Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Jun 05, 1999 11:43 pm

Total Cycles/time

Fri Feb 23, 2001 2:57 pm

can anyone tell me where I can find info on an aircraft total cycles or time.

I've heard that when an aircraft reaches a total time or cycles they must be retired. Well I was wondering what those figures were.

like for 747's and smaller aircraft

When is an aircraft too old to fly?

Thanx in advance
Atlas Air
Posts: 108
Joined: Thu May 27, 1999 2:59 am

RE: Total Cycles/time

Sat Feb 24, 2001 8:15 am

I know of no mandatory retirement age, flight hours, or cycles for any common aircraft. The decision to retire a particular aircraft is purely much is it costing to keep airworthy? There are several DC10 and B747 aircraft that have accumulated well over 100,000 flight hours. Several DC8 and some B737 aircraft are pushing their way to this threshold also. It is conceivable that some of the Ex-American and Ex-United DC10's being converted to freighters by FedEx will end up seeing over 200,000 flight hours before they hit the scrapyard.
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Nov 11, 2000 8:58 pm

RE: Total Cycles/time

Sat Feb 24, 2001 12:03 pm

Many aircraft do have time and cycle limits, some of which do mandate retirement of components which may make it economically impossible to continue the aircraft in service. The Twin Otter has life limited wings. At 35,000 hours (or less for the 100/200 series), the wing boxes and mainframes must be replaced. Many operators choose to do this as there is no life limit on any other airframe component and the aircraft is not replaceable. At 40,000 cycles, 100 series Dash 8s must be sent back to the factory for extensive structural and fuselage bonding work, which is extremely expensive. Many operators choose to sell these aircraft prior to reaching this time limit. I would agree, however, that I have never heard of an airframe itself that is life limited. Most can be continued in service with a certain amount of inspection and repair.
Posts: 3094
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 6:40 am

RE: Total Cycles/time

Sat Feb 24, 2001 1:23 pm

Every single plane ever made has a design life limit.

Some of the design life limits are as follows:

747 20,000 cycles, 60,000 hours, or 20 years

767 no cylce limit, 100,000 hours, or 40 years

A300/310 36,000 cycles, 60,000 hours, or 20 years

L1011 115,000 cycles, 210,000 hours, or 20 years

DC10/10/30/40 42,000/30,000 cycles, 60,000 hours, or 20 years

The life limit of an airframe means that the airframe has been tested to these limits in simulation. Known issues found during testing have been dealt with and airworthiness directives issued. From what I understand the manufacturer must implement a maintenance program approved by the FAA to extend the life of the plane past the proven life limit.

The fleet leading planes in hours as of 07/99 are as follows:

747: 111,594
767: 66,920
L1011: 82,891
DC10: 106,743
A300: 53,419


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