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Converting An A318 To A A319/A320  
User currently offlinecitrusrsw From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 24 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 4938 times:

I realize it would most likely be hugely uneconomical. But putting that aside would it even be physically possible? Could sections be taken out of retired aircraft and plugged in? What after market processes would be involved with stretching an aircraft like the A318 or 757-200 to its larger cousins? Has it ever been done before?

16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16999 posts, RR: 67
Reply 1, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4908 times:

It has certainly been done before. For example all the Lockheed Starlifters, originally built as C-141A, were stretched into the C-141B, adding over 7 meters in length. In fact no C-141B were built as new!



[Edited 2011-10-11 20:53:28]

[Edited 2011-10-11 20:56:05]

[Edited 2011-10-11 20:56:25]


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User currently offlinecitrusrsw From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 24 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 4453 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
It has certainly been done before. For example all the Lockheed Starlifters, originally built as C-141A, were stretched into the C-141B, adding over 7 meters in length. In fact no C-141B were built as new!

That's pretty awesome. It looks like they added plugs just in front and aft of the wing box. I'm guessing cargo planes of this nature can "bulk out" before they even reach MTOW, making the stretch necessarily? I came across this pic from ST Aerospace for 757 cargo conversion. I would assume adding the frames to the C-141A would have looked somewhat similar.


User currently offlinedlednicer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 542 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 5 hours ago) and read 4352 times:
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You could stretch the fuselage, but the A318 has a taller vertical tail than the A319, A320 and A321. Plus, the A318s have different engines (CFM56-5B8, CFM56-5B9, PW6122A and PW6124A) than the rest of the family members. I would also bet that because they fly at lower gross weights, the A318s have thinner wing planks.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16999 posts, RR: 67
Reply 4, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 4348 times:

Quoting citrusrsw (Reply 2):
I'm guessing cargo planes of this nature can "bulk out" before they even reach MTOW, making the stretch necessarily?

That is indeed the main reason for the C-141 conversions.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3503 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 2 days ago) and read 4265 times:
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Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
It has certainly been done before. For example all the Lockheed Starlifters, originally built as C-141A, were stretched into the C-141B, adding over 7 meters in length. In fact no C-141B were built as new!

C-141As simply got new barrel sections installed at existing production breaks to become C-141Bs. What the OP suggests is somewhat more complicated, requiring removal of an existing section first. I would suggest stretching 747-200s into 747-200SUDs is a better example.



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User currently offlineSomedayTrijet From China, joined Nov 2010, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 4175 times:

Quoting citrusrsw (Thread starter):
Has it ever been done before?

Yes, the CRJ700 prototype was stretched into becoming the CRJ900 protoype. Later it was stretched once again to the CRJ1000 prototype.



Flown on: ATR72-5, Q300, E190, E195, A319/20/21, A332/3, 734/6/G/8, 744, 752/3, 763ER, 772ER/LR
User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1640 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4065 times:
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C-130’s were also stretched, when I went through my Lockheed Jetstar maintenance training at the the factory in Marietta, GA, in the 1970’s they were stretching a civilian C-130 by inserting 2 barrel sections, one in front and the other behind the wing.

I believe they went from a –10 to a –30 model by stretching. I do not believe any US Air Force C-130’s were ever stretched, just civilian ones and maybe some foreign owned airframes and I don’t think that Lockheed has done any stretching of C-130’s in the past 30 or so years.

JetStar


User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3503 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 4024 times:
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Quoting jetstar (Reply 7):
I do not believe any US Air Force C-130’s were ever stretched, just civilian ones and maybe some foreign owned airframes and I don’t think that Lockheed has done any stretching of C-130’s in the past 30 or so years.

Of course standard length & "stretched" C-130Js are still available new from the factory.



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User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3387 posts, RR: 26
Reply 9, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 4008 times:
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So consensus is it is easy, simply a new wing, tail, engines, a couple of body plugs, wiring and hydraulics, flight deck computer reprogram, landing gear(?), and all the time and manpower to do it. Easier to buy a used bird and be able to fly it next week.

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16999 posts, RR: 67
Reply 10, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 3908 times:

Quoting kanban (Reply 9):
So consensus is it is easy, simply a new wing, tail, engines, a couple of body plugs, wiring and hydraulics, flight deck computer reprogram, landing gear(?), and all the time and manpower to do it. Easier to buy a used bird and be able to fly it next week.

I wouldn't call it easy, especially not with newer more "optimized" designs. I think in the past there was more wiggle room on structure. Nowadays the C-141 would have been a B from the start.



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User currently offlineZANL188 From United States of America, joined Oct 2006, 3503 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (2 years 9 months 2 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 3705 times:
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Speaking of stretched aircraft.....

I'm suspecting this was built to this length vs being stretched after manufacture - but interesting none the less.


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Photo © Helmut Schnichels




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User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1640 posts, RR: 10
Reply 12, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 3378 times:
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I know of 2 other airplanes that were stretched,

Basler remanufactures DC-3’s and installs turbo prop engines to replace the piston engines and they insert a fuselage plug ahead of the wing to stretch the fuselage. Basler still is doing this modification today and it is called the BT-67.

Years ago a company stretched the turbo prop Grumman Gulfstream 1 to make it into a commuter airliner by inserting fuselage plugs in front and behind the wing. I do not know who did this conversion, but the normal G1 had 5 large oval windows on each side of the fuselage and the stretched version had 7 windows.

