When people think of oil leaks, energy companies frequently come to mind. Pipeline disasters like the BP oil spill in 2010 consistently make headlines and cause concern. While those who drill for and pump crude material need to be especially careful of equipment failure and other dangerous variables, the organizations that use this oil also have plenty of considerations to make - namely when there are planes involved.
The Washington Business Journal reported that several F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Jets have been grounded due to an engine oil leak that forced a pilot to declare an in-flight emergency on June 10. While it is a happy ending in the sense that equipment condition monitoring systems did not fail, this incident drives home the need for planes to be outfitted with the kind of assets that will keep them aloft - regardless of the vehicle's nature.
Planes must be responsive to failure
Flight is a necessary mode of travel in many instances, be it for travel, shipping or military operations. There are people in these planes that must be protected, and should a system failure occur, pilots need to have the proper amount of time to make emergency maneuvers.
According to Airforce?-Technology, the US Department of Defense has mandated that inspections of all F-35s must occur in the wake of the engine oil incident.
"Pentagon officials, which described the grounding as precautionary, said the inspections uncovered possible problems with two other jets," wrote WBJ contributor Tucker Echols.
While this is a positive step to take, there is still too much human error at play to rely solely on these processes. As an added precaution, sensors and software should be put to use in such a way that they can quickly and accurately identify issues that a plane might be having so as to warn the pilot in a timely manner.
Equipment maintenance software is becoming important to consider in many industries, but those who deal with aviation need to take extra stock in its application. It has been shown time and again that planes are just as prone to failure as any other piece of machinery, and as such should be treated with the utmost care when implementing new ways to keep people safe.