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During a pre-flight inspection, what could indicate stress damage on an aircraft?

1. Wrinkled or stretched skin.
2. Loose or missing screws in the fairings.
3.
Hydraulic leak in the landing gear (bypassing of the piston seal).
4.
Restriction in a flight control.

  • A
    1 and 3.
  • B
    1 and 4.
  • C
    2 and 3.
  • D
    3 and 4.

Generally speaking every component of an airframe is designed to be thin to reduce the overall weight of the aircraft but, at the same time, every piece, including the “outer skin”, is required to bear load along with the longerons and frames (the main load-bearing components of the aircraft structure). This load can be of three types: compression, tension and shear load.

When the thin skin panels of the aircraft are under stress, they may buckle and when the light comes from the right angle, such buckling can be apparent as “wrinkles” during the pre-flight inspection.

Needless to say, the age of the airframes and metal fatigue may affect the amount and distribution of the aircraft’s “wrinkles” or “stretched” skin.

During a pre-flight inspection, control surfaces (blades, stabilator) are carefully inspected to ensure these are free and in correct motion. Physical restriction on the surface can be caused by damage or icing and will be detected as a change in the upper and/or lower limits to new, non-equal values.

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