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Stored Fighters, Bombers And More...  
User currently offlinekhenleydia From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 6518 times:

We have all seen the pictures that have rows of airplanes as far as the eye can see. They can consist of fighters, bombers and support aircraft. Some, I know, are bound for the chopping block, but the is pretty simple....

What would it take to (some event presumably) bring some or many of these mothballed planes back to working order?
After whatever event caused the order to bring many back to life, how long would it take? Are some stored at different levels of readiness?

Instead of saying 'I know', I will say, 'as I understand it', some of these planes are brought back to life from time to time to replace other planes. Maybe it is morbid curiosity that makes me wonder what it would take to require many brought back. Is there a 'standing order' for that event?

I am talking specifically about the airplanes, not the training of pilots and crews, but that would be interesting to learn about too.

Thanks.

KhenleyDIA


Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 3868 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 6522 times:

It depends on the intention when stored (treaty obligation, end of life, surplus to requirements etc), and the condition of the airframe at that time (stored complete, stripped for spares etc).

Aircraft are regularly returned to duty from storage, for example the F-15s and F-18s that were returned to service while newer aircraft were returned to Boeing for remedial structural work, the B-1Bs that were returned when Congress basically demanded it and various other aircraft that dip into and out of storage (lots of ANG ones for example spend time n storage).

Also, a good example is when older aircraft are converted to target drones - lots of stored F-4s went that way, and they are just now starting the QF-16 program, again from stored aircraft.

As to how long, if stored complete then it can be flown out the same day and is usually put through a maintenance cycle prior to being deployed.


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16819 posts, RR: 51
Reply 2, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 3 days 21 hours ago) and read 6522 times:

Quoting khenleydia (Thread starter):
What would it take to (some event presumably) bring some or many of these mothballed planes back to working order?
After whatever event caused the order to bring many back to life, how long would it take? Are some stored at different levels of readiness?



I know the Marines brought back some CH-53s from the desert in order to support the surge in Iraq and Afghanistan, so it can be done. Same with ships, the Battleships Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin were all decommissioned after WWII. Then brought back for the Korean war, then decommissioned, then brought back for the Vietnam war, then decommissioned, then brought back during the Reagan administration for the Cold War and later they served during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield after which they were retired for good.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlinekhenleydia From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 13 hours ago) and read 6348 times:

It is interesting to realize just how much stuff that they have brought back over time. I totally forgot, for example, about the battleships.

It still amazes me how much stuff they store up. I guess it is the only real option though, to always have some type of backup plan in the event also that the worst should happen and they need access to a quantity of equipment, not just quality.

As many F-4s as they have though, it also surprises me that they are already moving on to the F-16s as drones.

Thanks for the info.

KhenleyDIA



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7605 posts, RR: 32
Reply 4, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 11 hours ago) and read 6321 times:

Quoting khenleydia (Thread starter):
What would it take to (some event presumably) bring some or many of these mothballed planes back to working order?

In early 1973 we brought back four USN RA-3B aircraft which had been sent to Davis-Monthan when VAP-61 was disbanded in the spring of 1971.

The planes had been kept in 'flyable' condition. It took a team of five pilots, six navigators and 25 enlisted people about three weeks work to get the first aircraft in condition for a test flight. One fuel cell had to be replaced. Several hydraulic lines and fittings changed. New tires. Several minor electronic fittings, and a new door seal. New droge chutes were sent out from Guam. Two of the eight engines had to be changed. Of course all fluids were replaced.

After six weeks, they had the four planes in flyable condition for the ferry flights from Arizona to Guam.

Upon arrival at Guam, the squadron techs replaced several electronics modules to bring the planes up to flyable condition. All the cameras were removed at Davis-Monthan and shipped to Guam, where the photo tech tore them down and completely rebuilt them.

Finally after about three months - the first bird was able to do a photo-mapping mission in the Philippines. We also were able to seen a bird to Korea for additional photo-mapping work.

So based on my limited experience.
1) All new fluids
2) Pressure test all hydraulics - replace fittings as necessary
3) Engine test runs - possible replacement
4) Fuel system pressure tests - possible repair and replacements
5) Electrical systems tests - possible repair and replacements
6) Avionics tests
7) Probable new tires
8) Pressurization tests of the cabin/ cockpit


User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2311 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 6147 times:
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Quoting khenleydia (Reply 3):
As many F-4s as they have though, it also surprises me that they are already moving on to the F-16s as drones.

