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Airbuses Are Much Easier To Maintain?  
User currently offlineOsteogenesis From Germany, joined May 2003, 647 posts, RR: 2
Posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4966 times:

I once saw an interview on TV with a mechanic. He said the 747 was a nightmare to maintain. He also said the Airbus planes where clearly designed taking maintenance into consideration.

Is there somebody that has experience in this field that could answer this?


32 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineCedarjet From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 8145 posts, RR: 54
Reply 1, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4912 times:

I'm a big fan of Airbus but to be honest I've heard the opposite. At least in the early days, the A300 wasn't popular with mx. Interesting to hear from anyone who has worked on A320s? Have Airbus got it right?


fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
User currently offlineCaetravlr From United States of America, joined Oct 2000, 909 posts, RR: 1
Reply 2, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4881 times:

I believe I have heard some things second hand that UA mechanics as well as ramp guys don't like the Airbus aircraft as much. I am sure someone could tell me if I am wrong, or if that was just one persons opinion, but I believe it is true. I am sure that the newer ones would be somewhat better than the A300s though.


A woman drove me to drink and I didn't have the decency to thank her. - W.C. Fields
User currently offlineOsteogenesis From Germany, joined May 2003, 647 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4881 times:

The mechanic was comparing the A340 with the 747. I should have mentioned that. Big grin

User currently offlineEg777er From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2000, 1837 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4864 times:

The main advantages modern aircraft have over older aircraft (and I'm talking modern Boeing's equally as modern Airbii) is in fault reporting.

I.e. on a modern aircraft, it will tell you itself what is wrong with itself. Some, such as the 777, can even radio ahead automatically with details for ground engineers.

With an older aircraft (such as Concorde) you have to manually 'fail' systems to check whether components are working. This is much more laborious; akin to a complicated game of hide and seek around the aircraft.

Maybe the 'mechanic' (aren't they engineers?) was comparing a classic 747 to an A340. I would imagine a 744 would have much better automatic fault reporting.


User currently offlineOsteogenesis From Germany, joined May 2003, 647 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4853 times:

You made a good point.

The mechanic was doing a D Check on a 747. I don’t remember the type. But probably 744 because of the A340 comparison. I also remember he had some difficulty reaching important parts. He said some important components where better placed on the Bus.

Bur this is probably the same on newer Boeings.


User currently offlineContinental From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5519 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4773 times:

At MSP I rarely see Northwest's A320s in the hangar, it usually has the DC-10s, DC-9s, or the 757s. I guess they are much easier to maintain, unless all the work is completed during the night, then I don't see them.

co


User currently offlineSTT757 From United States of America, joined Mar 2000, 16885 posts, RR: 51
Reply 7, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4726 times:

From all the articles I've read the Airbus aircraft are more labor intensive.

Here's a article about Jetblues "reluctant" decision to go with the A-320s, they originally wanted 737NGs but Airbus gave them (away) better deal.

http://www.aviationnow.com/avnow/news/channel_om_story.jsp?id=news/om1202JBlu.xml

"When originally conceived, JetBlue was going to operate all 737 Next Generation aircraft, but eventually decided to go with the A320 because of "better pricing and warranty," according to Hitesh Patel, JetBlue director of line and base maintenance.

JetBlue maintenance managers admit, however, that the fly-by-wire A320 has given them more maintenance challenges than they would have had with a mechanically driven 737.

"The burden of an A320 maintenance program is a little higher than with a Boeing product," said Patel"


"It's an airplane that has a lot of spurious faults, and you have to reset a lot of the avionics systems," said Lopez. "If you get the training on the airplane it works out well, but you need the maximum amount of training on this airplane."

Airbus responded to comments regarding spurious faults: "The degree of scrutiny (with digital aircraft such as the A320) may be higher than with purely mechanical systems, but it is not higher than the 777," said Clyde Kizer, president and COO, Airbus North America Customer Services, who added that such faults are common with digital airplanes regardless of manufacturer, and they can be triggered by something as simple as shifting from APU power to engine power. "

"We were all Boeing guys; we didn't want Airbus," said Lopez. "Mechanics were afraid of Airbus (and all its) new-generation stuff. But once you learn it, it is a maintenance-friendly plane."





