Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Flight Deck Forums > Rumours & News
Reload this Page >

Highest time airframe ever

Rumours & News Reporting Points that may affect our jobs or lives as professional pilots. Also, items that may be of interest to professional pilots.

Highest time airframe ever

Old 27th Apr 2019, 23:34
  #81 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: South Alabama
Age: 69
Posts: 321
Thanks.

Originally Posted by DaveReidUK View Post
See post #52.
I missed that one. I sit corrected.

have a great weekend.
Old Boeing Driver is offline  
Old 27th Apr 2019, 23:43
  #82 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: kc, mo
Posts: 11
Originally Posted by stilton View Post



142 thousand hours is the highest I’ve heard, impressive, if I remember correctly after that volcanic ash encounter that aircraft required significant repairs, rework and general ‘TLC’ to restore it to flight status


Perhaps that was a factor in its longevity, being brought back to a fairly new standard ?


Curious to know about the highest time DC8’s as well, the re-engined CFM airframes went on a long, long time
Like a car in a wreck it loses value. My guess after insurance paid to repair they "ran it till the wheels (wings) fell off" because it lost its value to be resold.
bhunt95 is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 00:51
  #83 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: USA
Age: 55
Posts: 201
Originally Posted by snooky View Post

ISS will be around 180000 hours now, young compared to Voyager 1 at about 360000 hours.
Yeah, but it’s the cycles that really count.
When either of those craft reach “one”, they’re out of the running

Last edited by 421dog; 28th Apr 2019 at 02:28.
421dog is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 01:01
  #84 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 64
Posts: 2,545
Originally Posted by WHBM View Post
My understanding is that it's not the airframe itself that is the principal reason for retirement (and it not having any operational secondhand value), but all the fittings, the wiring especially, the control runs, the need for cabin refreshes, the IFE becoming outmoded, etc. This becomes cumulative over many of these items as time passes, and progressively impacts on dispatch reliability. It particularly applies where some of the hundreds of initial suppliers of these smaller components have gone out of business over the years, and spares and support for them becomes increasingly expensive or difficult.
Short answer, it's everything. Back in the 707 days, aircraft were designed for about 20 years, 60,000 hrs (if you do the math that's about 8 hours/day average utilization). Some of the European authorities certified to something called 'Safe Life' - basically when the airframe reached that number of hours or cycles, it was effectively grounded. Eventually though, some operators wanted to keep flying high time aircraft past those limits, despite some crashes due to fatigue related structural failures, The FAA and other authorities, with the cooperation of the airframers, looked at what it would take to keep an aircraft flying safely past it's 'design lifetime'. Eventually the idea of 'design lifetime' and 'safe life' were discarded - the position now days is that you can keep flying an airframe indefinitely - IF it's properly inspected and maintained - and enhanced inspection and maintenance procedures were developed and published to support the operation of very high hour/cycle aircraft.
Obviously these maintenance and inspection requirements go far beyond primary structure. While this part didn't get much press, TWA 800 was (at the time) one of the highest time aircraft ever - over 100,000 hours - which no doubt contributed to the wiring issues that are believed to have causing the fuel tank explosion.
At some point, the additional costs related to the extra maintenance and higher fuel burn make it uneconomical to keep flying an old aircraft instead of investing in something newer. OTOH, lots of seriously old DC-3s, 727s, 737-100/200, DC-10s, and 747-100/200/SP are still plying the skies - either in specialized roles (I was just in Las Vegas, there is a 747SP parked there that is apparently used by one of the big casinos to ferry in some of the high roller types), or operating in areas where the labor costs are low and regulatory oversight is rather lax...

Last edited by tdracer; 28th Apr 2019 at 01:19. Reason: fixed some typos
tdracer is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 01:16
  #85 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 6,019
I got the impression that DC-3 was rather overbuilt which has contributed to its longevity - still a few in commercial operation at, what, 85 years since first flight? Most remaining airframes must be circa 80 years old, albeit the commercially operated may be Basler conversions. Think I noted an R-1830 powered survey DC-3 transiting through UK on FR24 earlier this year.
treadigraph is online now  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 07:50
  #86 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 592
The DC3 was very over built because back in those days aircraft designers didn't know how cheap they could go and still be safe. By the 1960s more was known about stress and fatigue in metals which enabled newer designs to be made lighter and to cost less while still meeting requirements.

Old airframes are often suitable for low utilisation specialised roles such as water bombing, oil slick dispersal, engine test platforms etc. The capital cost is very low, spares are usually still cheaply available, lots of down time is available for the increased maintenance and with low hours being flown, the higher fuel consumption isn't significant.

