Main parts of a commercial airplane and their individual functions

1. The fuselage is the main body of the airplane that holds the plane together. It generally holds the passengers and cargo while being the largest individual portion of the plane.
2. The cockpit is the main control center of the airplane, generally located at the front where it holds the pilot and crew. 3. The powerplant is just a term for the engine of the plane and it provides hydraulic and electric power.
4. The undercarriage is the landing gear for the plane and is located in the belly. It allows the plane to stand on its wheels when landing or taking off.
5. The wings are self-explanatory in their location and as one can imagine, are one of the most important parts of the plane. It is designed to decrease drag, generate lift, and manage the airflow. Also, while gliding (meaning, when engine power is off), the wings allow the pilots to adjust the descent rate.
6. For most commercial airplanes, there are horizontal stabilizers, usually at the back of the plane. They act as a pair of mini wings a certain distance away from the main wings that help control the airspeed and pitch.
7. The vertical stabilizer prevents the plane from moving laterally when the wind or other turbulence affects the flight.
8. The rudder is attached to the vertical stabilizer and it controls the yaw motion of the airplane. For instance, when the rudder it turned to the left, so is the airplane itself.

Standard Parts and the state of the Airplane Parts Industry

You should know about the Standard specifications used for airplane parts. Some of the major ones include (for Eligibility, Quality, and Identification of Aeronautical Replacement Parts”

1. National Aerospace Standard (NAS)
2. Air Force/Navy Aeronautical Standard (AN)
3. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
4. Aerospace Standard (AS)
5. Military Standard (MS)
(for EASA AMC M.A.501 (c):

1. National Aerospace Standards (NAS)
2. Army-Navy Aeronautical Standard (AN)
3. Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE)
4. Joint Electron Device Engineering Council
5. American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

One of the best ways to know you are getting the part you are looking for is to ask the supplier whether or not they have documentation for Production Approval Holder (PAH) or Design Approval Holder (DAH). It is advised that if the supplier is unable to produce such documentation, for you to move onto the next supplier. The fallback option if you’re unable to find suppliers that are PAH/DAH is to use large, reputable companies such as Boeing and Airbus. Even if the supplier is “certified” by one of these bigger companies, it is still much safer to purchase parts from standard issue documented suppliers directly. This is a common occurrence, since most listed parts online are not regularly updated and suppliers can very rarely guarantee the part will be delivered on time. Even so, the industry today is in much better shape than it was a decade ago.

The biggest recognizable difference is the increase in surplus parts being used globally. More and more people are realizing that it is much more cost effective to use serviceable, quality, used parts rather than constructing and using brand new ones. It is backed by the finding that the serviceable airplane parts market had increased by nearly 50% in the last decade. Old planes being phased out from commercial usage can easily be purchased by suppliers that harvest the skeleton for parts. This entire process is known as aviation MROs or maintenance, repair, and overhaul. Professionals such as Delta CEO Paul Jacobson believes that many times, these old planes can pay for themselves within in a year just by taking it apart and selling each individual section to the consumers. Suppliers have grown much more sophisticated, both technically and financially.

A few very helpful citations

1. http://aviationweek.com/awin/surplus-part-s-starring-role
2. http://www.aviationsuppliers.org/index.asp?bid=222&BlogEntryID=30875&FormID=300