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BlenderPilot
6th Apr 2006, 16:26
I am one who believes that an old airplane is just as safe as a new one if properly maintained and crewed.

I understand for example Northwest operates a fleet that is 26 years old on average, and Japan Air Lines also has some really old stuff too, and doesn't make them any less safe.

I would really appreciate if somebody could point me towards some statistics in regards to this matter, for example who operates the oldest fleets, and maybe accident rate vs. fleet age.

Thank you very much in advance.

G-CPTN
6th Apr 2006, 16:33
accident rate vs. fleet age.
From a purely statistical point of view, won't this be distorted by companies whose ethos is 'saving expense' (ie older a/c and a temptation to be economical on maintenance)?

acbus1
6th Apr 2006, 16:37
As to the original question, no idea, I regret.

But I do know that older aeroplanes are more robustly built and, very importantly, much easier to sort out if something goes wrong. They'll also keep flying when everything is caput. From personal experience, they're definitely more reliable.

They also keep one in much better practice with the basic flying skills.

And, as I said somewhere else, there's a lot more satisfaction in operating a needles and dials aeroplane to a good level of safety, comfort and efficiency than these computer festooned things we fly these days.


Sorry.......bit off topic I guess. :O

G-CPTN
6th Apr 2006, 16:43
I do know that older aeroplanes are more robustly built and, very importantly, much easier to sort out if something goes wrong. They'll also keep flying when everything is caput. From personal experience, they're definitely more reliable.
They also keep one in much better practice with the basic flying skills.
And, as I said somewhere else, there's a lot more satisfaction in operating a needles and dials aeroplane to a good level of safety, comfort and efficiency than these computer festooned things we fly these days.
Maybe we should all be travelling in DC3s?

acbus1
6th Apr 2006, 16:48
Maybe the fact that so many DC3's are still flying supports some of my views.

Maybe I'm just an old [email protected] who yearns for "the good old days".

In fifty years, maybe the old [email protected] of that era will be pining for the Airbuses of today......before the new fangled teleportation started. :uhoh:

Morbid
6th Apr 2006, 16:53
Nahhh Feathers glued to arms before jumping off high buildings....

Onan the Clumsy
6th Apr 2006, 17:05
Woof!


Loose Rivets, care to comment?...

zarniwoop
6th Apr 2006, 17:09
I don't see any reason why older aircraft shouldn't carry on operating, so long as the aircraft is within limits for fatigue, engine life etc. then have them carry on.

Dakotas, now your talking :ok:

Bring back flying boats and airships I say.

Sultan Ismail
6th Apr 2006, 17:34
Good point
So where are the Viscounts, Vanguards, Comets and Concordes of yesteryear?

The Douglas DC-3 flies on....

Sammie_nl
6th Apr 2006, 18:09
I am one who believes that an old airplane is just as safe as a new one if properly maintained and crewed.

You already answered your own question. If properly maintained and crewed. The only problem is that some of the older aircraft fly with dodgier operations which in turn gives older aircraft a bad name.

Now, old airplanes, properly maintained are probably just as safe. But its more expencive to maintain them. Spare parts are harder to get hold of, they need more attention because of the number of flying hours. Stuff like that.
As the vallue of older planes goes down, its more attractive for dodgy operations to operate them. And as dodgy operations go, fly in more difficult enviroments and maintain less good to compensate for the higher operating costs.

Dakota one example, maybe Russian aircraft another example...

Onan the Clumsy
6th Apr 2006, 18:16
Now, old airplanes, properly maintained are probably just as safe.Not necessarily. If you went back far enough, you'ld find a design from before they really understood about cg, or rudder size or some other resonably important piece of aeronautical engineering knowledge.


In any event, at some point the discussion is moot, because the airframes are designed to fulfill a task and even if you did fly a DC3, I doubt you'd make it across the Atlantic in one.

