N231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (6 years 10 months 7 hours ago) and read 3250 times:
The Airliners Magazine, November/December 2002 (issue 78), had an article on how the airliner scrapping process takes place. Taking from other articles of other sources in addition, I'll try to put this into a "scenario" format.
Lets say YX retires all of their DC-9's (which they did). The airplanes are often bought by a company that sells used parts. From here, the planes are ferried to hell (aka Opa Locka, Marana, etc), where they are immediately parted out. Any part that can be resold is pulled off the airframe, and stored in that company's warehouse. The parts are put on shipping crates and protected with "packing plastic," where they wait until a buyer in need of parts purchases them (lets say NW, since the operate alot of DC-9's). Then the part is barcoded so that it's life is traceable, and shipped out. Meanwhile, when just about all of the usuable parts have been removed from the airframe, the airframe is torn apart by machinery, and the subsequent "scrap metal" is recycled.
However, this scenario is a very quick method. Often times, retired airplanes are stored, waiting for a potential buyer. If no buyer is found within a certain period of time, that airplane is unfortunately scrapped.
Sometimes, it takes even decades from an airplane's last flight to its last recognition. Again, my scenario was a quick one, based on an actual scenario in the Airliners Magazine involving an ex-Canadian B-737-200 (C-GAPW).
Tristarsteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 3690 posts, RR: 34 Reply 3, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 11 hours ago) and read 3126 times:
In around 1999, Nordic East had a Tristar to sell but found no takers. So they decided to part it out. Two mechs were given the task and a few months later the bare shell was sitting outside their hangar at ARN. They had managed to sell the parts for a lot more than the aircraft was worth whole. So they then needed to get rid of the shell that was left and contacted a scrap metal merchants for a quote to break it down and remove it. When the firm offered them money they were surprised. The scrappers came in and dismantled the aircraft and removed it, and paid them.
It had been a good idea at the time.
N231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 4, posted (6 years 9 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 3123 times:
Quoting Tristarsteve (Reply 3): They had managed to sell the parts for a lot more than the aircraft was worth whole.
Indeed correct, its an unfortunate but true aspect of the scrapping business: An airplane is worth more in parts than it is intact and airworthy.
But, if you look at it optimistically, usuable parts fly again, and the "scrap metal" is recycled and re-incarnated into brand new airplanes. I.E.: once a part on an L1011 Tristar's wing, now a part on a Boeing 777 fuselage.
JHSfan From Denmark, joined Apr 2004, 469 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 7 hours ago) and read 3076 times:
Remember the English saying "Break one link and the whole chain falls apart"? Taking the Danish version and translate it directly into English, you get: A chain is never stronger than the weakest link.
The meaning is that when you have a plane, its a lot of parts put together. Parts with different remaining life and the low-life parts determines the value of the actual plane. The good parts are so to say devalued by the presence of bad ones in that very plane.
Thats why it's better to separate the good parts from the bad ones. The good ones are sold as spares and the rest is scrap.
Quoting N231YE (Reply 4): "scrap metal" is recycled and re-incarnated into brand new airplanes.
When it comes to aluminum for planes, its normal to use virgin aluminum instead of recycled aluminum. In fact the FAA demands that you use virgin aluminum. What the rules are for other materials I do not know.
Look at me, I´m riding high, I´m the airbornmaster of the sky...
N231YE From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 6, posted (6 years 9 months 3 weeks 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3071 times:
Quoting JHSfan (Reply 5): When it comes to aluminum for planes, its normal to use virgin aluminum instead of recycled aluminum. In fact the FAA demands that you use virgin aluminum.
I have heard of recycling the airframe into new aircraft parts, due to aviation-grade aluminum's high value and metallurgical properties (aircraft frames are usually composed of alloys, not just pure aluminum).
In fact, Boeing is supposidely designing the 787 to be even more recycleable, along with GE's GEnx engine.
TomFoolery From Austria, joined Jan 2004, 492 posts, RR: 2 Reply 7, posted (6 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2927 times:
Structural materials, including aluminum must come from a qualified source, and certified to meet requirements (chem composition, hardness -heat treatment-, etc).
To re-use the aluminum, the material would need to be stripped of protective layers (anodising, primer, paint, etc) which will involve removing some of the actual thickness of the metal (this will most likely need to be done on both side of the shhet of aluminum). With that, you must determine if your remaining sheet of metal still meets the thickness tolerances.
Some companies allow a limited amount of manipulation (Heat treat, annealing, chem stripping, annodising, etc) to be performed on the material, and that is IF you can get the material in question certified to begin with.
The best bet is to recycle it into soda cans, sell the soda cans to the passengers for $2 (described ba some as a 'nominal' price).