Aviation rotable parts are the components of an aircraft that need to be rotated at regularly scheduled intervals. For example, once an aircraft has conducted a given number of landings, the tires, an example of a rotable component, need to be replaced. Whether it's a tire, oil filter, or other such component, rotables may also need to be replaced before reaching the length of their normal service life if there is unusual damage to them.
Commercial airlines and many other companies in the aviation industry are expected to maintain a stock of rotables. The amount they must keep is known as the recommended scale and is a value supplied by the manufacturer. However, for major components like aircraft engines, which are not considered rotables, there may still be the need for replacement in the event that an entire engine is damaged due to a bird strike, other debris, or any number of reasons. As such, entire engines are also included in the recommended scale for airlines or operating companies. When the time comes for a rotable to be replaced, the aircraft downtime is linked to the actual time needed to remove and replace the part. Some rotables take only an hour or two to replace, but an entire engine could of course take days.
In some cases, certain rotables do not need to be replaced immediately, even if they are not functional. Such rotables are specified on the ‘minimum equipment list,’ which denotes the minimum equipment needed to safely fly an aircraft and how a missing part could affect that. For example, it is ok to fly with a non-functioning radio, as long as there is a backup communication system. Nevertheless, rotables on the minimum equipment list, like all rotables, should be replaced as soon as possible to ensure the continued airworthiness of your aircraft.
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