Cool_Hand
6th Apr 2006, 18:28
It was touched on above, but fatigue is the biggest factor on the life of an aircraft. Most are designed for a certain amount of cycles (whether it's take off and landing or pressurisations etc.) and the calculations will provide a margin of safety. If this margin of safety is 0 then any flying performed after the set amount of hours runs the risk of the aircraft falling apart, (i.e. Comet). Older aircraft are tougher and will fly for longer as the techniques in manufacture of the material were not as good or consistant between batches, so the engineers had greater levels of conservatism in their calcs, and hence have underestimated the structural performance. Modern aircraft use materials that can be consistantly reproduced to within 5% of expected limits so the conservatism drops, though still very much on the conservative side of things.
Sorry but I don't have any stats at the moment.

barit1
6th Apr 2006, 20:46
No, older aircraft are not AUTOMATICALLY unsafe. I'd love to ride a C-54 across the pond once if only to relive Gann's career! :ok:

But the point about dodgy airlines is certainly valid.


...
In any event, at some point the discussion is moot, because the airframes are designed to fulfill a task and even if you did fly a DC3, I doubt you'd make it across the Atlantic in one.

I once met a Canadian who flew a Waco troop glider across the pond in tow behind a C-47. They made several pit stops along the way, though...

G-CPTN
6th Apr 2006, 20:59
They made several pit stops along the way, though...
Tankers? Or Carriers . . . :uhoh:

BenThere
6th Apr 2006, 22:04
Douglas built the toughest airplanes. My first captain slot was on the DC-8 and I know first hand it could take a helluva firm landing; I mean a Helluva firm landing. Northwest has survived substantially on the durability of its DC-9s. Virtually all of the airplanes competing against Douglas' DC models are gone, yet the 3s, 8s, 9s and 10s fly on. When I flew the 8, it had no cycle limitations.

Heavy check maintenance requirements assure an airworthy frame regardless of age.

PC-6
6th Apr 2006, 22:09
But I do know that older aeroplanes are more robustly built and, very importantly, much easier to sort out if something goes wrong. They'll also keep flying when everything is caput.

You mean "old design" I guess. Cos a brand new Islander usually looks pretty smart, but under the shiny paint hides the tank the Islander truly is. And I fully agree with what you said.

Loose rivets
6th Apr 2006, 23:26
Mmmm....one remembers the DC3 very clearly. Having started on it as a f.o. in the early 60s, I went back to it for my first command. I thought that it would be wonderful, back in a regional airline operating from a small airfield. Ugh!

Blackness..........impenetrable blackness, the vast reaches of the North sea at 05: sparrow's fart.
Dash dash dash dash...........dot dot dot dot....... The feint bleeps from the Consul sp? In Norway. A huge map with the radials centered on Stavanger filled the flight-deck, and coffee stains would always cover the tiny patch that you desperately needed.

One morning I complained of bitter cold. My mate looked across at me in the gloom. He said he was fine, quite warm and cosy thank you. I was in fur lined boots and submarine captain's sweater under a huge gabardine raincoat. I was dying of cold. Finally I turned the squitty spot light onto my chest. It was covered in ice. A tiny cone of white mist was spraying from the DV window. My fault, I hadn't screwed the damn thing up enough.

Oh, those frozen wet sandwiches and the mud dressed up as coffee.

I suppose the funniest thing was when I was picked to take an inaugural flight, with the press and other dignitaries on board. Aaahh, I cringe when I think about it. Shortly after takeoff, one of our managers came into the flight deck and said that our lassie was calling for me. I said something like, ‘can't she come here?' He said, with a strange look on his face, ‘no...she's busy holding the door closed.'

She was a big and beautiful young lady, 'usually looked a bit like Superwoman....but not at that moment. She was on her bum with her feet high up on the sides, pulling on the door handle. All thirty odd dignified heads were looking at her legs. We had to go back to base to get it fixed, and of course the press had a field day.

There were fun days of course. Lovely summers evenings flying at 1,500 ft along the coastline. Hairy flying into the Shetlands, with men from the ministry of oil, telling the men from the ministry of planes, to back off a little...we needed that oil.

con-pilot
6th Apr 2006, 23:43
Loose, happened to me as well, except there was no one back there to hold the door close. We were dead-heading.

I sent the co-pilot (sorry, FO) back to see what was going on after hearing a 'bang'. He came back and said "The G-- Da-- door is open!". I asked him if he tried to close it and he replied that he wasn't paid enough to even try. (Good point.)

