Lifting Safely: The Technology Behind Aircraft Jacks


Planes are massive machines that burn a ton of fuel every time they move, getting worn down more and more with each flight due to the incredible distances they’re traveling and the weight they have to put up with, and airlines need a good way to manipulate the plane and bring it into the right position for repairs. The ultimate solution to this is the jack, a simple yet intricate piece of technology that has allowed the industry to perform quick and easy repairs.

  1. Types of jacks

Aircraft jacks are varied and come in different shapes and sizes, but the main types include hydraulic jacks, screw jacks, tripod jacks, and toe jacks. Hydraulic jacks rely on the traditional hydraulic fluid mechanism, using pressurized fluid to create enough force to safely raise planes and position them, while screw jacks use a threaded mechanism that is aided by machines to slowly and carefully raise planes with a screw at the center to control the entire process. Hydraulic jacks are versatile and can raise the heaviest planes in the world, while screw jacks are reserved for smaller aircraft, especially private jets. Tripod jacks are often used in tandem with other jacks, lifting the nose of the plane, which is where a lot of maintenance often occurs, while toe jacks are used similarly, lifting up other areas of the plane as required. 

  1. Training employees

A vital part of using a jack is ensuring the technicians working with this intricate piece of equipment are well-trained and are continuously adapting to changes in the industry because one mistake is all it takes for an entire operation to come crashing down. Everyone working with jacks must know their ins and outs, as well as how they’re maintained and serviced regularly since this piece of equipment is all mechanical, and potential issues need to be flagged visually before they’re used to operate on a plane. 

  1. Materials used 

Jacks are designed meticulously. The materials used in their construction have to be expertly balanced between ease of use and mobility since they’re always being shuttled around throughout the day, being used in different parts of the airport and in different hangars, and durability and sturdiness, since they have to safely secure and hold some of the biggest and heaviest machinery in the world without fail. While steel is great for its tensile strength and the ability it has to withstand force and weight, a lot of manufacturers are skillfully able to incorporate aluminum, too, since it’s less dense and because the right combination can reduce the weight of a jack drastically without having a major impact on the weight it can hold.

  1. Safety features

As previously mentioned, jacks are responsible for holding millions of dollars worth of equipment in place without any risk of breaking or falling during maintenance. This is why jacks have to be loaded with safety features that ensure that even in the worst-case scenario, there are always failsafes, including overload mechanisms that prevent jacks from being used if they can’t handle the weight that has been loaded, locking mechanisms ensuring planes are unable to move once maintenance has begun, and backup hydraulic mechanisms to keep planes in place if the main lifting mechanism fails.  

  1. Advancements in technology

The latest advancements in jacks are aimed at making them even more efficient to use by decreasing weight as much as possible, making them more mobile, and incorporating technology in ways that make sense. This is done by including sensors and software that provide insights on the amount of load placed on the jack, how safe the procedure is, and electronic controls that make moving the plane far more precise and safe.


Jacks must be engineered carefully because they’re often the only things carrying the weight of entire planes, which weigh thousands of pounds and cost millions of dollars each. The technology used to produce these jacks is constantly being developed more and more to ensure that every professional in the field has a safe and easy method of maintaining the planes that companies spend millions on. 


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