The following picture made me thinking, does such a removal of wings actually cause permanent damage? Some Concordes had their wings removed, as had some 747s which had to be transported on the road to their final preservation destination.
All of those airplanes were retired, so this question is just a "what if", but did these removals cause irrevesible damage to the airplanes, or is it theoretically possible just to mount the wings again, connect everything and fly again? I am surprised that wings can be removed so easily...
If removing wings is no problem, is it common to remove wings in D-checks, for example?
Tb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1588 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 21352 times:
It depends on how much care is done. If something is just being moved to be preserved knowing it won't be flown again, I doubt as much care will go into it.
I fly a Falcon 20 that crashed short of a runway once and a new wing was put on it and here it is flying many years later(also happens to be a really good airplane, possibly my favorite to fly). Learjets have to have what is called a "Demate" at 12,000 hours and 20,000 hours in which the wing is removed from the fuselage and put back on after inspection. I'll try and get a pic of one here off my phone...
VC-10 From United Kingdom, joined Oct 1999, 3701 posts, RR: 34
Reply 3, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 21348 times:
I rather think it depends on the design.
The wings that were removed from the Concorde's were not removed and reattached in a such a manner that would be deemed airworthy.
In the world of large airliners wings are never removed. In my youth I was involved with 707 'D' checks. There the Fin, Horizontal Stab & pylons were removed but the wings stayed firmly attached to the fuse'.
When it was with Ozark in 1983, it hit a snowplow while landing at FSD, separating the right wing and causing other damage, and killing the snowplow driver. It was repaired using the wings salvaged from the AC DC-9-32 that made an emergency landing at CVG a few months earlier on a DFW-YYZ flight with a lavatory fire. Although it landed safetly, 23 of the 46 passengers and crew were killed when they were overcome with smoke and fire before they could evacuate. The wings apparently escaped damage and were salvaged and later used to repair the Ozark DC-9.
It's probably the only aircraft made up of parts of two aircraft that were both involved in fatal accidents. It was originally delivered to Northeast in 1967, then went to DL when they merged in 1972. DL sold it to Ozark in 1975. It was sold to Republic in 1985, and was inherited by NW when they bought Republic in 1986. Same aircraft in original livery below.
Tdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 6, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 21129 times:
Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter): All of those airplanes were retired, so this question is just a "what if", but did these removals cause irrevesible damage to the airplanes
It sort of depends on what you mean by "damage." Most wing joints have drill-on-assembly bolts, so if you actually change the wings you're going to have to oversize most of the holes. You also have a pretty descent chance of damaging the hole when the bolt is removed. An oversize isn't exactly damage, but it is a permanent change and you can't do it forever.
Quoting TheSonntag (Thread starter): If removing wings is no problem, is it common to remove wings in D-checks, for example?
No. I've never heard of a wing coming off as part of a D-check.
TF39 From United States of America, joined Jul 2006, 110 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 6 days ago) and read 21057 times:
77 C-5A's had new wings and wing boxes installed in the early-mid 80's. The wings were basically sawed off, the fuselage braced, old wing box removed, new box installed, and new wings installed.
Also in the late 80's we had a C-141 that had one of the wings destroyed in a ground accident have a new wing installed (from another unserviceable C-141). The cool part was that the wing was transported in a C-5 with inches to spare!
Boeing767mech From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1026 posts, RR: 3
Reply 8, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 20981 times:
Quoting TF39 (Reply 7): 77 C-5A's had new wings and wing boxes installed in the early-mid 80's. The wings were basically sawed off, the fuselage braced, old wing box removed, new box installed, and new wings installed.
You beat me to it. We have a mechanic at my employer that was a crew chief on a B-52G that had to have a wing replaced due to a fueling operation malfunction, much like the 141 you talked about.
I worked on a JS-3201 that we rewinged after being damaged, Eagle also had a SAAB 340B that was rewinged after a fueling operation malfunction. Easy to do on the SAAB due to the fact the wing is only held on with 10 bolts if I remember right (it has been 15 years since I worked on one)
Jetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1645 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 20945 times:
All 16 U.S Air Force JetStars (C-140) in the late 1970's had their wings removed and repaired because of corrosion. Since all the military JetStars were early serial numbers, like their civilian counterparts they had corrosion internally because Lockheed used a sealer that was not as good a corrosion protector than they thought. Later Jetstars used a better sealant, which basically eliminated the internal corrosion problems as long as the 5 year wing plank inspection was done.
