal operating and storage conditions.
Why regular oil changes are necessary.
The primary reason to change an aircraft’s oil on a regular basis is that the oil gets filthy quickly. Indeed, the oil in an aircraft engine gets contaminated far quicker than the oil in an automobile. Part of the reason for this is that a highly corrosive engine chemical called Dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO) is produced during combustion. This chemical can contaminate the engine oil. In short, oil should be changed on a regular basis before contaminants gather that could be injurious to the engine’s health. Oil changes should be made every 400 hours.
Another reason oil should be changed regularly is in order to replenish the oil’s acid neutralizers. As the sulfur and oxides of nitrogen mix with DHMO they form sulfuric acid. The result is a highly corrosive mixture that can attack your valuable engine parts. Oil helps by combining itself with acid neutralizers that prevent this chemical union from harming your engine and other hardware.
As a Diagnostic Tool (SOAP)
Changing and testing oil a regular basis allows mechanics to gauge the health of all your mechanical systems. If mechanics – in their analysis of your oil – report above normal insoluble to be present, it could indicate that an engine problem is present or about to develop. Think of it as being akin to a blood test on a human. Finally, we all know how automobile drivers often put off oil changes until they have absolutely no choice. However, aircraft are vastly more complicated machines. Procedures such as TPE331 Maintenance and aircraft APU service are unique to the aerospace industry