Anyway, the safety chains held and we returned and landed.


Ben, what you said holds true with the piston powered airliners that are still flying from that age. There are still a number of DC-4s, DC-6s and DC-7s still flying around the world. All one has to do is go to Miami (KMIA) at night and watch them come and go.

tinpis
6th Apr 2006, 23:45
In fifty years, maybe the old [email protected] of that era will be pining for the Airbuses of today......before the new fangled teleportation started.



http://fototime.com/%7BBE7231A5-DC19-4852-A3D7-31CC0ACA4B2D%7D/picture.JPG

Howard Hughes
6th Apr 2006, 23:46
Bring back flying boats and airships I say.
Yeh me too, anyone wanna buy a flying boat? One owner and very, very low mileage.....:ok:

Ultranomad
7th Apr 2006, 01:12
Here are two flying boats currently in production (Russian Be-200 and Be-200ChS)
http://www.airliners.net/open.file/0780186/L/

acbus1
7th Apr 2006, 07:49
http://fototime.com/%7BBE7231A5-DC19-4852-A3D7-31CC0ACA4B2D%7D/picture.JPG

I wonder.........

What if I placed an ad for young women to go back in time with me.......:E

G-CPTN
7th Apr 2006, 12:12
"Do you believe in the hereafter?"
"What do you mean?"
"If you're not hereafter what I'm hereafter, you'll be hereafter I'm gone . . . "

Kolibear
7th Apr 2006, 12:21
Rumour has it that you can kill yourself just as dead in a DC-3 as you can in an A380.

G-CPTN
7th Apr 2006, 12:28
Maybe but it's a classic end to life's story.

Mr Pax
7th Apr 2006, 19:49
I would feel much safer flying in an older aircraft at least they were not made with lumps of delaminating plastic!!!:sad:

MP

barit1
7th Apr 2006, 20:12
I much prefer wood & fabric. :)

con-pilot
7th Apr 2006, 20:27
Rumour has it that you can kill yourself just as dead in a DC-3 as you can in an A380.

Someone said years ago that you can kill yourself just as dead in a little slow airplane as you can in a big fast airplane, the only difference is that you kill yourself slower in the little slow airplane.

pigboat
8th Apr 2006, 02:09
Trivia tidbit:
A DC-3 would not be certifiable by today's standards. The aircraft doesn't have a stall warning system. :D

Jerricho
8th Apr 2006, 02:11
Sure they do..........the duck and cat approach :ok:

Dorfer
8th Apr 2006, 02:28
To my knowledge the DC-3 has never had a structrural failure - that is unless ya hit something hard.

heloangel
8th Apr 2006, 02:45
i agree with you.many airlines as BA have old plans and are very safe.The bad thing about Japan airlines is that their crew is so worried about customer service they know little about safety..

pigboat
8th Apr 2006, 03:14
The duck might make a go of it, but the cat'd probably go through the prop when ya chucked it out the window. :uhoh: :D

seacue
8th Apr 2006, 08:20
Didn't a Frontier Airlines DC-3 come home minus a few feet of one wing? Left it on a Rocky Mountain. Flying west from Denver in unpressurized airliners meant knowing something about valleys. One didn't fly over the 16,000-ft peaks.

That's the old Frontier, not related to the present airline of that name as far as I know.

Shaggy Sheep Driver
8th Apr 2006, 15:27
Passenger about to board an ancient DC3 addresses the Captain, who is greeting his passengers ta the foot of the steps:

"Sir, this aeroplane looks very old. Is it safe to fly?"

"Sure", says the boss. "How do you think it got to be so old?"

Atlas Shrugged
11th Apr 2006, 04:55
We may be old, but we're sturdy ;)

FormerFlake
11th Apr 2006, 07:44
You tell the USAF and RAF the old is unsafe:

B52, B1B, KC135s (and other variants), Nimrod, Orion, Canberra, Dominie, VC10 to name but a few old girls.

radeng
11th Apr 2006, 13:17
My understanding is that unpressurised 'planes like the DC3 don't build up the fuselage fatigues that the pressurised ones do. So an old Comet, for example, has much more potential to let you down (literally) from fatigue failure than the DC3. On this basis, I wonder what the REAL costs of the RAF's VC10 and TriStars is.......
There are reports that Vietnam era C130s are prone to have nasty corrosion in the wing somewhere that's very hard to get at. An operator cutting corners could have a nasty shock - although not as much as the poor crew.