E-Systems had the contract to repair all the wings, they purchased a set of used wings from Lockheed, made up wing jigs and completely dissembled the wing, unriveting all the structural parts. Then they removed any corrosion they found and if necessary replaced the parts that were too corroded, epoxy primed and used updated sealant and reassembled the wings.
Then they flew in a JetStar and installed this repaired wing on the airplane, then they took that wing and reworked it and swapped it with the next airplane flown in until all 16 airplanes were done.
To my knowledge no civilian JetStars had this type of work done on them.
I have also seen pictures of Gulfstream jets that had their wings removed to get at corrosion.
Ex52tech From United States of America, joined Dec 2006, 559 posts, RR: 1
Reply 10, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 20911 times:
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 6): Most wing joints have drill-on-assembly bolts, so if you actually change the wings you're going to have to oversize most of the holes. You also have a pretty descent chance of damaging the hole when the bolt is removed. An oversize isn't exactly damage, but it is a permanent change and you can't do it forever.
In some cases you may be allowed to install bushings in the oversized holes in order to protect what remains of the material after the removal of the original bolts.
Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 6): No. I've never heard of a wing coming off as part of a D-check.
I agree, I have been involved in a few D checks, and that was not even on the table. The only thing I saw that came close to that was the replacement of the "milk bottle" pins in a 727 wing.
"Saddest thing I ever witnessed....an airplane being scrapped"
TheSonntag From Germany, joined Jun 2005, 3570 posts, RR: 29
Reply 12, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 20792 times:
Thank you all for your answers. So, with other words, the wing is one of the few parts of an airliner which really must last 40 + years (if we talk about NWs DC9s...)... Makes them an even more impressive piece of engineering than they already are...
Birdbrian From Canada, joined Mar 2009, 2 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 20586 times:
There are older aircraft which require a wing change to extend their economic life. It is usually because there is some critical feature in the wing that cannot be inspected for cracking or the repeat inspections are too low to make inspecting economically viable. It would be up to the owner to decide if he wants a new aircraft or to replace the wing.
The old Twin Otters come to mind, because the economic life of the aircraft was extended well beyond the original design life.
All modern FAR 25 aircraft have inspection programs and can be fully inspected.
Jetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1645 posts, RR: 10
Reply 14, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 20543 times:
Here is an interesting case of a mandatory wing removal.
On the Piper PA-46 Malibu/Mirage/Meridian series airplanes, the fuselage is life limited to 10,145 hours, but the wings are life limited to 15,580 for the Mirage/Malibu and 13,349 for the Meridian, these limits are in the airplanes type certificate.
So at sometime an owner who has a Mirage who reaches 10,145 hours, has to buy a new fuselage, or one from a salvaged airplane with less time and mount it on the old set of wings and then about 5000 hours later buy a new set of wings, or again a set of salvaged wings and install it on the already replaced fuselage.
I could just imagine the cost of doing this far exceeds the value of the airplane, so it looks like Piper is just legally grounding these airplanes when they reach 10,145 hours, which for a general aviation airplane is a lot of time.
I have read that Cessna is trying to get the FAA to life limit the wings on the 400 series piston twins because some operators have already exceeded the wings design life.
CitationJet From United States of America, joined Mar 2003, 2434 posts, RR: 3
Reply 15, posted (5 years 5 months 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 20511 times:
The wings on the newer Citation models do not pass thru the fuselage, they are attached to the fuselage with dogbone links. On the smaller Citations, there are only four dogbone links, the larger models have six links. The forward and aft yaw fittings connect the wing to the fuselage. The wing and the fuselage don't even touch except at the yaw fittings. Removing those wings are relatively easy. This includes the models 510 (Mustang), 525 (CJ1), 525A (CJ2), 525B (CJ3), 560XL (XL, XLS, XLS+), 680 (Sovereign), and 750 (Citation X).
Fisheye photo of this Mustang exagerates the effect, but shows how the wing passes under the fuselage. The wing/fuselage fairing smooths the countor.