When talking about aviation, it can be easy to focus on the intricate, ‘flashy’ parts of an aircraft like the engines, controls, avionics. Etc. These are all undeniably vital for a functioning aircraft, but equally vital is the aircraft’s hardware, the humble nuts, bolts, screws, and rivets that hold the airframe together. There’s no point in designing and manufacturing the perfect engine for an aircraft, after all, uf substandard bolts will cause it to tear itself off of the fuselage, after all! According to the Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics General Handbook, aircraft hardware is “the term used to describe the various types of fasteners and miscellaneous small items used in the manufacture and repair of aircraft.”


Hardware types include, but are not limited to:

  • Bolts
  • Nuts
  • Washers
  • Screws
  • Cotter pins and safety wires
  • Rivets
  • Turnlock fasteners
  • Miscellaneous items like 0-rings, crush washers, etc.
  • Control cables
  • Fluid lines and fittings
  • Electrical wirings and connectors

In this blog, we will break down a few of the most common and frequently used types of hardware.

Bolts are used when high strength is needed, and are substituted with screws when it is not. Aircraft quality bolts are made from alloy steel, stainless, or corrosion resistant steel, along with aluminum alloys and titanium. They will have a marking on their head that denotes what type of metal was used to make them, as well as other basic information about their design.

Nuts lack identification, but are made from the same material as bolts to prevent static build-up. Nust must have a locking device to keep them in place, which is typically cotter pins, fiber inserts, lockwashers, and safety wire.

Washers provide a shim when needed, act as a smoot load bearing surface, and adjust the position of the castle nuts in relation to the drilled hole in a bolt. Plain washers are used under a lockwasher to prevent damage to a surface.

Cotter pins are mostly used on custom aircraft, and can be made from stainless steel or plated with cadmium. Cotter pins are used for safetying and securing bolts, screws, nuts, and other pins.

When purchasing hardware, make sure that it is aircraft-grade. Hardware like fasteners is technically legal for experimental aircraft, but it should not even be considered for usage. This is because components used in aviation go through far greater stresses in terms of heat, weight, and corrosion than those for automobiles. Common steel bolts, for instance, have a tensile strength of roughly 50,000 to 60,000 psi, have very little corrosion protection. Aircraft bolts are made from corrosion resistant steel and are heat-treated to have a strength of 125,000 psi and higher. There are numerous standards for hardware specifications, both civilian and military, such as the Air Force-Navy, Military Standard, and National Aerospace Standards. Always check with your manufacturer’s recommendations on what they want you to use on the aircraft.

At ASAP Aviation Supplies, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the hardware for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaviationsupplies.com or call us at 1-720-923-2840.


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Lighting is a critical part of ensuring an aircraft’s safety in low-visibility conditions, such as night or inclement weather. Numerous regulations placed by international conventions government agencies like the Federal Aviation Authority and the European Aviation Safety Agency dictate their placement, numbers, and brightness.

One of the most critical roles for exterior lights on aircraft is increasing visibility of the aircraft to other pilots while in flight and to ground traffic while maneuvering in an aerodrome. These lights consist of a set of navigation lights placed on the leading edge of the wingtips, red on the left/port wingtip, green on the right/starboard wingtip, and a white light on the aircraft’s tail. Rotating or flashing beacon lights are also installed on the top and bottom of the fuselage, as well as strobes at the trailing edges of the wingtips. While incandescent lightbulbs have been used in the past, modern lights now use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to provide illumination. All navigation lights are turned on before the engines are turned on and remain on until the engines are powered off.

The next category of lights is designed for pilot visibility during pre-flight inspections, taxiing, takeoff, and landing. Wing inspection lights are mounted on the fuselage and facing towards the leading edge and engine pylons and turned on during preflight inspections. While the aircraft taxis to the runway, taxi and runway turnoff lights on the nose landing gear provide illumination and ensure the aircraft has a clear path. During landing, high intensity lights are used to illuminate the runway surface, and make sure other pilots can see the aircraft. These lights can be mounted on the wings or extend and retract from a cavity in the aircraft’s fuselage.

Other types of lights have more specific uses. Commercial airliners will often mount lights facing towards the airline’s logo on the tailfin; these lights are technically optional, but most pilots leave them on for increased visibility of their aircraft. Search and rescue aircraft mount high-intensity searchlights to spot survivors in need of help, and military aircraft make use of formation lights to help facilitate flying in formation during nighttime.

At ASAP Aviation Supplies, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the exterior lights for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapaviationsupplies.com or call us at +1-720-923-2840.


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