NorthstarBoy
Topic Author
Posts: 1416
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:53 pm

Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:11 am

N7296U was a 1979 build 727-222 that was retired from the fleet in 1992. Airlinerlists shows that it was reported in Oakland as being retired and that it was officially retired in June of 1992. I also noted that the FAA website shows the registration as being canceled in October of 1992 with no real reason given for the cancelation and no export information provided.

Why would UA have retired such a relatively new aircraft?

Any information to be had is appreciated.

Finally, I apologize for the narrow scope of the question, it's just something that's always intrigued me. Someone out there in aviation land has to know something! Fill me in.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
United1
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RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:19 am

Extensive corrosion caused by fire/fire suppression used years prior on the aircraft.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA294968

The specific event that triggered this investigation occurred in October 1979 on a Boeing 727
operated by United Airlines (UAL). The aircraft, registration number N7296U, entered service
in March 1979. A fire was reported to have occurred in the aircraft on October 26, 1979, after a
ground cleanup crew had secured the aircraft. The fire was subsequently extinguished, but no
information is available as to what extinguishing agent or system was used. Subsequent to the
extinguishment, the aircraft was repaired, inspected, and returned to service. In March 1991,
after accumulating 36,575 hours of flight time and 20,334 landing cycles, the aircraft underwent
a scheduled Heavy Maintenance Visit (HMV). In the process of removing the interior
furnishings to inspect the fuselage shell for defects, extensive corrosion of the fuselage was
found. The corrosion levels in the crown area were well beyond what would be expected.
Furthermore, the corrosion extended almost the full length of the fuselage, beyond the area that
could have been expected to be directly affected by the fire. A Significant Activity Report (SAR)
was issued by the FAA's Western Pacific Regional Office on this aircraft in May 1991
(reproduced in appendix A of this document). The severity of this damage was sufficient enough
to cause the aircraft to be removed from service and dismantled.

Found this using a Google search.
I know the voices in my head aren't real but sometimes their ideas are just awesome!!!
 
NorthstarBoy
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RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:35 am

thank you for the quick and interesting response.

My interest in the plane stems from it's presence on my log from a 1987 trip from Denver to Seattle enroute to Alaska. I guess if I flew on a plane seemingly riddled with system corrosion, I can say I burned up yet another of my nine lives.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
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falstaff
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RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 5:51 pm

Quoting United1 (Reply 1):
The fire was subsequently extinguished, but no
information is available as to what extinguishing agent or system was used

What kind of stuff would have been used in 1979 that could have caused that kind of corrosion?
My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
 
richierich
Posts: 3306
Joined: Sat Nov 04, 2000 5:49 am

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 8:55 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 3):
What kind of stuff would have been used in 1979 that could have caused that kind of corrosion?

Salt water?

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 2):
My interest in the plane stems from it's presence on my log from a 1987 trip from Denver to Seattle enroute to Alaska. I guess if I flew on a plane seemingly riddled with system corrosion, I can say I burned up yet another of my nine lives

I also find it interesting to learn the fate of aircraft I have flown on... but you probably didn't cheat death by flying on it. it flew for another 4-5 years after your flight and didn't seem to have any issues until the HMV. Does make you wonder though.
None shall pass!!!!
 
Alnicocunife
Posts: 195
Joined: Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:32 pm

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 9:21 pm

Quoting falstaff (Reply 3):
What kind of stuff would have been used in 1979 that could have caused that kind of corrosion?

Anything with Mercury in it (in a pre-halon fire extinguisher agent)? A combination of flame and cabin materials creating a smoke vapor that adhered to the inner fuselage skin. Aircraft of the 1970's and into the 1980's were built without Corrosion Inhibiting Compounds (CIC's) on the inner skins. There were much more susceptible to corrosion.
 
NorthstarBoy
Topic Author
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2005 12:53 pm

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Fri Jul 27, 2012 11:44 pm

I havent read the linked report, but, I can't help but wonder if the original 1979 fire was caused by the aircraft cleaners smoking on the aircraft after finishing their work and improperly extinguishing their smoking materials. I think of this because a friend of mine worked at Kuwait City airport in the 70s as a contractor for Royal Air Maroc and he often mentioned that he and the LH engineer would sit in the cockpit after completing their work, drinking booze provided for them by the Moroccan flight crew. In that light it doesn't seem far fetched that the cleaning crew in this case would sit in the cockpit after work and have a drink and a smoke.
Yes, I'd like to see airbus go under so Boeing can have their customers!
 
jadedchameleon
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:53 pm

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:00 am

Quoting NorthstarBoy (Reply 6):

Tobacco smoke is not corrosive enough to cause anywhere that kind of damage.

And if it was, every aircraft entered in service before about 25 years ago would have been in big trouble, since smoking on aircraft was accepted and widespread.

[Edited 2012-07-27 21:02:38]
 
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9MMPQ
Posts: 370
Joined: Fri Nov 11, 2011 3:00 pm

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:25 am

Actually the report United1 has linked to is more intresting then you'd think. From page VII ...

Study of other individual 727 aircraft with similar operating histories did not help establish fire
as a cause of corrosion. No consistent bias toward corrosion was found by comparing aircraft
that had fires with those that did not. Additionally, the 727s with the highest reported corrosion
did not have fires. Four 727s without fires had more corrosion than the high corrosion 727 with
fire.

It seems you can't rule out fire & supression used as a cause but it may not be completely the main reason either.

There's also mention of a new corrosion inspection program being used. Maybe improvements at that time in inspection methods were better able to detect problems than those previously being applied ?
I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences.
 
CBRboy
Posts: 162
Joined: Mon Apr 30, 2007 2:03 pm

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Sat Jul 28, 2012 4:26 am

Quoting jadedchameleon (Reply 7):
Tobacco smoke is not corrosive enough to cause anywhere that kind of damage.

Uh, pardon me, but I think if you check NorthstarBoy's post he was suggesting that the fire on board may have been caused by the cleaners not extinguishing cigarettes.  
 
NASCARAirforce
Posts: 2452
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2005 7:27 am

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 10:48 pm

Hey Frontier was retiring 3 year old A318s a couple years back and then scrapping them. N810FR was built in 2007 and retired by 2010, scrapped by 2011. So this 727 lived more than 4 times longer.
 
n471wn
Posts: 1371
Joined: Tue Dec 02, 2003 12:23 am

RE: Why Would UA Retire A 13 Year Old 727?

Sun Jul 29, 2012 11:25 pm

Quoting NASCARAirforce (Reply 10):
Hey Frontier was retiring 3 year old A318s a couple years back and then scrapping them. N810FR was built in 2007 and retired by 2010, scrapped by 2011

Actually it was the leasing company but still a total waste-----no way are parts worth more than a 3 year old a/c that is still in production!!

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