On Wed, 05 Jan 2005 21:54:03 +0100, Christian Mayer

> Well, I've seen the manuals that come with an A310 - box of roughly
> 1m * 0.5m * folder-height (probably larger) full with overfilled folders.
> I just had a quick look into the papers. I could only find pages that
> didn't tell me anything :(

Six or seven years ago I worked on Boeing's eMOD system to produce its
manuals.  There are dozens of manual types for airliners and commuter
planes.  Here are some of the more common ones, from memory:

AIPC: Aircraft Illustrated Parts Catalog
AMM: Aircraft Maintenance Manual
ARD: Aircraft Recovery Document
CMM: Component Maintenance Manuals
FIM: Fault Isolation Manual
FRM: Fault Reporting Manual
NDTM: Non-Destructive Test Manual

and so on and so on.  Many of these contain detailed technical
drawings.  In North America, the majority of aircraft technical
manuals are covered by the ATA 100 and ATA 2100 specifications.  Some,
like the AMM, can run to tens or hundreds of thousands of pages.  The
engines will have their own, separate set of manuals, and some of the
avionics systems might have them as well.

For small planes, the situation is a little different.  I think that
the FAA started mandating the POH  in the early 1970's, with its
standard collection of performance data, procedures, etc.  Before
that, a plane might come with an owner's manual or something similar,
but it was usually haphazard -- you'll often see owners of 1960's or
earlier planes posting to mailing lists trying to get basic
performance information.  In addition to the POH, most planes have a
parts catalogue and a maintenance manual available (I have both on
CD-ROM for my Warrior) -- these include technical drawings of many
parts of the airplane close up and are extremely valuable, but they
can also be a bit expensive.  Again, the engine will have its own
operator's manual, maintenance manual, and parts catalogue (I have the
operator's manual and parts catalogue for my Lycoming O-320-D3G, but
not the maintenance manual).  In a small plane, *every* avionics
component will have its own operator's, installation, and maintenance
manual, but these are often hard to find (some of the newer
Bendix-King manuals are available online in PDF, mainly for the Silver
Crown series).

One common reference source is Jane's All the World's Aircraft, a huge
reference book published every year and costing hundreds of dollars
new (you can get used copies on eBay or Amazon for less than $100,
sometimes).  The book contains basic information on all the planes in
production in any given year, including 3-views (but not for every
plane) and some performance information (but not quite enough).  Your
local library probably has a copy you can use.  Don't bother with the
little softcover Jane's books -- they don't have much that's useful.

All the best,



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