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I'm wondering what the limiting maintenance factors for engines, for example of an A320, are. Of course this is something that is different from one engine manufacturer to another and especially from engine type to another.

But what rules are there for regular, operation driven, maintenance? Please consider engines of any type, used for a mid-sized plane like the A320 on commercial passenger flights.

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    $\begingroup$ This is all defined by the engine manufacturer, and there are multiple checks from simple oil and fluid changes all the way through full tear-downs. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Mar 17 '17 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ Whenever the manufacturer, governing administrative body (FAA, etc), or operator require or decide it needs to in accordance with approved maintenance data and programs, monitoring programs, and inspections. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Mar 19 '17 at 9:11
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This is a very broad question, but if we limit ourselves to just high bypass turbofans, such as the CFM56 or LEAP-1A used on the A320, and limit "maintenance" to mean major maintenance that requires the engine to be removed from the wing, then the primary driver is typically the total number of flights. Depending on the engine, it would be removed from the wing for a complete teardown, inspection, and rebuild perhaps every 5,000 - 10,000 flights (typical lifetime of the engine could be between 30,000 and 50,000 flights). Many major components are limited by low cycle fatigue (LCF) driven by thermal stress, so the cold-hot-cold cycle of a flight is what drives the maintence interval, more so than the total flight hours. i.e. a 1 hour flight and a 12 hour flight are pretty similar in how much they wear out the components.

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you for your answer. Would it matter if a plane is e.g. 20minutes on the ground or 1h? Would that have any impact on maintenance cycles? I guess 20 minutes would not let the engines cool down as much as 1h and thus thermal stress would be "different". $\endgroup$ – dani Mar 18 '17 at 15:49
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    $\begingroup$ 20 min versus 60 min shutdown does make some difference to LCF life, but it's not huge. Even just idle-takeoff-idle-takeoff (i.e. leave the engine running and never shutdown) induces a significant thermal stress due to the large temperature difference between idle and takeoff. $\endgroup$ – Daniel K Mar 18 '17 at 17:16

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