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DC3's Go On And On. Will The 787 Do The Same?  
User currently offlineArt From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2005, 3381 posts, RR: 0
Posted (5 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4482 times:

From airliners.net aircraft data:

"No greater accolade for the DC-3 exists than the fact that over six decades after its first flight more than 400 remain in commercial service worldwide. Durability, longevity and profitability are but three of this outstanding aircraft's virtues."

Due to increased longevity achieved by extensive use of CFRP, will the 787 reflect the exceptionally long service life of the prop Dakota and become the longest serving jet?

19 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineIkramerica From United States of America, joined May 2005, 21474 posts, RR: 60
Reply 1, posted (5 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4480 times:

Well, it has to go first, before it can go on and on. Right now, all it's done is drive around the block a few times, and threaten the skies with a few aborted takeoff tests...


Of all the things to worry about... the Wookie has no pants.
User currently offlineType-Rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4951 posts, RR: 19
Reply 2, posted (5 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4459 times:

Let's give her a year in service before we can make a decision on how long she'll fly.


Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineLarshjort From Denmark, joined Dec 2007, 1434 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 4456 times:

If or when it takes the skies, I believe that it will be able to fly for a long time to come especially because of the standart engine interface. All you will have to do to change the engine is a software upgrade and a new engine that fits.

/Lars



139, 306, 319, 320, 321, 332, 34A, AN2, AT4, AT5, AT7, 733, 735, 73G, 738, 739, 146, AR1, BH2, CN1, CR2, DH1, DH3, DH4,
User currently offlineKiwiandrew From New Zealand, joined Jun 2005, 8544 posts, RR: 13
Reply 4, posted (5 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4428 times:
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regardless of what the 787 is made from , once it finally starts flying it will have to deal with something that the DC-3 has never had to - pressurisation cycles . For that reason I that it will not have the same longevity as the gooney bird .


Moderation in all things ... including moderation ;-)
User currently offlineGST From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2008, 930 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4369 times:



Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 4):

Much as I would love the 787 to become the longest lived jet, a higher pitched noise producing DC-3 if you like, and I am sure that it will last longer than the vast majority of jets around currently, the pressure cycle will be the limiting factor. The Wing componants on a DC-3 may go through cycles, but most of the fuselage is exposed to only a little cyclic loading and unloading, pressurise it and it will need a new fuselage every few years and it wont be the economical workhorse it still is anymore.


User currently offlineMMEPHX From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4277 times:

..probably only the DC9 will come close in the civilian world to matching the lifespan of the DC3. The 787 has to contend with advanced electonics and software to fly and at some point the support for that will disappear and move to the next new technology. DC3s (and to a lesser extent DC9s) survive because they are still a relatively basic machine that can be maintained without high-tech knowledge. I believe though that DC3s lost their passenger carrying capability in the EU due to new regulations from Brussels? Long may the wonderful gooney bird continue where it can!

....I do wonder if the B52 will outlast everything, those beasts seem to keep going forever as well.


User currently offlineBeechnut From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 723 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (5 years 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 4245 times:

I think a better test of jet longevity is the DC-9. Until recently it was still in production as the 717, albeit with updated systems and engines, some 40 or so years after the design was entered into service. But the 717 is still the same basic airframe design as the DC9-30.

Fourty years after introduction, there were NO DC-3s still in mainline service (this would be 1976). But in 2009, some 44 years after introduction into service, DC-9s still serve in the USA in a mainline capacity, with some 40 y.o. frames still in service.

True they weren't built in the sheer numbers that the DC-3s were (most of which were ex-military C47s BTW); in fact had it not been for WWII I doubt so many DC-3s would have been built. The availability of huge numbers of military surplus frames at dirt cheap prices no doubt contributed to the type's longevity.

Moreover as was pointed out with pressurized jets the effects of many cycles has much more impact than on the unpressurized DC-3. So the DC-9 to me remains the true yardstick against which to measure jet longevity. Douglas has a reputation (whether true or urban legend I can't say) of "building them tough".