ContinentalC85
11th Apr 2006, 14:29
Well I know it's only a small aeroplane , but my old Luscombe is 60 years old in October .
Sat nav - Garmin 89 and Fly by wire ( the wires do from the rudder pedals right back to the rudder etc )
And it's older than me...

chuks
11th Apr 2006, 19:58
I once had a short spell as the human autopilot on a 'Greasy Three.' The (ex-Navy) Captain would do the stuff that required some skill, taking off and landing on cross-wind strips in the Bahamas, while I impersonated a rather basic three-axis autopilot during the non-skilled phases of flight.

He could make that thing sit up and talk! I was already headed in another direction, though, so that I did not burden him with any attempts to burnish my skills in the DC-3 department.

Then later I checked out as an FE on a DC-7. But again, just to get the qualification for a job in Africa. I would have liked to get to grips with these two relics but it was not to be.

Just for the record, several DC-3s have succumbed to fatigue. The join outboard of the nacelles has been known to give way and the old bird just doesn't fly very well on one wing! So much for conventional wisdom about how stoutly it was built!

con-pilot
11th Apr 2006, 20:56
chuks

Just for the record, several DC-3s have succumbed to fatigue. The join outboard of the nacelles has been known to give way and the old bird just doesn't fly very well on one wing! So much for conventional wisdom about how stoutly it was built!

Back in the early 80s we had the lowest time DC-3 in world (as far as we ascertain). When we purchased the DC-3 it had less than 3,000 hours total time since manufacture in 1944. When we sold it it had about 3,200 hours.

There was an AD note out for the fault that you posted. I researched the AD and the modification was due at (I think) at 10,000 hours. So I decided that we didn't have to comply and we went on our Mary way. Then one day a very nice gentleman (seriously) that was retired from the FAA came by and asked to look at our DC-3 because he had heard that it was the lowest time DC-3.

As he walked around the airplane he noticed that the wing joints had not been modified. He asked me why the mod had not been done, I replied that it was not due for another 7,000 some odd hours so why do the mod.

Well it turned out that he was the guy that wrote the AD note and that there was a time limit of 20 years as well. We went into my office and I got the AD note and way in the back at the end of the note was the 20 year limit, I had just missed it.

He told me that the time limit had been added to the AD as afterthought because no one believed that a DC-3 could fly for over 20 years and not pass 10,000 hours.

So now we had to find someone that had the parts and could do the mod. It took a while but we found a company in Birmingham, Alabama that found the kit in their warehouse and they did the work.

As far as know that DC-3 is still flying somewhere in Europe, Switzerland I think.

pigboat
12th Apr 2006, 00:38
I know of one DC-3 that through a similar oversight didn't have that mod incorporated, and they lost a wing. It didn't help any that this aircraft had spent many seasons on skis, consequently the piss had been pounded out of it.

Speaking of DC-3 and skis, this (www.avcanada.ca/albums/displayimage.php?album=1&pos=10) isn't what you'd like to see when you call gear down, ski down.
:uhoh:

Edited to add: For those that remember Duke Elegant and the lobster bomber, there's a couple of pics on there of him and the aircraft in question, after he landed on Marthas Vinyard. There's sure a lotta oil in a C-117. :ooh:

AnEviltwinEr
12th Apr 2006, 01:46
http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9017/b26flak5uh.jpg

So much for the "older is better."

Loose rivets
12th Apr 2006, 06:03
Why has nobody said this already?

Are older airplanes automatically unsafe??
No. You have to crash them manually.....boom, boom.


The huge flange round the wing--with myriads of nuts and bolts, does actually hold the wing on. The spar is simply abutted at that point.

There was a book I always wished that I had bought. I saw it at a flying club NEish of Austin. It was about DC3s that had encountered...difficulties. It contained some of the most astounding photos I have ever seen.

One was of a wing that had the leading edge opened by a can opener...well, another prop actually. Another was of the one that hit the mountain. How it got back on that bit of wing I don't know.

