General Purpose Tools for Aircraft Maintenance

Posted on October 22, 2020 James Hinds MRO

The importance of regular aircraft maintenance is not up for debate. Just as important as MRO are the tools that make it possible. While there are certainly a wide variety of highly-specialized tools used in aircraft maintenance, simple tools can often get the job done. General purpose tools include hammers, mallets, screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, and drivers. In this blog, we will discuss these tools and provide some explanation of what they are and how they work.

1. Hammers & Mallets

There are five types of hammers and mallets used by aviation mechanics: ball peen hammers, straight peen hammers, cross peen hammers, riveting hammers, and tinner’s mallets. These are all metal hammers, their sizes based on the weight of the hammer head. Mechanics will occasionally use soft-faced hammers, which have striking surfaces made from softer materials like wood, brass, lead, rawhide, rubber, or plastic. These hammers should not be used to strike punch heads, bolts, or nails, as they will quickly ruin the hammer. A mallet is a hammer-like tool with a head made from wood, leather, or rubber. These are helpful in shaping thin metal parts without causing creases or dents with abrupt corners.

2. Screwdrivers

Screwdrivers are classified by their shape, type of blade, and blade length. They are used for one purpose, to loosen or tighten screws or screw head bolts. When using a screwdriver, it is important to select the largest screwdriver whose blade will fit into the screw. The screwdriver should fill at least 75 percent of the screw slot, or it can cut and burr the screw slot, rendering it useless. The two most common types of screwdrivers are the Phillips and Reed & Prince. Phillips screwdrivers are used for cruciform screw drives, while Reed & Prince screwdrivers fit into slotted or crossed screw drives.

3. Pliers & Plier-Type Cutting Tools

There are three types of pliers used in aircraft repair: diagonal, needlenose, and duckbill. Each of these pliers is used for specific applications. Needlenose pliers are used to hold objects and make adjustments in tight spaces. Duckbill pliers have thin, flat, jaws that resemble a duck’s bill. These are used exclusively for twisting safety wires. Diagonal pliers are short-jawed cutters with a blade set at a slight angle on each jaw. These are the most versatile type, able to cut wire, rivets, small screws, cotter pins, and more.

4. Wrenches

The most commonly used wrenches in aircraft maintenance are known as open-end, box-end, socket, adjustable, ratcheting and special wrenches. The Allen wrench, through rarely needed, is also important for certain types of recessed screws. One of the most widely used metals for making wrenches is chrome-vanadium steel, as wrenches made from this are nearly indestructible. Open-end wrenches are solid, nonadjustable wrenches with open parallel jaws on one or both ends. They are designed to fit a nut, bolt head, or similar objects and exert a turning action. Box-end wrenches are popular because of their usefulness in small spaces. They are called box wrenches because they completely surround the nut or bolt head. These are primarily used to loosen extremely tight nuts.

Socket wrenches are made of two parts: a socket, placed over the top of a nut or bolt, and a handle, attached to the socket. Many types of handles, extensions, and attachments make it possible to use socket wrenches in a diverse array of applications. Special wrenches include the crowfoot, flare nut, spanner, torque, and Allen wrenches. While special wrenches are less commonly used, they can be critical in specific situations.

5. Drivers

Certain applications may call for the use of an impact driver. When struck with a mallet, the impact driver uses cam action to impart a high amount of torque in a concise impact to break loose a tight fastener.

Whatever maintenance tools you need, ASAP AM Spares can supply them. At ASAP AM Spares, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all types of general purpose maintenance tools for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the aviation parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, call us at +1-714-705-4780 or email us at

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