Torque Tools For Helicopter Maintenance

Posted on December 11, 2019 David Atkinson Aircraft Fasteners

Aircraft fasteners are incredibly important components of any machine, and helicopters are no different. The main rotor of main helicopters is held in place by a so-called “Jesus nut,” called such by flight crews because to lose it was to have the main rotor detach completely and come face to face with him. While some helicopters do not feature a Jesus nut, all of them require fasteners that are precisely secured to ensure safe and controlled flight operations. This is why precision torque tools are so critical for helicopter maintenance, as every single nut, bolt, and screw must be tightened to exact specifications. If left loose, one can come free and damage the engine, propeller blades, or other components while in flight. If tightened too far, they can stress the housings and cause them to crack from the pressures and vibrations of flight.

The most critical components for fastening are the helicopter engine’s shafts connecting to the main and tail rotor, and the swashplate assembly. The shafts that power the main and tail rotor spin at extremely high rates per minute, and must be thoroughly secured. The swashplate assembly, meanwhile, connects the pilot’s control inputs to the main rotor and allows them to fly the helicopter. Therefore, any errors in fastening the swashplate will cause the controls to not work properly.
 
For all these reasons, using the right tools is essential. Torque wrenches, torque screwdrivers, and calibrated power assembly tools are best for when repairing helicopters and conducting preventative maintenance. The heavy-duty bolts on helicopter engines and transmissions and the screws on airframes must be tightened to very precise specifications, so pulse tools and air screwdrivers with an automatic shut-off are perfect for these requirements, speeding up assembly and disassembly, reducing operator fatigue, and delivering precise torque control throughout the process.
 
Mechanical systems like engine interiors, power transfer systems, and transmission rebuilds are more variable in their torque needs. Adjustable hand operated torque screwdrivers torque wrenches, and click wrenches signal to the operator when they are reaching the torque limit through physical and auditory means, while cam-over and breakover wrenches physically stop the user from over-tightening.
 
On the smaller and more precise level of controls and control linkages, dial torque screwdrivers and adjustable torque screwdrivers can precisely monitor and adjust the torque applied to aviation fastener components. Both types have memory functions that allow mechanics to precisely verify that everything is functioning and tightened properly.

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