The Common Types of Aircraft Hand Tools and Equipment

When conducting inspections, maintenance, and repairs for aircraft of all types, hand tools serve as useful equipment pieces that allow mechanics to service areas quickly and efficiently. Hand tools refer to those that may be operated by hand, and they do not require any source of power or a motor for their use. As such, aircraft hand tools include a variety of equipment pieces such as wrenches, hammers, screw drivers, cutters, and more. As hand tools are extremely useful for a number of MRO services, having an understanding of their common types and uses can be beneficial for anyone working on aircraft or procuring tool types for their operations.

Wrenches and wrench kits are common equipment pieces for aviation maintenance procedures, and they often come in types such as open-end, socket, box-end, ratcheting, special, adjustable, and hexagon wrench tools. To ensure that wrenches are capable of providing sufficient torque and strength to optimally tighten fasteners and components, such tools are regularly composed of chrome-vanadium steel which is highly indestructible. When a fastener requires a very precise pressure amount for its installation, torque wrenches in particular are used. With a torque indicating handle and various attachments, the tool will measure the turning or twisting force applied to the fastener in order to ensure a specific value is met.

Hammers and mallets are also often used during various procedures, and mechanics will typically rely upon ball peen, straight peen, cross peen, tinner mallet, and riveting hammers. When working on softer materials or surfaces that may be damaged from more conventional hammer types, special soft-face hammers may be used. With soft-faced hammers, their heads are produced from hard rubber, plastic, wood, lead, brass, or rawhide materials. As their power is limited, such hammers should not be used when installing bolts, nails, and other hard components that can quickly degrade the hammer head. Mallets are similar to hammers, though they are most useful when shaping thin metal parts due to their low chance of creating dents or unwanted bends and creases. Generally speaking, the choice between hammers and mallets will depend on what materials are being worked on and what is needed.

Screwdrivers are hand tools that are made for one specific purpose which is to loosen or tighten screws and screw head bolts. As the head designs of screws and fasteners will often differ in their shapes and sizes, varying screwdrivers may be needed for an installation and are typically classified by their shape, blade length, and blade type. When searching common screwdriver sets for the right fit, it can be useful to remember that the largest screwdriver that fits snug within the screw head will be the best choice if an exact fit cannot be identified. For torque to be sufficient and for the screwdriver to turn without stripping the component, the screwdriver must take up at least 3/4ths of the screw slot. If one continues to use incorrectly sized tools, fasteners can become so damaged that a screw extractor would be needed to remove them. Additionally, incorrect tools can also damage surrounding components as well, warranting caution when selecting sizes.

As there may be countless wires, cabling, and small components present within an aircraft, cutting tools such as pliers are commonly used. The most common plier types used by aircraft mechanics are the diagonal, duckbill, needlenose, and roundnose tool types, and they primarily serve for repair work. Diagonal pliers are a cutter with short jaws and slightly angled blades, and they are used to cut wires, rivets, cotter pins, and small screws. Duckbill pliers have thin, flat jaws, and they may be used to twist safety wires. With needlenose types, jaws of varying lengths can clamp onto objects so that adjustments may be made in tighter sections of assemblies. Lastly, the roundnose plier can be used to crimp metals, and they should never be relied upon for heavier applications.

With the correct hand tools, aircraft maintenance and repairs can be conducted efficiently and safely. Aviation Sphere is an online distributor of aircraft parts and components that have been sourced from top global manufacturers that we trust. With our unmatched customer service and competitive pricing, we can fulfill your operational requirements with ease. To begin the procurement process with a quote on the items that you are most interested in, fill out and submit an Instant RFQ form as provided on our website and a dedicated account manager will reach out to you in 15 minutes or less.


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