Beech


User currently offlineRacko From Germany, joined Nov 2001, 4856 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (5 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4224 times:

DC-3s have the same advantage older cars have: They are simple. Easy to maintain, easy to fix. That's why they're so popular, even today. Modern technology is more efficient, but also way more complicated. The 787 might very well be history before the DC-3 is gone.

User currently offlineCessna172RG From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 749 posts, RR: 0
Reply 9, posted (5 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4206 times:

Maybe it should be the 737 then? Or the NW DC-9 (if we're talking about Douglas products).

Personally, my vote (go ahead, laugh) is for the A320.



Save the whales...for dinner!!!
User currently offlineNwarooster From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 1066 posts, RR: 3
Reply 10, posted (5 years 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4119 times:
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The DC-3 has the potential to fly forever. Because it is an unpressurized aircraft and built on the strong an rugged side, the DC-3 will outlast them all. New aircraft have TOO much electronics and are built to the minimum specifications to make them airworthy.  old 

User currently offlineTxagkuwait From United States of America, joined Aug 1999, 1803 posts, RR: 43
Reply 11, posted (5 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4076 times:



Quote:
Maybe it should be the 737 then?

I was fixing to say that the 737 would be more likely to inherit the crown from the DC-3.

The 787, as good as it may be, is not likely to be able to "do it all." The 737 has been much more capable.

In their early days, AA, UA, TWA used DC-3s on their transcons. Fifteen years later, Trans-Texas Airways was using DC-3s on local service routes with an average stage length of 89 miles.

I see Southwest flying 737s from Austin to Houston (155 miles) and from Phildelphia to Phoenix (a lot further).

A variant of the 737 is being used in military service, there are aircraft being used as freighters. About the only thing I haven't seen is a 737 on floats or skis.

In its day, the DC-3 was big enough to use as an airliner but small enough to put in some rather lean markets....Chadron, Nebraska or Brownwood, Texas. The 737 is nice for Denver to Las Vegas but it also works from Harlingen to Austin or Albuquerque to El Paso.

I would look less at lifespan (the pressurization and cycles angle) and more at utility. The 787 will be a great aircraft, but it is never likely to be used in so many ways or under so many different (and occasionally tough) circumstances.


User currently onlineCrimsonNL From Netherlands, joined Dec 2007, 1846 posts, RR: 42
Reply 12, posted (5 years 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4013 times:
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Don't forget Kalitta has some 39 year old 741's still flying around! I highly doubt any plane will ever come close to the DC-3, the B52 is an interesting example as well. I think they are currently planned for over 50 years of service?


Fly DC-Jets!
User currently offlineBeechnut From Canada, joined Apr 2004, 723 posts, RR: 10
Reply 13, posted (5 years 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 3891 times:



Quoting Txagkuwait (Reply 11):
I was fixing to say that the 737 would be more likely to inherit the crown from the DC-3.

I'm still holding out for the DC9  Smile

There are still 40 y.o. DC9s flying for NW with PW JT8D9 engines. I don't believe there are any more 737-200s in mainline service in N. America.

Quoting Txagkuwait (Reply 11):
A variant of the 737 is being used in military service, there are aircraft being used as freighters. About the only thing I haven't seen is a 737 on floats or skis.

No, but there are gravel kit equipped 737-200s!


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Timo Harsch



One of the original, if not THE original operators, was Nordair:



More info here:

http://www.b737.org.uk/unpavedstripkit.htm

This is one feature the 737 had that the DC9 didn't!

Beech


User currently offlinePlanemaker From Tuvalu, joined Aug 2003, 6123 posts, RR: 34
Reply 14, posted (5 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3722 times:

Given the technological innovation that will be coming down the pike, the 787 will be "obsolete" way before the end of its cycle life.


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. - A. Einstein
User currently offlinePrebennorholm From Denmark, joined Mar 2000, 6388 posts, RR: 54
Reply 15, posted (5 years 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 3698 times:

The DC-3 is in a class totally of its own. Incidentally it could adapt to another role when it became outdated in its previous role.

It was born in the 30's as a true airliner.

It happened to be easily converted to a tectical transport during WWII.

It continued for some 12-15 years after WWII as a regional airliner, but only because resources were scarce and converted ex military planes were so much cheaper than new built much supperior planes such as Vickers Viking, Saab Scandia etc.