Eastern Air lines flt # 701, EWR-MCO Boeing 757
User currently offlineGreg From United Kingdom, joined May 2005, 0 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 4716 times:

My buddy at UAL said that the A320's as generally known as 'hanger queens.'


User currently offlinePSU.DTW.SCE From United States of America, joined Jan 2002, 7661 posts, RR: 27
Reply 9, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4697 times:

Continental,

All NW A319/A320 heavy maintainance is performed in Duluth, MN....not at MSP

Judging by what you see in the hanger does not imply whether is it realiable or easier to work on. All aircraft have a scheduled maintainance program, and most of those aircraft are in there for such checks.


User currently offlineAirworthy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4604 times:

To be fair you have to take into account when the planes were made, and what technology was available at the time.

User currently offlineOsteogenesis From Germany, joined May 2003, 647 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days 1 hour ago) and read 4600 times:

You are completely wright Airworthy. A detailed comparison of 737NG vs. A320 and A330 vs. 777 would be very interesting.

The tendency of new orders from airlines operating mixed manufacturers may give a slide indication.

But I know there are many other variables involved in choosing an aircraft.


User currently offlineFlaps From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1286 posts, RR: 4
Reply 12, posted (11 years 4 months 3 days ago) and read 4542 times:

STT757 hit the nail on the head.

The Airbus's in our fleet all seem to suffer from chronic nuisance faults, at least in comparison to our Boeing and MDD fleets. It isnt that they necessarily have more actual problems but they do seem to generate a large number of spurious or false alerts. They do not appear from a systems standpoint to be very rugged, particularly with the electronics. Structurally I dont have much info.

Even though we have a large fleet of used A310's it generally seems that plane for plane the A300-600's we purchased new have more of the nuisance type problems than the older and more heavily used 310's. My friends across the field at US report the same problems/issues with their 320 series aircraft. I dont know anyone working on the 330's so I cant contribute anything there.


User currently offlinePalebird From Canada, joined Jan 2001, 78 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 23 hours ago) and read 4484 times:

I can tell you firsthand that Airbus does things different than Boeing and, if you have spent any amount of time on an Airbus, you will be converted. Boeing still insists on its old ways for better or worse. From the 707 to the 767-300.Airbus has actually looked at things with an open mind and the result is a much more maintenance friendly aircraft. Old Boeing diehards(there are lots of them) will tell you about the nuisance faults but that is just part of electronics and new Boeings(777,737NG) have them also. If I never had to work on another Boeing that would be fine with me. But that won't happen.

User currently offlineQb001 From Canada, joined Apr 2000, 2053 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4441 times:

Even Airbus admits that the 320 and early 340 had maintenance problems. I know also that mechanics at Fedex and UPS are not thrilled by the 300/310. But I know sometimes that this is just a matter of properly training the mechanics.

I recently met an AC 320 pilot. He told me that Airbus got it right with the 321, that all the 319/320 glitches were corrected.



Never let the facts get in the way of a good theory.
User currently offlineIndustrialPate From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 4430 times:

PA loved its A300/A310, but DL hated the A310 it inherited. EA loved its A300, but CO (which acquired them) hated them.

One of the major reasons (besides financial difficulties) NW cancelled its original A320 order after only 50 (of 100) planes were delivered was because they felt the aircraft weren’t maintenance-friendly. NW seriously considered purchasing the B737, but reconfirmed its commitment to the A320-family with additional orders beginning in 1997... today, they’re happy with the performance of the A319/A320. US felt the same way about their A320-family aircraft initially (and some will say they still do feel that way). UA has loved its A319/A320 from delivery.

YMMV.


User currently offlineFlaps From United States of America, joined Feb 2000, 1286 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4372 times:

IndustrialPate,

We currently fly some of the former PA/DL 310's and they are the dogs of the 310 fleet. PA did no maintenance that wasnt absolutely necessary and DL apparently didnt do much either. The GE powered 310's from other sources seem to be much more reliable than the P&W versions from PA/DL. The powerplant difference isnt really the issue though other than problems with the thrust reversers. The former PA/DL birds were ridden hard and put away wet (so to speak) so I suppose its only natural that they would tend to be hanger queens.

The A300-600's though seem to be the biggest maintenance headache and they were all purchased new. We have second and third hand MD11's and fourth and fifth hand 727's with better dispatch reliability than the factory new A300-600's.