The January issue of "Airliner World" had a story about a B737-200 being operated in the freight role in the Philippines, it only operated between Cebu and the capital Manila with a round trip time of under three hours, most of the day was spent on the ground where maintenance was available and the basic analogue flight deck was perfectly up to the task.
krismiler is online now  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 10:23
  #87 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: London UK
Posts: 6,283
Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
I got the impression that DC-3 was rather overbuilt which has contributed to its longevity - still a few in commercial operation at, what, 85 years since first flight? Most remaining airframes must be circa 80 years old, albeit the commercially operated may be Basler conversions. Think I noted an R-1830 powered survey DC-3 transiting through UK on FR24 earlier this year.
Only peripheral to what we are discussing, but hopefully of interest to our audience, is that a huge get-together of DC-3s is coming in Europe soon as part of the 75th D-Day celebrations, gathering and setting off from Duxford in the days leading up to 5 June there, and subsequently in France. I believe there is an escorted group of participants coming over the Atlantic from the US and Canada.

https://www.daksovernormandy.com/home/
WHBM is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 10:56
  #88 (permalink)  
Drain Bamaged
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Earth
Age: 52
Posts: 423
Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
I got the impression that DC-3 was rather overbuilt which has contributed to its longevity - still a few in commercial operation at, what, 85 years since first flight? Most remaining airframes must be circa 80 years old, albeit the commercially operated may be Basler conversions. Think I noted an R-1830 powered survey DC-3 transiting through UK on FR24 earlier this year.
I am not aware of any R-1830 powered DC-3 doing survey.
A Basler conversion with PT-6s?
ehwatezedoing is online now  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 11:14
  #89 (permalink)  
Gnome de PPRuNe
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Too close to Croydon for comfort
Age: 55
Posts: 6,019
You may be right - looking through a list of surviving airframes, C-FTGI rings a bell. It's not listed as a Basler conversion but photos show that it is! Page is 5 years out of date though.
treadigraph is online now  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 11:32
  #90 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 11,012
Originally Posted by treadigraph View Post
You may be right - looking through a list of surviving airframes, C-FTGI rings a bell. It's not listed as a Basler conversion but photos show that it is! Page is 5 years out of date though.
Yes, the Transport Canada register lists it with turboprops. It was the 51st Basler conversion, done in 2008.
DaveReidUK is online now  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 18:42
  #91 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: The Dee Sea
Posts: 47
Originally Posted by AIMINGHIGH123 View Post
Flybe have some Dash 8s with 30k+ cycles on them at around 14-15 years old. Hours not that high but 6-10 sectors a day is hard on any airframe.
Air Canada have some 1987/88-vintage Dash-8s that have flown ~6-sector days for over 30 years now.
Matvey is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 20:03
  #92 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 60 north
Age: 55
Posts: 1
And,, The winner is,,,,,,,,:

The International Space Station.
Umpteen hours.
Slightly under powered, borderline glider
No slot restrictions.
Still going strong!

regards
Cpt B
Space Cadet at Large
BluSdUp is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 20:21
  #93 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 64
Posts: 2,545
BluSd
The question is highest time "airframe" - the ISS can't be considered an 'airframe' because it's not capable of operating in the atmosphere - and would in fact fail catastrophically if it did. The ISS isn't even the highest time 'spaceframe' as there are numerous other spacecraft that have more hours.
The ISS can lay claim to being the highest time continuously occupied spacecraft.
tdracer is offline  
Old 28th Apr 2019, 23:27
  #94 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 60 north
Age: 55
Posts: 1
tdracer

Right You are.
I was just in a silly mood.
On another slight drift, I was interested to know how many engines a say 110 000 hrs aircraft like a Jumbo or any twin would have used in such a lifetime.
Or how long does a basic engine last.
I see some of our 737-800s with say 20 000 hrs pop up with a new one ever so often, but our Teck Log does not have specific airframe time or engine time recorded for us drivers.
Regards
Cpt B

PS
An old one here is ca 13 years old,
BluSdUp is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 02:18
  #95 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Asia
Posts: 592
Some airlines like to part company with their aircraft whilst they’re still fairly young figuring that the increased passenger appeal, greater efficiency, reduced maintenance and higher dispatch reliability will offset the higher price of a new aircraft.

However an airline in a third world country may be unable to afford to buy new, passengers are very price sensitive and local labour for maintenance is cheap, in which case buying second hand makes sense.

Back in the old days when engineering was cheap in Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific could buy a used aircraft and overhaul it to as good as new standard at a considerable saving versus buying new.

