The aviation technician must be familiar with the jacking of aircraft in order to perform maintenance and inspection. Since jacking procedures and safety precautions vary for different types of aircraft, only general jacking procedures and precautions are discussed. Consult the applicable aircraft manufacturer's maintenance instructions for specific jacking procedures.  

Extensive aircraft damage and serious personal injury have resulted from careless or improper jacking procedures. As an added safety measure, jacks should be inspected before use to determine the specific lifting capacity, proper functioning of safety locks, condition of pins, and general serviceability. Before raising an aircraft on jacks, all workstands and other equipment should be removed from under and near the aircraft. No one should remain in the aircraft while it is being raised or lowered, unless maintenance manual procedures require such practice for observing leveling instruments in the aircraft.

The aircraft to be jacked must be located in a level position, well protected from the wind. A hangar should be used if possible. The manufacturer's maintenance instructions for the aircraft being jacked should be consulted for the location of the jacking points. These jacking points are usually located in relation to the aircraft center of gravity so the aircraft will be well balanced on the jacks. However, there are some exceptions to this. On some aircraft it may be necessary to add weight to the nose or tail of the aircraft to achieve a safe balance. Sandbags are usually used for this purpose.

Tripod jacks similar to the one shown in figure 11-38 are used when the complete aircraft is to be jacked.


A small single base jack similar to the one shown in figure 11-39 is used when only one wheel is to be raised. The jacks used for jacking aircraft must be maintained in good condition; a leaking or damaged jack must never be used. Also, each jack has a maximum capacity, which must never be exceeded.

Jacking Complete Aircraft

Prior to jacking the aircraft, an overall survey of the complete situation should be made to determine if any hazards to the aircraft or personnel exist. Tripod jacks of the appropriate size for the aircraft being jacked should be placed under the aircraft jacking points and perfectly centered to prevent them from cocking when the aircraft is raised. The legs of the jacks should be checked to see that they will not interfere with the operations to be performed after the aircraft is jacked, such as retracting the landing gear.

At least three places or points are provided on aircraft for jacking purposes; a fourth place on some aircraft is used to stabilize the aircraft while it is being jacked at the other three points. The two main places are on the wings, with a smaller one on the fuselage near either the tail or the nose, depending on the landing gear design.


Most aircraft have jack pads located at the jack points. Others have removable jack pads that are inserted into receptacles bolted in place prior to jacking. The correct jack pad should be used in all cases. The function of the jack pad is to ensure that the aircraft load is properly distributed at the jack point and to provide a convex bearing surface to mate with the concave jack stem. Figure 11-40 illustrates two types of jack pads.

Prior to jacking, determine if the aircraft configuration will permit jacking. There may be equipment or fuel which has to be removed if serious structural damage is to be avoided during jacking. If any other work is in progress on the aircraft, ascertain if any critical panels have been removed. On some aircraft the stress panels or plates must be in place when the aircraft is jacked to avoid structural damage.

Extend the jacks until they contact the jack pads. A final check for alignment of the jacks should be made before the aircraft is raised, since most accidents during jacking are the result of misaligned jacks.

When the aircraft is ready to be raised, a man should be stationed at each jack. The jacks should be operated simultaneously to keep the aircraft as level as possible and to avoid overloading any of the jacks. This can be accomplished by having the crew leader stand in front of the aircraft and give instructions to the men operating the jacks. Figure 11-41 shows an aircraft being jacked.

Caution should be observed, since on many jacks the piston can be raised beyond the safety point; therefore, never raise an aircraft any higher than is necessary to accomplish the job.

The area around the aircraft should be secured while the aircraft is on jacks. Climbing on the aircraft should be held to an absolute minimum, and no violent movements should be made by persons who are required to go aboard. Any cradles or necessary supports should be placed under the fuselage or wings of the aircraft at the earliest possible time, particularly if the aircraft is to remain jacked for any length of time.


On collet equipped jacks, the collet should be kept within two threads of the lift tube cylinder during raising, and screwed down firmly to the cylinder after jacking is completed to prevent settling.

Before releasing jack pressure and lowering the aircraft, make certain that all cribbing, workstands, equipment, and persons are clear of the aircraft, that the landing gear is down and locked, and that all ground locking devices are properly installed.

Jacking One Wheel of an Aircraft

When only one wheel has to be raised to change a tire or to grease wheel bearings, a low single base jack is used. Before the wheel is raised, the remaining wheels must be chocked fore and aft to prevent movement of the aircraft. If the aircraft is equipped with a tailwheel, it must be locked. The wheel should be raised only high enough to clear the concrete surface. Figure 11-42 shows a wheel being raised using a single base jack.

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