User currently offlineTu154m From United States of America, joined Oct 2001, 683 posts, RR: 5
Reply 17, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 21 hours ago) and read 4356 times:

I've only got my hands on the A310s(Air Jamaica) and have worked on B727, B737, B757, B767, B777, MD-88, MD-11 and L1011s. From what little Airbus experience I do have I will have to say that they are a pain. BUT.......I think I would take them over McDD!!!!!!! Seriously, it's probably what you are more familiar with. Nowdays, most of the European engineers really like and know Airbus. Most US mechs like and know Boeing. Both are probably at the point of being so advanced that they are much smarter than tose of us who maintain them!!!!!! The 727 is still my fav!!!!
S



CEOs should swim with cement flippers!
User currently offlineMxCtrlr From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2485 posts, RR: 35
Reply 18, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 4322 times:

Having worked extensively on the A300-B4, A310-200 & -300 and almost every Boeing type (and the DC-8, -9 & -10 and even an odd-ball IL62 and some design work on the IL96-300), I can say with some authority that the Airbus product is a far more labor intensive beast than the Boeing products. The problem with the 747 is that there is NOTHING you can work on that doesn't require a ladder to get to. Outside of that (and the body gear steering and rudder ratio problems with the 747) I would take a Boeing aircraft any day over any Airbus aircraft for ease of maintenance.

The other problem with Airbii (for those of you who don't know, one = Airbus, two or more = Airbii) is their maintenance manual is written in standardized English (or what I like to call "Airbusese"). Since the different parts of the Airbii are built in different countries, the manual sections are originally written in whatever that country's native language is (German, Italian, Spanish, British English, etc), then translated into French and then translated into Airbusese. For example, Airbus determined that there were approximately 27 ways to say that fuel was moved through the aircraft so, in an attempt to standardize things, they settled on the word "delivered", as in, the fuel pump delivers fuel to the engines or the fuel truck delivers fuel to the fueling manifold and, in turn, the fueling manifold delivers that fuel to the fuel tank, etc. It can make for some confusion on the part of maintenance.

Anyway, that's just my two cents worth and what I heard almost every other mechanic who worked on both aircraft manufacturer's types say - Airbii are harder to work on than Boeings.

MxCtrlr  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Freight Dogs Anonymous - O.O.T.S.K.  Smokin cool



DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(
User currently offlineJustplanesmart From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 722 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 16 hours ago) and read 4272 times:

MxCtrlr:

Shouldn't the plural for Airbus be Airbi (only one i)?

[Edited 2003-06-27 10:38:23]


"So many planes; so little time..."
User currently offlineMxCtrlr From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 2485 posts, RR: 35
Reply 20, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 4254 times:

Shouldn't the plural for Airbus be Airbi (only one i)?

After looking it up, I stand (or, actually, "sit") corrected! Thank you for pointing that error out.  Big thumbs up

MxCtrlr  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
Freight Dogs Anonymous - O.O.T.S.K.  Smokin cool



DAMN! This SUCKS! I just had to go to the next higher age bracket in my profile! :-(
User currently offlineMr.BA From Singapore, joined Sep 2000, 3423 posts, RR: 22
Reply 21, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4235 times:

Well just some side information here, I heard Cargo handlers complain about loading Airbus planes. One handler told me cargo rollers on pallets on Airbus planes are very small, making it very hard to shift the cargo around in the plane while Boeing are much generous with the size of the rollers.

SQ feedbacked to Airbus and I think the A345/6 and the coming A380 will have better rollers. And he said too, engineers told him: " I don't really look forward to meet Airbuses." I'm never sure why but I'm not trying to aim at Airbus before anyone thinks I am  Smile



Boeing747 万岁!
User currently offlineBuzz From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 697 posts, RR: 21
Reply 22, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 12 hours ago) and read 4223 times:

Hi Osteogenesis, Buzz here. Well, i'll put in a contrary opinion, the A319's and A320's ("Fi-Fi the wonder-jet") isn't so bad to work on. But it does speak a different language and parts are in a different place, and the systems are different. So it takes 4 or 5 years for a Boeing educated mechanic to feel comfortable with the airplane. Meanwhile, we make jokes about "Tolouse Trash Haulers" and "Renton Rejects" - the places where A320's and 727's are assembled.
I'd compare it to working on L-1011's when you're used to a DC-10: it's frustrating for a while trying to figure out what the airplane is telling you went wrong. So for the first few years people were treating it like a 737, throwing a lot of parts at a problem to correct faults that are caused by bad data bus / logic faults. It was perhaps 3 times more expensive than planned to educate mechanics-Nobody figured that into the budget (only a couple weeks of training) so we had to flail around a while. And we had a few years of bleed air faults (cured by doing regular pneumatic system health checks, as on the 737 and 757) and A/C pack problems that cost Liebherr a lot to re-design.
And the manuals are written in the kind of english that doesn't translate well "do not let engine oil get on your skin for a long time" - ok, so i should wait another 10 years to change the oil screen? (grin). But at least the Maint. manual, IPC (illustrated parts catlog) and WDM (wire diagram manual) all use the same number for the same systems. It's not a bad airplane of the '90's. Compared to a 1970's 727-200 the changes are vast, it's still a step above a 1980's airplane like the 757 and 737-300.
One guy commented that he saw a lot of NWA's fleet sitting at the hanger. It could have been waiting for parts, we do most of our airplane fixing at night at UAL when nobody's in a hurry to take the airpalne away from us. Daytime and afternoon is a different story.
So, i've worked DC-8's, DC-10's, 727, 737 (3 types) , 747 (3 types), 757+767, L-1011, Airbus, and the occasional MD-80. The Airbus isn't a bad airplane from the mechanic point of view. But it DOES take 4 or 5 years to make a good A320 mechanic, something that is often ignored (after all it only takes 6 weeks for a pilot to transition to the 'Bus) I often get asked to solve last minute problems, or tackle the difficult +weird sounding gripes that come in. Oh yes, you should learn to be a good R+E (spark chaser) when working the Airbus, many mechanical faults are caused by intermittant loss of data, so you need to do some wire work / cannon plugs / terminal blocks.
And maybe it's an attitude thing: since we have 150 of "Fi-Fi the Wonder Jet" i figured i'd better learn the airplane. I'd even typed up a couple dozen pages of Differences between the A320 and 737, since people see them both as a smaller , twin engine airliner. Underneath they are quite different animals.
g'day from the sunny Pacific Northwest
Buzz Fuselsausage: Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 Crew Chief by choice, taildragger pilot for fun.


User currently offlineZionstrat From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 226 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (11 years 4 months 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 4148 times:

Buzz-
Can you share your report on 737 and 320 differences or is the company confidential?


User currently offlineBuzz From United States of America, joined Nov 1999, 697 posts, RR: 21
Reply 24, posted (11 years 4 months 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 3985 times:

Hi Zionstrat, Buzz here. No problem. But... you'll have to send me an e-mail address. Ping me at meyer5pdx@juno.com It might be a day or two, i'm working on oldest daughter's car and working this weekend.
I walk a lot of mechanics at work through the differences between Fi-Fi the wonder jet and the Boeings they are familiar with.
g'day
Buzz Fuselsausage: Line Mechanic by night, DC-3 Crew Chief by choice, taildragger pilot for fun.


25 Osteogenesis : Thank you Buzz. Very interesting.
26 Sinlock : This is for all the REAL MX guys here. Don't you hate it when someone makes a post in the Tech Ops forum that starts with. 1. I heard....... 2a. A Guy
27 Avioniker : I once was a confirmed Douglas guy. Loved the 8's, liked the 9's, really liked the 10's (found the 11's tolerable). Went to the 747 and 727 and grew t
28 MD-90 : Ignoring the 737 for a moment, I wonder which aircraft is better thought of among mechanics, the MD-90 or A320?
29 Post contains images AussiePete : Why don't we just use facts. I mean, surely thye airlines that fly BOTH brands should know from their own experience which is easier to maintain? Havi
30 VC-10 : Having personally worked on the B707, 742, 744, 757, A310, 320/1 and the A340 I can say that in my opinion there is no difference in the two manufactu
31 FDXmech : >>>I know also that mechanics at Fedex and UPS are not thrilled by the 300/310. But I know sometimes that this is just a matter of properly training t
32 FDXmech : >>>I know also that mechanics at Fedex and UPS are not thrilled by the 300/310. But I know sometimes that this is just a matter of properly training t
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