Later it found a niche as sort of "large Cessna Caravan" due to simple maintenance and because engines could be picked from many other plane types being scrapped, not least large numbers of Catalinas.

In my country one DC-3 is still flying. Some 20 years ago it was investigated if it could be made passenger worthy. It was deemed far too expensive, even if that same plane 40 years ago was the VIP plane for the royal family. Since it could not be registered as an ordinary plane, it was then registered as an "experimental class plane". It flies as a museum plane with members of the museum club only. After a bad accident in Holland some 15 years ago with onother DC-3 it got limited to 19 pax and some 150nm range only. The much reduced weight made it pretty safe during one-engine-out conditions.

Sure it is nice to have those birds around. But over the years they have been degraded from true airliner to something where next step is terra firma. Anyway I hope that they will still be seen in the air in a hundred years from now.

The DC-3 cannot be compared to the DC-9, which at age 40 still serves in its intended role, and which in reengined and electronically updated form (B717) was built until only a few years ago and will serve as intended for several decades to come. And the original DC-9 will maybe only be retired from its originally intended service because of its outdated engines - too high fuel consumption, too much noise, and too high emission of various unhealthy gasses. The DC-3 never made it that far as a true airliner.



Always keep your number of landings equal to your number of take-offs, Preben Norholm
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24868 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (5 years 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 3470 times:



Quoting Art (Thread starter):
From airliners.net aircraft data:

"No greater accolade for the DC-3 exists than the fact that over six decades after its first flight more than 400 remain in commercial service worldwide.

That "400 remain in commercial service" number was as of 1998. I expect it's dropped quite a bit over the past 11 years.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6832 posts, RR: 46
Reply 17, posted (5 years 16 hours ago) and read 3295 times:



Quoting Beechnut (Reply 13):

This is one feature the 737 had that the DC9 didn't!

It didn't need it; the gravel kit was to prevent gravel from being sucked into the engines. The DC-9's engines were mounted high enough that that was not a concern. With the 737 they would act like a vacuum cleaner without preventative measures (which amounted to a nozzle to use high pressure bleed air to blow the gravel out of the way.)
As to the 787, several posters have brought up the pressurization cycles. This is exactly why the OP raised the question, since CFRP does not fatigue the way aluminum does. As far as the airframe is concerned, it can probably last more or less forever, but as others have also accurately pointed out, the systems are vastly more complex than the DC-3's and will become obsolete and difficult to maintain at some point. That will in all likelihood limit its service life; not fatigue. Any plane can be flown forever as long as you are willing to put in whatever maintenance it needs; but the point comes when it is just not economically feasible. Since the DC-3 is so simple, this point is much less definitive than for most airliners, and it is also small enough that a lot of individuals can afford to own and fly them, which is not true of the 787. I am reminded of a locomotive on the Mount Washington Cog Railway, where I worked for a summer during college. It is the oldest operating locomotive in the world, but there is not a single original part left on it.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24868 posts, RR: 22
Reply 18, posted (5 years 14 hours ago) and read 3210 times:



Quoting SEPilot (Reply 17):
Quoting Beechnut (Reply 13):

This is one feature the 737 had that the DC9 didn't!

It didn't need it; the gravel kit was to prevent gravel from being sucked into the engines. The DC-9's engines were mounted high enough that that was not a concern.

As far as I know, the DC-9 was never certified for operation on gravel runways. Apart from possibly a few early test flights, I can never recall any carrier operating DC-9s on anything but paved runways. At least half a dozen Canadian airlines and corporate operators (mines etc.) hav eused 732s with the optional gravel runway equipment for almost 40 years and several still do. Nobody has used the DC-9 in such operations. The DC-9 was much less flexible than the 732 and couldn't match the 732's range.


User currently offlineSEPilot From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 6832 posts, RR: 46
Reply 19, posted (4 years 12 months 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3086 times:



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 18):

As far as I know, the DC-9 was never certified for operation on gravel runways.

That may be. But it was probably because Douglas didn't see the need for it. If they had wanted to, I don't think that there would have been any problem with the engines sucking in gravel, which WAS a problem with the 732 without the gravel kit.



The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
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