JetStar


User currently offlinedlednicer From United States of America, joined May 2005, 542 posts, RR: 7
Reply 13, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 3334 times:
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Quoting jetstar (Reply 12):
Years ago a company stretched the turbo prop Grumman Gulfstream 1 to make it into a commuter airliner by inserting fuselage plugs in front and behind the wing. I do not know who did this conversion, but the normal G1 had 5 large oval windows on each side of the fuselage and the stretched version had 7 windows.

The company was Gulfstream American, right after Allen Paulson bought them. The company later became Gulfstream Aerospace. Before and after of the same airframe:

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Photo © Carlos Vaz - SJU Aviation Photography
View Large View Medium
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Photo © Robert M. Campbell



To add another, Kelowna Flightcraft has stretched some Convair 580s,to make them 5800s. Before and after of the same airframe:

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Photo © Chris Banyai-Riepl
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Photo © Jose M. Garcia



User currently offlineXT6Wagon From United States of America, joined Feb 2007, 3392 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 3278 times:

With new build A319 and A320 being avalible its far cheaper to scrap the 318 and get a new frame. Even if the price of conversion was the same as the difference in value, the newer A319 would cost less to operate as it has lots of small changes that add up to a less expensive plane to operate than the older frames.

Streches like the C141 that are done after the fact only occur when the cost to restart production makes it far more expensive to buy new than convert. If the cost is even remotely comparable between the conversion and newbuild price, the newbuild will win every time given lower risk, lower operating costs, and higher lifespan.


User currently offlinejetstar From United States of America, joined May 2003, 1640 posts, RR: 10
Reply 15, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 3238 times:
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Quoting dlednicer (Reply 13):
Quoting jetstar (Reply 12):
Years ago a company stretched the turbo prop Grumman Gulfstream 1 to make it into a commuter airliner by inserting fuselage plugs in front and behind the wing. I do not know who did this conversion, but the normal G1 had 5 large oval windows on each side of the fuselage and the stretched version had 7 windows.

The company was Gulfstream American, right after Allen Paulson bought them. The company later became Gulfstream Aerospace. Before and after of the same airframe:

View Large View Medium

Photo © Carlos Vaz - SJU Aviation PhotographyView Large View Medium

Photo © Robert M. Campbell

Just to clarify, all 200 G1’s produced were built by Grumman Aircraft at their plant in Bethpage, on Long Island New York along with the first 2 dozen or so G2’s.

Allen Paulson’s Gulfstream American bought the type certificate and all the rights and support to the G1, along with the type certificate and all production tooling from Grumman when they exited the corporate aircraft business. G1 production had already ceased when Paulson bought the Gulfstream line from Grumman.

The 2 photos of the G1 are both after stretching, all G1’s were built with only 5 large oval windows on each side of the fuselage, this design was also incorporated into the G2 series airplanes as basically the G2 was a derivative of the G1. The G1 production number is a G-159, and the G2 is a G-1159.

Here is a photo of the standard G1, you can see the front entry door is very close to the propeller and on your photos the door is much farther forward.


View Large View Medium
Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © Tales De Lass Graciano



It looks like on the second photo of the AA commuter G1, a 7th window was added aft of the 6th window, which itself was added when the airframe was stretched. It appears there might have been a cargo door installed which could have been removed when the last window was installed.

One interesting thing is when the G1 was in corporate service, both main cabin windows on each side were removable emergency exits, giving the cabin 4 emergency exits for a cabin that sat about 10 to 12 passengers, but when the aircraft was stretched and converted to a commuter airliner, only one window on each side was used as an emergency exit, for a cabin that probably sat 30 or so passengers.

Here is a photo showing the emergency exits on the corporate G1


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Click here for bigger photo!

Photo © R.A.Scholefield



As far as i know, the main entry door at that time the airplane was certified was not certified as an emergency exit, probably because of the built in air stairs, so G1’s, at least the early ones had an escape hatch in the fuselage roof just inside the main entry door and that was the escape route for the pilots. Grumman eventually got approval to use the main entry door an emergency exit on the G1 so this feature was not incorporated into the G2.

On the G1 my company operated, that roof hatch every once in a while would leak water after sitting out in a heavy rain until we finally replaced to seal.

On the standard G1, the airstairs were very close to the #1 propeller, within 2 feet, so it was my job as the First Officer as soon as we came to a stop on the ramp to open the door and as soon as the airstairs extended, prevented any passengers from walking down the stairs as the prop was wind milling down after engine shutdown. To help the prop stop, I would stick my hand out and try to slow the propeller rotation first by just sliding my hand on the prop and as the prop RPM wound down I would start to grap the leading edge of the prop to slow the rotation and eventually stop the prop. RR Dart engines rotate opposite of US engines so the ascending prop blade was closest to the fuselage and was easy to grab it to help slow it down while standing on the top step of the air stairs. This same engine and prop power package was used on the F-27 series airplanes as well as some other airplanes like the Japanese YS-11 and I do not know of any installation of a propeller brake on these airplanes

JetStar


User currently offlineViscount724 From Switzerland, joined Oct 2006, 24857 posts, RR: 22
Reply 16, posted (2 years 9 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 3059 times:

Quoting jetstar (Reply 12):
Basler remanufactures DC-3’s and installs turbo prop engines to replace the piston engines and they insert a fuselage plug ahead of the wing to stretch the fuselage. Basler still is doing this modification today and it is called the BT-67.

I may be wrong but I think that stretch is at least partly for weight and balance reasons since the PT6A turboprops are much lighter than the original piston engines.


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