Sv7887 From United States of America, joined May 2008, 1025 posts, RR: 0 Posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4146 times:
A few days ago a Northwest DC-10-30 returned to Logan Airport in Boston due to Engine Fire. Now, this may have nothing to do with the A/c's age, but it made me think: How old is too old for a passenger airliner?
I realize there is more to this than simply age. Hours on the airframe is probably the bigger factor as mileage is on an autmobile.
AA737-823 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 6282 posts, RR: 10
Reply 1, posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4126 times:
Well, it's like this, in my mind.
There is no age too old for an airplane. Usually.
For example, there are DC-3's that are 60 years old still making nostalgia flights in civilized countries, and scheduled flights in countries... less civilized.
However, we all know that metal DOES age and crack- witness the Aloha 737 incident in Hawaii. Also, wiring ages- witness the Swissair MD-11 incident over Nova Scotia. That might not be the best example, though, as that MD-11 was not yet ten years old at the time.
SO- if PROPERLY MAINTAINED, there is no age too old for an aircraft. But I don't think the families of the dead flight attendant from Hawaii could be convinced of that.
Midwest is flying the second DC-9 ever produced- it rolled down the lane at Long Beach in 1966. It's safe. It's not on fire.
Engine fires happen, unfortunately. And, as you pointed out, have little to do with the age of the airframe.
So I guess the answer is one you have to form yourself.
Positive rate From Australia, joined Sep 2001, 2143 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 4126 times:
Depends on how many cycles the a/c has completed. Too old would be when it gets to the point where the plane is aflling apart or has major structural problems- like the Aloha 737-200 that lost part of it's cabin roof. I don't really consider a DC-10-30 to be too old to be flying. Maybe a 707 still in pax service, now that would be too old.
YoungDon From United States of America, joined May 2001, 500 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 3916 times:
NW has many DC9s that are more than 30 years old, and they are still flying safely. Up until a couple of years ago, there were quite a few older 727's and 737's in the air, and they flew safely. But hours on the airframe is a much better indicator than age. But airplanes that are properly maintained can fly for almost forever.
JETPILOT From United States of America, joined May 1999, 3130 posts, RR: 27
Reply 8, posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 3790 times:
As long as an aircraft is maintained it can fly forever.
The reasons airplanes are retired is not becuase they are too old to fly, it's because of the economic impact of maintaining an aging airframe.
I currently fly a 1964 727-100. TWA retired the plane in 1982. Heck... they just broke it in.
Just take a look at the DC8. More than half are still flying. The oldest flying DC8 has 58,000 cycles on it. The design lifetime on the DC8 is 100,000 cycles.
A plane gets cut up once the bank has made it's money leasing it, and decides its cost proibitive to put it through a D-Check, and gets it's money out of it by cutting it up and selling it for spares.
That's why L10-11's arent flying around as cargo planes. Corrosion issues, and a wing spar AD mod have made it prohibitive to invest the bucks to keep it airworhty, so they cut it up. You can't make money with an L1011 as you can with a DC10. Maintenance is a nightmare.
BTW... there is still a DC3 making scheduled serviceinto MIA everyday.
JBirdAV8r From United States of America, joined Jun 2001, 4503 posts, RR: 19
Reply 10, posted (12 years 10 months 1 week 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 3682 times:
Yeah that's because the pilots flew it into the trees
I'm no expert on the Mulhouse crash, but I believe it was more of an issue of the flight crew not having sufficient knowledge of a brand-new airplane system (and I think I remember hearing about some sort of bug in the Alpha-floor system) than simply a negligent flight crew letting their airplane carelessly thunk into the trees.
JETPILOT, as a side note to your comments, I've heard that UPS maintains their DC-8's to an unbelievably good condition...almost better than new. They always have the prettiest DC-8's on the tarmac, and they look like they have quite a bit of attention paid to them at all times.