I'm not sure where all the units produced have ended up, but the USAF says they'll run out of F-4 inventory to convert to QF-4s by 2015, hence the QF-16 program now getting into high gear.


User currently offlinekhenleydia From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day 1 hour ago) and read 5783 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 4):
So based on my limited experience.
1) All new fluids
2) Pressure test all hydraulics - replace fittings as necessary
3) Engine test runs - possible replacement
4) Fuel system pressure tests - possible repair and replacements
5) Electrical systems tests - possible repair and replacements
6) Avionics tests
7) Probable new tires
8) Pressurization tests of the cabin/ cockpit

Thanks for all those details. That certainly helps provide an understanding of what it can take to get one of the stored aircraft to be useable again.



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offlineRIXrat From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 786 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 1 day ago) and read 5770 times:

Speaking of Davis-Montham AFB at Tucson, AZ,, driving down Kolb Rd. one can see a hundred or more C-130s with their vital parts covered in white plastic stick-ons. Some are USAF and others are ANG. None have been cannibalized. I've often wondered why they are there. They are the early models of the type and very unlikely to see service again. Are they there because the DOD wants to keep them on as inventory for the dollar sake? If not, why not sell them cheap to a deserving poor nation? I know. Spares, maintenance, etc. Anyway, I just had to ask, because every time I drive by that huge parking lot I keep wondering.

User currently offlinePIEAvantiP180 From United States of America, joined Sep 2009, 531 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 21 hours ago) and read 5724 times:
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Quoting STT757 (Reply 2):
after which they were retired for good.

The battle ships are retired but are still kept in a ready reserve status in case they are ever needed again, I believe that applies only to 2 of the 4 ships - Iowa and Wisconsin.

from wiki:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Iowa_(BB-61)
"On 17 March 2006, the Secretary of the Navy exercised his authority to strike Iowa and Wisconsin from the NVR, which cleared the way for both ships to be donated for use as museum ships, but the United States Congress remained "deeply concerned" over the loss of the naval surface gunfire support that the battleships provided, and noted that "navy efforts to improve upon, much less replace, this capability have been highly problematic."[52] As a partial consequence, Congress passed Pub.L. 109-163, the National Defense Authorization Act 2006, requiring that the battleships be kept and maintained in a state of readiness should they ever be needed again.[53] Congress ordered that measures be implemented to ensure that, if need be, Iowa could be returned to active duty.[53] These measures closely mirrored the original three conditions that the National Defense Authorization Act of 1996 laid out for the maintenance of Iowa while she was in the "mothball fleet".


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16819 posts, RR: 51
Reply 9, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 5691 times:

Quoting PIEAvantiP180 (Reply 8):
The battle ships are retired but are still kept in a ready reserve status in case they are ever needed again, I believe that applies only to 2 of the 4 ships - Iowa and Wisconsin.

There are retired:

The New Jersey is a museum on the Camden waterfront
The Missouri is a museum at Pearl Harbor
The Wisconsin is becoming a museum at Long Beach California
I forget where the Iowa is going.



Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 10, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 19 hours ago) and read 5689 times:

There are about 3 levels of "flyable storage" for military aircraft at DM. Several types and models are kept for return to US Military Forces, if needed. An example of these are the KC-135E, F/A-18C/D, F-15 A/B/C/D, C-130E/H, B-1B, B-52H, etc. Some types are dictated by Congress to be kept in "flyable condition". Examples of thse are the KC-135E, EC-135C, C-5A, B-52H, P-3B/C, etc.. The last type is aircraft held for possible FMS programs. These include the KC-135A/E, F-16A/B, C-130E/H, F/A-18A/B/C/D, P-3B/C, etc.

Some older aircraft are restored for completely different missions than their original mission, such as the C-47s returned as AC/EC-47s, and C-119s as AC-119s. Others are intentionally disassembled or destroyed to gauge the life of its active flying sisters, an example is one of the first C-5As was retired just for this purpose.

That is far from a complete list.

There are similar examples stored for parts to keep the active fleet flyable.

To return these airplanes to flight condition requires from weeks to about a year, and depends on how long each individual airframe has been stored.

rfieidls5421 gave a good example of what it takes to restore aircraft to flight condition. But there are other considerations that may or may not be needed to restore the aircraft. Usually any parts needed are taken from other examples of that type/model that is stored for parts.

