Aircraft Maintenance and Its Related Terms

Aircraft mechanics and pilots will often say technical terms you may not be familiar with. With countless terms and acronyms that are unique to the aviation industry, it can be difficult to decipher the differences among them all. Maintenance-related terms in particular touch on a number of standard aircraft operations, making them an important group to become familiar with. This blog will cover the most common aircraft maintenance-related terms you should know.


As per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), maintenance is any aircraft activity related to the inspection, overhaul, repair, preservation, and replacement of parts. It is important to note that preventative maintenance is not included in this umbrella term.


This abbreviation stands for “aircraft on ground,” which refers to any plane that shows signs of a serious maintenance problem that prevents it from being airworthy. If you are facing an AOG situation, you will require the assistance of a mechanic to fix the issue. Typically, pilots use this term to describe why flight plans have been delayed.


The term “checks” is often used to describe planned aircraft maintenance that is carried out after a certain number of flight hours or takeoffs. In general, checks take place in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.


Corrosion is the slow deterioration of an aircraft’s metal surfaces. If it is overlooked during maintenance checks, it can not only ruin the appearance of the aircraft, but it can pose a safety risk. There are two types of corrosion, those of which include electromechanical attacks and direct chemical attacks. Electromechanical attacks occur when water is present, while direct chemical attacks occur when the surface of a plane is exposed to caustic liquids or gasses. Corrosion can attack various parts of an aircraft, such as the exterior surfaces, battery compartments, wheel well, cooling air vents, and water entrapment areas. However, every part of the aircraft should be checked for corrosion.


Pilots must keep track of the amount of times they have taken flight so that they know when to perform maintenance checks. A cycle encompasses one takeoff and one landing, and it may also be called a trip.

Line Maintenance

Line maintenance refers to a number of different things. For instance, if you need to have something repaired unexpectedly on your aircraft, this is referred to as line maintenance. It may also refer to planned maintenance checks that take place outside of a hangar, meaning that specialized tools and equipment are not required. Line maintenance is also carried out when a plane has been in storage for some time.

Base Maintenance

Any type of maintenance that cannot be classified as line maintenance is called base maintenance. Base maintenance is more time-consuming and consists of complex tasks. For example, removing corrosion or performing work on the airframe is considered base maintenance.

Maintenance Logbook

The FAA requires any technician or mechanic who performs maintenance on aircraft to keep a record of the work being done in an official logbook. Each entry must have a date and the name of the person who completed the work as well as their certificate number.

Permanent Records

These records are maintained even if the aircraft has been sold to a new owner. In fact, these records must follow each new owner so they can be updated and comply with FAA requirements.


Some aircraft parts can be repaired while others must be replaced to ensure the proper functionality of the aircraft. For example, rotable parts in an engine can be rebuilt, repaired, and used again.


This term is used to describe any item that can only be used once to perform aircraft maintenance. For instance, you cannot reuse oil.


Any mark that penetrates the surface of an aircraft is called a scratch. Scratches can be removed with a high quality polish and buffer, but must be tended to as soon as they appear.


Dents are depressions on the exterior of an aircraft and happen when a smooth object collides with it. If the depression has displaced or creased the metal, it is not considered a dent.


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