If anyone knows where I can get a copy of this book, pleeeeeese let me know.

SyllogismCheck
12th Apr 2006, 10:32
Here's the DC3 that clipped the mountain:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/syllogismcheck/Wing.jpg

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/syllogismcheck/Wing2.jpg

And a Popular Mechanics article, from 1978, about the flight:
Page1 (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/syllogismcheck/PopMech1.jpg) Page2 (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/syllogismcheck/PopMech2.jpg) Page3 (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v249/syllogismcheck/PopMech3.jpg)

BenThere
12th Apr 2006, 13:11
There's a legend about a jokester DC 3 captain in the days when the accident rate was much closer to 1.0. Everyone, including the crew, had to enter from the aft entry door. He would:

Enter the aircraft and walk up the center aisle past the passengers reading a book with the custom-made cover jacket, "How to Fly".

Mid-flight, he would stroll the aisle reading, "How to Land".

Or he might enter the aircraft in dark glasses with a blind man's cane.

On takeoff roll he'd pull out a pocketfull of loose nuts, washers and screws and roll them down the inclined center aisle.

barit1
12th Apr 2006, 13:47
...
The huge flange round the wing--with myriads of nuts and bolts, does actually hold the wing on. The spar is simply abutted at that point.
...

More accurately, the upper and lower skins are the spar caps carrying the compression & tension loads - Jack Northrop's idea, originally used on his Alpha, Beta, and Gamma planes. It had several lightweight spar webs to hold the airfoil shape, but the loads are all transferred via the skin flanges. The Texan/Harvard has a similar multicellular structure.

glhcarl
12th Apr 2006, 17:03
http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/9017/b26flak5uh.jpg

So much for the "older is better."

The chances of the B-26 in the picture having over 500 flight hours are slim. Running in to exploding anti-aircraft shells has nothing to do with age.

AnEviltwinEr
12th Apr 2006, 21:21
The chances of the B-26 in the picture having over 500 flight hours are slim. Running in to exploding anti-aircraft shells has nothing to do with age.
Yeah, but that wouldn't have happend with a new airplane. Engines simply doesnt FALL off one!

con-pilot
12th Apr 2006, 21:26
Yeah, but that wouldn't have happend with a new airplane. Engines simply doesnt FALL off one!


How much you want to bet, stand by.:E

AnEviltwinEr
12th Apr 2006, 21:28
How much you want to bet, stand by.:E

I bet a... um .. dunno, a cookie?

con-pilot
12th Apr 2006, 21:34
Actually the only thing I ever bet is a beer, that way everyone wins.:ok:

I am looking for pictures of some accidents/incidents involving a Pan Am 707 that lost an engine (like it fell off), a DC-10 and a couple of other modern (well relatively) jet transport aircraft that I am aware of.

OH, yes how could I forget the American Airlines DC-10 accident in Chicago, very tragic accident.:(

Solid Rust Twotter
12th Apr 2006, 21:40
El Al 747 Amsterdam...:(

barit1
12th Apr 2006, 22:06
There was a 747 freighter ORD-JFK (????) that shed one over Michigan not long ago. :eek:

con-pilot
12th Apr 2006, 22:42
The more I think about it, wasn't there a JAL 747 cargo that in-flight separation of an engine over Alaska?

seacue
12th Apr 2006, 22:49
I think there was a 727 that shed an engine over Arizona. The story goes that crew thought they had shut it down, but it was gone.
=====
Edited to add that I got at least a few of the details correct.

G-CPTN
12th Apr 2006, 23:00
DC10:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_flight_191

AnEviltwinEr
12th Apr 2006, 23:15
DC10:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_flight_191

....Because lack of proper maintenace.

Onan the Clumsy
12th Apr 2006, 23:34
a 737 lost an engine on takeoff at DFW once. I remember seeing it on the news lying folornly on the runway.

IIRC, Southwest had a rear cone bolt failure on taxi that ended up with the engine draggin on the floor. I think they lost a couple of wheels too due to castle nut failures.

barit1
13th Apr 2006, 01:26
I think there was a 727 that shed an engine over Arizona. The story goes that crew thought they had shut it down, but it was gone.

