Why Aircraft Bottles are removed and replaced
This paper explores the maintenance task of an aircraft oxygen bottle, including its removal and replacement. Human beings need oxygen to breath and therefore stay alive. It is therefore necessary for oxygen to be in most machinery used by human beings, so as to ensure that it can be used when needed. In aircraft oxygen bottles are needed in case they are required by passengers, patients or the flight crew while the plane is airborne. This oxygen may come in handy in instances where oxygen runs out unexpectedly. At certain altitudes pilots and passengers may be vulnerable to an oxygen shortage due to changing pressure in the aircraft. This oxygen is usually used in such cases.
It is necessary to ensure that the oxygen bottles are well kept and maintained to ensure safety for passengers and the aircraft. Oxygen bottles and cylinders must therefore be regularly inspected and this requires certain procedures to be laid out. This is because handing pressurised oxygen can be particularly hazardous. Usually bottles are tested every few years to make sure of their structural integrity. The amount of time oxygen may stay in the bottles also needs to be changed after a certain period to ensure that it is safe for users. It is for this reason that the bottles need to be removed and replaced from time to time.
The system mainly contains the oxygen bottle or cylinder within which the oxygen is stored. The bottle is kept tightly closed with a valve. This is what ensures that the content of the bottle remains within it and does not get contaminated. It also keeps the oxygen in the bottle from escaping and causing a lot of damage to the aircraft. The bottle is held in place by two panels that are attached to the plane. These are usually secured with screw drives or bolts and serve to hold the bottle in place. The bottle is usually attached to a number of pipes that allow the oxygen to flow to wherever it may be needed. The opening and closing of pipes is easily controllable through different switches. Usually the oxygen bottles contain an approval stamp from the department of transportation to ensure that the integrity of the bottle is assured. The oxygen servicing valves have got filters which ensure that the oxygen that eventually gets used is very pure and devoid of contaminants (Wiggins, 2012). Finally, the system also connects to the oxygen masks which may be used to get the direct access to the oxygen so as to breathe.
Whenever there is a need for supplementary oxygen on the aircraft, either by a patient or by any other person, the oxygen mask, which is usually positioned close to the person, is accessed and put over the person’s nose and mouth (Martin, 2006). Once this is done, the valves that release the oxygen should be open with a lever on the plane. The valves contain filters that purify the oxygen and allow it to flow to the recipient. The valves contain regulators which regulate the amount of oxygen that enters the oxygen mask. The user is able to breathe freely. When the use of oxygen is not further required, the switch should be turned off and oxygen flow into the mask stops.
In a routine maintenance task of the oxygen bottle in an aircraft, the first thing I did was to make sure that I had the required clothing that was comfortable and protective. Then I accessed the bottle from the aircraft by releasing the panels which were holding it secure. To make sure that it was necessary to replace the bottles, I checked the date when the bottles were last serviced, which was near the top of the bottle. I ensured that I followed the manual for the specific aircraft while closing off the seal of the bottles to make sure that oxygen would not escape and then I lifted out the bottles gently. Then I ensured that valves leading oxygen into the aircraft were closed. The procedure was done gently so as not to expose the bottles to any violent shaking. After ensuring that bottles had been refilled by trained professionals, I followed the instructional manuals to replace the bottles. I ensured that the bottles were tightly sealed. Then I connected them secure on the plane with bolts, connected the valves that transport the oxygen and ensured that the connection was airtight. I did a manual check to ensure that the bottles were well placed in the plane, the oxygen was flowing into the oxygen masks and filters in the valves were working. The date of the check was stamped on the bottles for future reference.
In this undertaking I followed the instructional manual that outlined all the steps to be taken in removal and replacement of the oxygen bottles in reference to the particular aircraft I was working with. The maintenance requirements are contained in a manual published by the Federal Aviation Administration, chapter 57, entitled Maintenance requirements for high pressure cylinders installed in registered aircrafts in any category (USFAA, 2007). I used a screw driver to unscrew some of the screws that held the panels which kept the bottles secure. Then I used a wrench to release the bottles from where they were secured on the aircraft.
Safety precautions included dressing in the right attire in case of a fire or an explosion (Martin, 2006). I also took precaution in the handling of the bottles to make sure that no violent shaking was done to the bottles (USFAA, 2007). Precautions were also taken to avoid contact with grease and any fuel as this would have lead to a violent eruption (Stewart, Beeson &Smith, 2007).