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Wear And Tear On A Plane  
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 4
Posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3299 times:

Besides being operated by a carrier like Hawaiian or Aloha (RIP) which flies the sh*t out of their short haul fleet (island hopping all day) which racks up cycles, what other types of operator would put heavier wear on a plane? I think of it like a car that drives 40,000 miles on the highway every year vs. 40,000 miles delivering parcels in the city every year. I'm not referring specifically to cycles/hours but just the general condition of the plane inside/out. At the moment I work for a charter airline who's planes generally do 4 flights daily ex-YYZ. The planes leave YYZ around 0600, fly down to the Caribbean, fly back up and arrive back in YYZ around 14-1500. During the turn, some maintenance items may be done but most are left till RON. They then leave again around 1600. Their flying day finishes when they come back to YYZ between 2300 and 0200. The planes get a 4-5 hour rest and regular maintenance is performed (wheel changes, LRU changes, etc). The interiors begin to look worn quite quickly and we seem to be replacing seat parts regularly (if the plane is full every flight, about 700-800 pax have been on it within 24 hours).

Thankfully we have a very good maintenance team and the planes are very well taken care of. The same can't be said for the other carriers we've leased planes from (duct taped armrests x 10, broken recline cables, worn seat covers, and that's just the inside!). I don't have experience with other operators but I'd think a plane like a 777 which flies longer flights endures less wear than an A320 which does four, 3 hour flights daily. Certainly the wheels and brakes would not need changing so often. I remember when I used to work in stores I used to dread hearing mtce call for main wheels but it would happen at least once every night shift. They're heavy and incredibly dirty parts to deal with! At least the worn ones were able to stand up without falling over on their side!

[Edited 2013-01-18 21:03:23]

[Edited 2013-01-18 21:23:46]


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16 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17190 posts, RR: 66
Reply 1, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3281 times:

I think there's a line in the sand that needs to be drawn here between two types of wear.
- "Cosmetic" wear and tear. Chipped and worn, oil streaks, worn upholstery, etc. All that stuff will eventually lead to more maintenance but in the main it serves to make the plane look good and has little or no impact on airworthiness.
- "Operational" wear and tear. Corrosion of structural bits, inop navigational equipment, tires worn just a bit more than they should be before replacement. This stuff will kill you.

Some operators keep their planes spotless. Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines come to mind. Others are fine with wear and tear but still safe, say Air France. And at the low end you have Central African Republic Revolutionary Army Airways (and Surf Shack)...


I'd say if you want to see planes that are cosmetically worn, go to your local flight school! 



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 4
Reply 2, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 3277 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I'd say if you want to see planes that are cosmetically worn, go to your local flight school!

Oh yes, my first job was at an FBO and those planes were vintage. I once flew a 172 built in the 70s that had ashtray one of which had an old cigarette butt in it. Not to mention the smell of dozens of students who decided to eat a large meal before their first flight   



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User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17190 posts, RR: 66
Reply 3, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3271 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 2):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I'd say if you want to see planes that are cosmetically worn, go to your local flight school!

Oh yes, my first job was at an FBO and those planes were vintage. I once flew a 172 built in the 70s that had ashtray one of which had an old cigarette butt in it. Not to mention the smell of dozens of students who decided to eat a large meal before their first flight

I was very lucky with my flight school (or maybe I just chose wisely). Immaculate planes. One of the chief instructors would do a line check twice daily. Even a sunshade not in place would be fixed (well, the guilty student would be told to fix it!). The planes were washed and detailed every week. Squawks were resolved promptly. Maintenance was carried out just a touch earlier than needed. Sure, they cost a bit more, but you very seldom had issues with planes not being available. It saved me a lot of time to always have some airworthy plane.

This is of course rather unusual. When I did my multi rating at another school, and it was certainly a good one, my wrists were always filthy from rubbing the greasy sides of the fuel sumping hatches. Behind the rear seat of the plane was a (broken) sunshade, several empty bottles of engine oil, old approach plates. It amazed me that something that takes very little time to fix and can be mostly delegated onto students in the after shutdown checklist was completely disregarded. The planes were not unsafe but it seemed so unprofessional to me.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31712 posts, RR: 56
Reply 4, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3244 times:

Not to mention the type of terrain the Aircraft operates in ie climatic conditionwise also contributes to rapid or less wear overall.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 2):
Not to mention the smell of dozens of students who decided to eat a large meal before their first flight

Are you saying students ate inside the Aircraft or you mean Students after eating sat in the aircraft with the food aroma.

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 1):
I think there's a line in the sand that needs to be drawn here between two types of wear.

Exactly....

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 3):
The planes were washed and detailed every week

In addition to cleaning the dust on the exterior, it also improves the Airframe performance when cleaned.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17190 posts, RR: 66
Reply 5, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3242 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 2):
Not to mention the smell of dozens of students who decided to eat a large meal before their first flight

Are you saying students ate inside the Aircraft or you mean Students after eating sat in the aircraft with the food aroma.

Yes. 