NTSB Report (http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20001214X36226&key=1)

Not the first time, methinks

And here (http://www.ntsb.gov/ntsb/brief.asp?ev_id=20041028X01714&key=1) is the 2004 747 engine separation over Lake Michigan.

AnEviltwinEr
13th Apr 2006, 01:42
.... Because lack of maintenace, bad maintenace or no maintenace at all?

:rolleyes:

411A
13th Apr 2006, 03:39
I would like to find a really old B707-321 (JT4 engines), fill it to max weight, on a really hot day, taxi it down to the end of a 12,000 foot runway, hand it over to one of todays generation of newly minted First Officers (say off a B737NG, just to make it easier) and watch him make the takeoff with an outboard engine failed just at rotation...with a 30 knot gusting crosswind.
Of course, the yaw damper had to be off for this, as required by the checklist.

The expression on his face at 400 feet (which takes a lot longer than you might expect)....priceless.

Then, once fuel had been dumped, the return for landing would be attempted.

The expression on his face, at 500 feet on final with the same 30 knot gusting crosswind (yes, yaw damper off), would also be priceless....times 2.

Some might pine for the old days, and indeed I have flown some of the older propeller designs (Douglas and Lockheed), but the (then) newly minted long body early Boeing jets were nothing to write home about.

The handling qualities were so bad by todays standards, that credit must surely be given to those folks who, at that time, directly off the likes of DC-6's and Constellations, didn't crash more often.

I personally operated this design later on after sale from legacy airlines, and yes, the handling qualities were as bad as their prior reputation.

But.....FUN, nevertheless:ok:

AnEviltwinEr
13th Apr 2006, 03:46
The handling qualities were so bad by todays standards, that credit must surely be given to those folks who, at that time, directly off the likes of DC-6's and Constellations, didn't crash more often.

:D:D

and i bellive the safety graph is pretty bad for those. There is a reason that very few of theese aircrafts are left flying, or as dustcollectors in museums.

tinpis
13th Apr 2006, 04:43
DC3s operated for so long is because they dont have a main spar to screw up.
Outboard mainplane panels use longerons.
The reason old pilots wax on about them fondly is they know they never gonna be asked to fly in em again :hmm:

barit1
13th Apr 2006, 13:37
As in ANY case, it's the pilot/plane matchup that primarily determines the safety level.

A pilot who has flown only tri-gear aircraft will find himself in over his head the first time out in a taildragger. In fact, I think a pilot not exposed to taildragger handling before age 35 may never develop the necessary reflexes to prevent a groundloop. (Remember when "conventional landing gear" referred to a tailwheel aircraft?)

On the other hand my father soloed at age 20 in a taildragger, NEVER groundlooped one, and still handled one competently at age 92.

And I would be highly unsafe in an EFIS aircraft - at least for the first few hours.

411A
13th Apr 2006, 16:32
Aside from the uneconomic viability fuel-wise of operating these early Boeing aircraft, they were not as robust as some would like to believe.

Fuselage crown skins began to severely crack just above the forward and rear entry doors early on, and needed reinforcing straps (first) followed by re-skinning later.
Upper wing skins were a problem area as well with cracking, and needed replacement.
Corrosion was another matter indeed, and huge problems in this area as well, led to retirement as soon as the fan-powered varients were available.

With early types, the good 'ole days were not as good ....as possibly remembered.

Loose rivets
14th Apr 2006, 06:29
When ‘one' was home last summer, tire maintenance saw me in my local ‘buy a tire from us, and we'll blow it up for you." store, an old acquaintance had been made manager.

We got talking, and he told me of a time that he was working on the side of Gibralter's runway. It seems that there is, or was, a several foot drop on the edge of the main strip.

He watched as a British Eagle Britannia (his recollection, cos if it was BEIA I don't remember this incident) circled to land. He popped his head up again just as the aircraft touched down, only to see an engine detach itself and career towards him. It stopped in time, and so did the Brit's outermost port tire. 8" from the edge.

Anyone else know of this incident?