Iran is under sanctions but has plenty of oil so buying older types which no one else wants because of the fuel consumption, such as the A340 is worthwhile.
krismiler is online now  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 02:37
  #96 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 64
Posts: 2,545
Originally Posted by BluSdUp View Post
On another slight drift, I was interested to know how many engines a say 110 000 hrs aircraft like a Jumbo or any twin would have used in such a lifetime.
Or how long does a basic engine last.
Engines last at long longer than you might think - obviously overhauled multiple times.
"First Run" engines generally go between 10,000 and 20,000 hours before getting overhauled the first time (assuming they don't get lots of short cycles - cycles are even harder an engines than they are on airframes). Some real long haul engines can go 30,000 hours first run, due to the low cycle counts. Overhauled engines don't get that close to 'zero time', so their time on wing before the next overhaul is considerably shorter than first run engines - often as little as half as long. Obviously the burner and high turbine take the brunt of the abuse, but compressor blades wear and abrade and even fan blades benefit from the occasional TLC. I recall seeing engines that were well over 60,000 hours since new, obviously overhauled several times. At some point, it becomes a question of what constitutes the original engine - rotating components are often life-limited parts, and must be replaced (and the original scrapped) after so many cycles. Further, components get swapped between engines - particularly some of the newer modular designs, where instead of rebuilding the engine, they simply swap out a module - for example a turbine - with one that's been overhauled and return the engine to service. After a while it becomes like that old farmer's axe - the handle has been replaced 4 times, and the axe head five times, but it's still the old farmer's axe
tdracer is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:41
  #97 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: west coast
Posts: 1
3C engine in service with Malev has just established a new all-time world record for initial time on wing. Earlier this month, the engine reached 40, 538 hours and 17,405 cycles without a single shop visit, surpassing the previous record of 40,531 hours set in 2000.

CFM56-3 engines are part of the best-selling CFM56 engine family, which is produced by CFM International (CFM), a 50/50 joint company between Snecma Moteurs (Safran Group) and General Electric Company.

The engine was part of the original installation on a new Boeing 737-500 delivered to Hapag-Lloyd in December 1990; Malev has been leasing the aircraft since 1999. During its in-service life, the engine has undergone routine inspections but has remained trouble free. Malev plans to remove the engine for overhaul in September, so the ultimate record will be established at that time.
86583 is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:11
  #98 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Been around the block
Posts: 540
I heard that DC-8’s aren’t life limited. There are some CRJ-200’s that must be approaching 150,000. Bombardier builds a rugged, economical and reliable machine. Just kidding...
4runner is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 05:16
  #99 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Denver
Age: 52
Posts: 38
Originally Posted by tdracer View Post
Engines last at long longer than you might think - obviously overhauled multiple times.
"First Run" engines generally go between 10,000 and 20,000 hours before getting overhauled the first time (assuming they don't get lots of short cycles - cycles are even harder an engines than they are on airframes). Some real long haul engines can go 30,000 hours first run, due to the low cycle counts. Overhauled engines don't get that close to 'zero time', so their time on wing before the next overhaul is considerably shorter than first run engines - often as little as half as long. Obviously the burner and high turbine take the brunt of the abuse, but compressor blades wear and abrade and even fan blades benefit from the occasional TLC. I recall seeing engines that were well over 60,000 hours since new, obviously overhauled several times. At some point, it becomes a question of what constitutes the original engine - rotating components are often life-limited parts, and must be replaced (and the original scrapped) after so many cycles. Further, components get swapped between engines - particularly some of the newer modular designs, where instead of rebuilding the engine, they simply swap out a module - for example a turbine - with one that's been overhauled and return the engine to service. After a while it becomes like that old farmer's axe - the handle has been replaced 4 times, and the axe head five times, but it's still the old farmer's axe :}
even more off topic:
my older brother bought a motorcycle when he was 16, and I got it when he left the house at 18, modified it a bit, and passed it onto my little brother 2 years later. He modified it more, drove it for another few years, I crashed and repaired it, and when he sold it we found out the only original parts were the fuel tank and the front fender....
hans brinker is offline  
Old 29th Apr 2019, 21:16
  #100 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: 60 north
Age: 55
Posts: 1
86583

That Malev record is quite something.
No doubt the CFM engines are the best and most successful Turbo Fan engines ever.
No doubt due to the fact that GE and SNECMA had a damd good starting point,AND I am sure they had a sort of internal competitive quality assurance:
If a Yankee and a Frenchman can agree on something it is most probably a good product! No offence, I hope.

BluSdUp is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.