DM keeps complete documentation on each individual aircraft it has in the yard, including what has been removed and where that part went.

DM also maintanes a complete set of flight and maintenance manuals for each individual aircraft that could return to flying.

When a type is completely retired from active service, these aircraft are usuall fast tracked for scrapping after they have been stripped of useable parts that other types can use. Two recent examples of this are the USAF C-141 fleet and the USN F-14 fleet. Yes, there are some parts that are common with other aircraft types, examples include engines, radios, some avionics, pumps, etc.

Other types that retire the entire fleet, seems to just disappear altogether, such as what happened to the F-117As.


User currently offlineStudeDave From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 485 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 15 hours ago) and read 5614 times:

Quoting STT757 (Reply 2):
Same with ships, the Battleships Iowa, Missouri, New Jersey, Wisconsin were all decommissioned after WWII. Then brought back for the Korean war, then decommissioned, then brought back for the Vietnam war, then decommissioned, then brought back during the Reagan administration for the Cold War and later they served during Operation Desert Storm/Desert Shield after which they were retired for good.

Only one of the Iowas served in Vietnam- and that was the New Jersey.

Quoting STT757 (Reply 9):
The Wisconsin is becoming a museum at Long Beach California
I forget where the Iowa is going.

Wisconsin is in Norfolk- or very nearby, and has been for years.
Iowa went to Long Beach .




StudeDave



Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
User currently offlineBigJKU From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 875 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 14 hours ago) and read 5584 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
Other types that retire the entire fleet, seems to just disappear altogether, such as what happened to the F-117As.

The F-117A's were sent to Tonopah and are stored in their original hangers. They are in some level of flyable condition as someone caught on flying on film in 2010. Rumor is they are basically stored in a very near ready to use condition.


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 3868 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (1 year 8 months 1 week 10 hours ago) and read 5482 times:

One F-117 was broken up as a study on how to safely break and dispose of advanced materials structures, due to the environmental hazards the surface coatings had on that aircraft.

User currently offlinekhenleydia From Sweden, joined Feb 2005, 425 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 5282 times:

Quoting KC135TopBoom (Reply 10):
When a type is completely retired from active service, these aircraft are usuall fast tracked for scrapping after they have been stripped of useable parts that other types can use. Two recent examples of this are the USAF C-141 fleet and the USN F-14 fleet.

I am kind of surprised that they rushed the stripping of the F-14 fleet. Despite the fact that there are better replacements for it, I figured they would have held onto it just in case for a decade or so. Especially since they had upgraded a good number of them to the 'Bombcat' type.

This is all interesting stuff to read. Thanks to everyone for the replies.



Why sit at home and do nothing when you can travel the world.
User currently offlineThePointblank From Canada, joined Jan 2009, 1679 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 5239 times:

Quoting khenleydia (Reply 14):
I am kind of surprised that they rushed the stripping of the F-14 fleet. Despite the fact that there are better replacements for it, I figured they would have held onto it just in case for a decade or so. Especially since they had upgraded a good number of them to the 'Bombcat' type.

This is all interesting stuff to read. Thanks to everyone for the replies.

Partially because Iran still operated F-14's and there was a concern that parts from mothballed F-14's could make their way over to Iran to keep Iran's F-14 flying.


User currently offlineStudeDave From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 485 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 8 months 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 5207 times:

Quoting ThePointblank (Reply 15):
Partially because Iran still operated F-14's and there was a concern that parts from mothballed F-14's could make their way over to Iran to keep Iran's F-14 flying.

Didn't a couple of folks get into into some deep do-do when they got caught trying to do just that?
I seem to remember something along those lines actually happening...




StudeDave



Classic planes, Classic trains, and Studebakers~~ what else is there???
User currently offlineKC135TopBoom From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 12128 posts, RR: 51
Reply 17, posted (1 year 8 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 5046 times:

Quoting StudeDave (Reply 16):
Didn't a couple of folks get into into some deep do-do when they got caught trying to do just that?
I seem to remember something along those lines actually happening...

Yes, they were planning on stealing the parts from the F-14s at DM and sell thm to Iran. IIRC that happened in 2006 and prompted the scrapping of all of the F-14s at DM. I seem to recall it was the workers and USAF personel at DM that first caught wind of the plan and notified the FBI.


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