The old chief pilot of BEIA told of a time that he landed a Viking? there. It had been gusty, and he was glad they were down. As he started to taxi in, he looked round at the crew. ( no doubt numerous in that vast cockpit.) There were expressions of sheer horror and he looked forward, only to see that they were 50' in the air again. A story I tend to believe.

vapilot2004
14th Apr 2006, 07:28
Are older airplanes automatically unsafe??

Not so long as you have an 'older' pilot at the controls :}


:ok:

tinpis
14th Apr 2006, 07:39
Old aeroplanes and even new ones are unsafe if maintained by accountants.:hmm:

stevef
14th Apr 2006, 13:14
Enough of these libellous comments about the DC3! :)

The wing structure and attachments are extremely sound as long as proper inspection and maintenance procedures are adhered to. If I remember correctly, the last wing structural failure (in Canada some years ago) was caused by incorrect interpretation of X-ray plates by an NDT company, allowing a 15" crack to propagate to 36". I believe also that the Douglas doubler SBs had not been complied with. Hardly the aircraft's fault.

I've lost count of the scheduled DC3 wing pulls I've been involved with, as well as internal inspections and AD/SB compliance, and have never seen cracked lower wing skin doublers. As long as maintenance programmes are followed, I don't see any reason to consider the DC3 – or any 'mature' unpressurised aircraft – unsafe.

Regarding wing construction, the DC3 does have spars (three of 'em), although they don't bolt directly on to each other. Like Loose Rivets and barit1 said, the wing is held to the centre section by ¼" bolts around the chord-line flanges: a floating rib, spar-end compression plates, waffle plates and rubber pads carry the loads between the two.

Btw, I know several examples of DC3 Atlantic crossings via Iceland and Greenland in not-so-distant times. Be nice to the engines and they'll be nice to you. Can't vouch for the heating, though!

Sorry to ramble on; the Dak's my favourite ex-girlfriend.

chuks
15th Apr 2006, 17:07
Your girlfriend and I didn't spend much time together and I really don't miss her anyway. Among other things:

The DC-3 had hydraulic windscreen wipers. They would drip H-5606 steadily, thus lubricating my already greasy trousers.

There was no stall warning device but it could get your attention even so. I went out for my right-seat check with the Boss from Hell ('You young guys! was his catch-phrase, since I was only pushing 33 years.) He seemed to think I was afraid of the airplane, so that he told me to hold it to a full break on the stall. 'No problem, Boss!' The next thing you knew, there we were knife-edge, sliding downhill towards the Everglades. He got much quieter with me after that! There was no pre-stall rumble, shudder, squawking or peeping, just a nice, abrupt break and a biiig wing drop.

I don't know if they were all that way but on ours I had to fill each engine with 5 gallons of SAE 50 straight mineral oil, one jerry-can each side, on each turn-around out in the Bahamas after a one-hour leg out from Miami. That didn't seem right, somehow, even for round engines. I used to keep back a couple of grey polka-dotted, once-white shirts for DC-3 duty because of this.

The Boss from Hell seemed to think headsets were for sissies, so that he went naked. I used to wear my David Clarks, when I could hear him shouting just as well over the racket of the engines at full chat. That thing must have been about 120 dBA in the cockpit. No wonder all those old guys I knew used to shout all the time, same way I tend to now.

411A
16th Apr 2006, 02:05
>>I don't know if they were all that way but on ours I had to fill each engine with 5 gallons of SAE 50 straight mineral oil....<<

Not surprised.
The engine, in tropical climates especially, used SAE 60W oil.

chuks
16th Apr 2006, 10:15
Which engine would that be then, the starboard one or the port one?

If I knew that maniac who was running the airplane it was probably a mixture of whatever was going cheap over at the FBO. 'Motor Honey' and sewing machine oil, say. He didn't seem to be too exercised about this or that technical spec. Could well have been SAE 60W for all I knew, since it came in unmarked 5-gallon jerry-cans and I just assumed it to be straight SAE 50. The engines seemed to be leaking much more oil than they were burning so that I don't think the viscosity really came into it.

It certainly made a difference from modern turbine engines where oil consumption over one quart in ten hours or so is cause for concern.

