When it comes to any vehicle including an aircraft, securing hardware is a primary task that needs to be done for safety. Loose hardware wiring can be a cause of tragic accidents and threaten many lives. As a result, it is crucial to secure the aircraft’s bolts and fasteners with safety wires to prevent accidents. Furthermore, one should always check such assemblies often to confirm whether they are tight and ready before take-off.
What Is Safety Wiring or Wire Locking?
Safety wiring, or locking wire, is a tool that ensures the structure stability of an aircraft. It typically comes in the form of a 0.32-inch stainless steel or nickel alloy wire used for locking the mechanisms of bolts and nuts that might get loose as a result of vibration or jerks during flight. Safety wiring is used as a method to hold parts like nuts and bolts
together with other fasteners or studs so that an aircraft’s mechanisms will be safe and secured.
A wire can be passed through the nut’s hole before being tied clockwise, and another end is linked with the aircraft structure to avoid serious mechanical failures. This is usually done in vibration-prone areas on an aircraft where nuts and bolts are locked with two or more fasteners, ensuring safety.
An aircraft’s wireframe can dislodge overtime due to vibration, and even small objects can cause catastrophic results when loosening occurs. In such instances, the technician’s job is to ensure the safety of onboard passengers while checking that hardware locks properly.
Why Is Safety Wiring important?
An aircraft contains fragile technology that operates in harsh environments during flight. While taking-off and landing, the constant vibration creates strain on the aircraft’s wireframe. During these events, if any bolt or screw
becomes loose during flight, it can wear down the aircraft structure and pose a safety hazard. Locking wire components are important to secure fasteners on an aircraft during flight for safety.
Safety wiring is also known as ‘positive wire locking,’ that of which holds the aircraft and its many parts together. It is necessary for the technician to properly check all the wireframes connected with the aircraft structure and ensure safety as well. It is also a technician’s responsibility to ensure the integrity of an aircraft during flight so that it is not compromised. They do this by installing fail-safe devices, such as safety wires, to prevent components from coming off due to pressure imposed upon them by external factors like wind gusts, temperature change, and strain from take-off and landing.
How Does Safety Wiring Work?
The foremost purpose of safety wires is to tighten wireframes and fasteners. The wiring of these nuts and bolts
can be done with two or more fasteners to ensure safety for a longer period of time. The clever use of stainless-steel wires in aircraft manufacturing has been a main component of the industry’s success for more than 50 years. The first step of installing wiring involves drilling a whole into a fastener. Then, twisted strands that are anchored on another piece are threaded before being doubled back around themselves again with varying degrees between 0–45 degrees, depending on the tightness required.
This process allows assemblies to hold their shape after being bent outwards, protecting against the loosening of screws while resisting slipping due to the strain created as a result of removing parts from machines, leading to less downtime spent servicing equipment. Safety wires are used to replace worn-out fasteners as well as maintain the shape of aircraft. After each application, ensure that you dispose of the old wire and install a fresh wire for the next flight. Maintenance of safety wires includes making sure the diameter and thickness are compatible with each other. Additionally, the most common sizes of a wire
is 0.032-inch and 0.041-inch options which can be used as per requirements; for example, forholding larger screws in place, you will need a thick wire.
You can never be too careful when performing owner-performed maintenance. If in doubt, ask for the advice of other sources, like mechanics or aviation enthusiasts, who can underline any mistake before it gets too late. You can also call your local FAA Flight Standards District Office inspector for help – they will be happy to help you!
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