Have seen both happen.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlinerwessel From United States of America, joined Jan 2007, 2429 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 11 hours ago) and read 3221 times:
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Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
Are you saying students ate inside the Aircraft or you mean Students after eating sat in the aircraft with the food aroma.

Heavy meal, maneuvering, turbulence, inexperienced flier...   


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17190 posts, RR: 66
Reply 7, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3186 times:

Quoting rwessel (Reply 6):
Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
Are you saying students ate inside the Aircraft or you mean Students after eating sat in the aircraft with the food aroma.

Heavy meal, maneuvering, turbulence, inexperienced flier...  

Breakfast burritos and their aftermath...



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31712 posts, RR: 56
Reply 8, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3175 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):

Have seen both happen.

I can understand the latter not in the control of the Training school, but eating inside the Aircraft can def be forbidden.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17190 posts, RR: 66
Reply 9, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3171 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 8):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 5):

Have seen both happen.

I can understand the latter not in the control of the Training school, but eating inside the Aircraft can def be forbidden.

I don't think that is really necessary. We were often doing 3-5 hour cross countries. Once I did 11 hours with two stops. A snack can be pretty essential when you're tited and landing in the dark after a long trek.

What should be demanded is that students tidy up any wrappers and discarded note paper etc. If there's a mess, clean it up!



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 4
Reply 10, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 3066 times:

Quoting HAWK21M (Reply 4):
Are you saying students ate inside the Aircraft or you mean Students after eating sat in the aircraft with the food aroma.

You missed the joke. First time fliers in a small plane, large meal, motion sickness = nausea and the associated transfer of stomach contents out of the body into (if we're lucky) a small bag.



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User currently offlineFabo From Slovakia, joined Aug 2005, 1219 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3013 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Thread starter):
The same can't be said for the other carriers we've leased planes from (duct taped armrests x 10, broken recline cables, worn seat covers, and that's just the inside!).

I think I know who you work for and I think I know whose planes you refer to  

This is all about money - if your (lessee) airline does not specify that aircraft are to be in spotless condition on beginning of the lease, the lessor airline might just defer it so as to save money. Hell, the Canadians might even end up changing this on their own dime!

Didnt you get a brand new plane from this very airline last winter btw? Diverted from BFI after a wind event (IIRC) grounded one of other leased planes.



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User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 2863 times:

Quoting Fabo (Reply 11):

Yes, you are on the right track. I remember going to see the new plane before it entered pax service and the smell of the interior was just like a new car. 

[Edited 2013-01-19 17:14:53]


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User currently offlineKC135Hydraulics From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 324 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 2842 times:

Think also about wear and tear as a function of age. The planes I work on were built in the 50s and 60s, and I find all sorts of incredible things inside of them. In wing dry bays where we have our hydraulic reservoirs for example, I'm finding archaeic FOD that has likely been flying around in there for 50 years. Also, I find it astonishing, for example, when I'm pulling and replacing components that were original to the jet. For example, I recently removed a hydraulic flow regulator that was bad, and after looking over the part I found the original cure date and assembly stamps dated from 1961. It was obvious that the part had not been disturbed/removed/overhauled since then given its deteriorization. When you're holding a part like that in your hands it makes you wonder about the people that were around when they made that part, and who it might have been when they installed it. Where are they now, and what would they think if you told them this part they made/installed 50 years ago survived and operated well into 2013? There's not a lot of anything these days that can work for 50 years. Amazing!

User currently offlineJAGflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3584 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 2811 times:

Quoting KC135Hydraulics (Reply 13):

Any original parts on a 50 year old aircraft surprise me, especially ones that endure high pressure and intensive use such as something in the hydraulic system. What would be more interesting to me would be finding things from the 60s that were forgotten about back then. Stuff like newspapers, soda cans, etc.



Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31712 posts, RR: 56
Reply 15, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 2724 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 9):
What should be demanded is that students tidy up any wrappers and discarded note paper etc. If there's a mess, clean it up!

Restricting the type of food will help.

Quoting JAGflyer (Reply 10):
a small bag.

Ok.Understood....  



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineDarksnowynight From United States of America, joined Jan 2012, 1413 posts, RR: 3
Reply 16, posted (1 year 11 months 1 week 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 2676 times:

Quoting JAGflyer (Thread starter):
I don't have experience with other operators but I'd think a plane like a 777 which flies longer flights endures less wear than an A320 which does four, 3 hour flights daily.

I used to do Transit checks on BA 744s, and no, they were not in much better shape. In fact, most of the time, there were at least seven to nine open entries in the cabin log upon arrival. It seemed as though there was just about the same amount of cabin rash on these as any of the Super 80s or 737s we worked. And a lot of powerplant and airframe squawks too, of course.

Quoting JAGflyer (Thread starter):
I remember when I used to work in stores I used to dread hearing mtce call for main wheels but it would happen at least once every night shift. They're heavy and incredibly dirty parts to deal with! At least the worn ones were able to stand up without falling over on their side!

Well, you could always change places and actually R&R the damned things. I'm pretty sure MX will do what they can to not call you for that one.



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