The cockpit had a certain aroma, 'stink' you could even call it if you were not caught up in the romance of the DC-3, a mixture of said H-5606 (did I get that right, at least?), sweat, leather, exhaust gas, fuel, tobacco smoke (my ex-Navy guy used to burn his way through two packs of 20 on a round trip to Treasure Cay) and light overtones of puke. Much later I went to have a look at a modern jet (well, a Sud Aviation Caravelle, but never mind) and there was that same smell. You just do not get that in later types, I find.

It is a funny thing about skills transference, but I found that I could call those engines into life without undue trouble after having had a few British motorcycles in a previous life.

You know all that business about 'tickling' the carburettors, posing the engine just after TDC, kicking in a way that would ensure not going into orbit with a backfire, all just to get your Norton 750 Atlas to run, if not to idle... it was sort of like that with the round engines for the DC-3, when you had to prime it but not too much, set the throttle just so, count through a certain number of blades, turn on just one magneto, catch it just so when it coughed and then cajole it into idling after first wiping out a whole generation of mosquitoes with a big blue cloud of oil smoke. It was nothing like starting a PT-6, that was for sure. And these modern FADEC thingies... boring! Push button, watch gauges, ho-hum.

chandlers dad
18th Aug 2006, 17:25
I would like to find a really old B707-321 (JT4 engines), fill it to max weight, on a really hot day, taxi it down to the end of a 12,000 foot runway, hand it over to one of todays generation of newly minted First Officers (say off a B737NG, just to make it easier) and watch him make the takeoff with an outboard engine failed just at rotation...with a 30 knot gusting crosswind.
Of course, the yaw damper had to be off for this, as required by the checklist.
The expression on his face at 400 feet (which takes a lot longer than you might expect)....priceless.
Then, once fuel had been dumped, the return for landing would be attempted.
The expression on his face, at 500 feet on final with the same 30 knot gusting crosswind (yes, yaw damper off), would also be priceless....times 2.
Some might pine for the old days, and indeed I have flown some of the older propeller designs (Douglas and Lockheed), but the (then) newly minted long body early Boeing jets were nothing to write home about.
The handling qualities were so bad by todays standards, that credit must surely be given to those folks who, at that time, directly off the likes of DC-6's and Constellations, didn't crash more often.
I personally operated this design later on after sale from legacy airlines, and yes, the handling qualities were as bad as their prior reputation.
But.....FUN, nevertheless:ok:


Something close to what you are talking about happened at an airport near my house. DVT, Phoenix Deer Valley, they did the "fuel additive" test where they crashed a 707 or DC-8 loaded with the "new improved" fuel to see how it burned. There was a bit of wind and the guy flying it by remote control overcorrected during landing and one wing tip came in a bit early.

The test was a success, the airplane crashed and burned, just as fast as with normal jet fuel, so the additive was not very helpful.

Personally I am happy to fly my 60 year old wood and fabric taildragger. It sure sharpens up my landings in the jet! :)

pvmw
18th Aug 2006, 19:29
I'm rather surprised no-one has posted a link to this.............
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/dakotaonroof.shtml]

pigboat
19th Aug 2006, 01:32
Old aeroplanes and even new ones are unsafe if maintained by accountants.:hmm:
You figure this (www.airliners.net/open.file/0174114/M/) could be an example of "maintenance by accountant?" :E

Loose rivets
19th Aug 2006, 07:19
Mmm...good job that was not an American house.

Brick built them....the DC3 that is.


One....with one's DC3
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v703/walnaze/ItsapropBrian.jpg

Oh yes, and from the old Pop Speller's notes. £3 and all the right answers. Something about you have to (crank it outside with the handle and ) MESH in the cockpit.

How can I remember a name from 1959 but not yesterday?

Civis
19th Aug 2006, 09:48
Rotorcraft manufacturers have an annoying habit of not supporting perfectly good airframes when they decide to bring new models to market. Either make the parts cost prohibitive or so scare that supply is unreliable.

Most irksome is when the NEW models haven't been fully vetted. Believe Airbus is currently in this pickle?

Conundrum: Your current airframe depreciates due to lack of product support and the brand new A-Model XYZ makes you an unwitting test pilot flying a research project.

Answer to question: As stated by many of you, if the design is sound and the machine properly maintained / operated then safety should not be an issue.