falter
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'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 3:50 pm

I realize the term is more likely lowest hours, but you get the idea. Working on my writing project here I got curious about whether a commercial airliner, something from the early 70s, could ever see so little use as to be almost like new many years later.

Obviously commercial jets cost enormous sums and would not tend to be left to sit there unused. But I was wondering if it could be in the realm of possibility, say a protracted bankruptcy or asset seizure, an unlucky chain of owners, or maybe foreign events like war. Or if it has ever actually occurred in some form, anywhere.
 
FlyingMSY
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:17 pm

Well, this thread discussed about a 1976-vintage 737-200 (D2-TBC) with only 32,000 hours a while back.
viewtopic.php?t=1380347
 
falter
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 4:56 pm

Thank you! I see in your thread there is a DC9 mentioned with just 15,000 hours?? Am I understanding correctly that that plane has only be run a total of 15k? I wonder if we can get even lower.
 
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vhtje
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:05 pm

Ought you not also be taking into account the number of cycles, as well as hours?
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falter
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:37 pm

Probably. I'm still green on these things.. I was just looking for a rough approximate for mileage in a car. I figured total hours was as good as any place to start.
 
TUGMASTER
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:49 pm

I should imagine that some of the VIP 74L’s that were new have very very low hours...
Prime example would be the Iraqi Airways 74L... ended up in Tunisia somewhere and gathered dust....


Sorry....I meant sand...!
Last edited by TUGMASTER on Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
LH707330
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:50 pm

As with any other machine, age plays a role in how deteriorated things get. If you pulled a new plane off the line in 1970 and parked it in a hangar until now, you'd still be stuck with the following issues:

1. Plastic parts are probably brittle and need replacing
2. Rubber parts dried out and need replacing
3. Anything with fluids in it might need to be checked for corrosion
4. You'd likely have to comply with a long laundry list of ADs

That said, if you're looking for low-utilization classic aircraft, I'd check out ones that were retired early for some reason, like:

DC7s: sold just before the jet age, complicated engines
747SP: bad CASM, eclipsed by the higher-thrust 747-200B variants, many went into low-utilization VIP service
 
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lightsaber
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 5:54 pm

Falter
A good link to start understanding:

http://www.boeing.com/commercial/aeroma ... ticle2.pdf

Basically, an aircraft is serviced on hours or cycles. Think of it like your cars service indicator. At 1/9th or 1/16th of the total life, a c-check happens.

A typical narrowbody does about 2 hours per cycle. Most widebody aircraft do many more hours per cycle. E.g., older widebodies were good for only 36,000 cycles, but were always maintained on the 160,000 hours as those limits were hit first.

The reality is, a new commercial aircraft only pays for itself flying 8+ hours per day.

Lightsaber
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seabosdca
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 6:00 pm

The best candidates are frames that were ordered from the factory as business jets or converted early in life.

For instance, N757AG, a 2000-built 757 that spent less than five years flying for Iberia before becoming a VIP aircraft, had 12411 hours on 8415 cycles as of last year.
 
Arion640
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Mon Apr 22, 2019 10:37 pm

Most of the Concorde’s had about the same mileage on them as a 4-5 year old 747, especially the Air France ones.

Werther you consider them like new is a different story :D
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DL_Mech
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 12:53 am

I imagine the Google 757 has low miles. It has been a VIP jet for 28+ years.

http://www.planespotters.net/airframe/Boeing/757/N757CJ-Private/6kEnigBw

This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.
 
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Ty134A
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 1:51 am

Maybe i am mistaken, but P-835 has very low hours on it. I believe even below 10000. Some remaining YK4 in Russia are low on hours and of greater age. And at least one of JS An-24B (537) is very very old and has very low hours as well.
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smartplane
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 2:03 am

Was a DC3 based in Wellington, NZ with very low hours (relative to the global average for the type), 2 or 3 decades ago.
 
CO953
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:33 am

Well, purely from the perspective of a classic-car mechanic, I would say that machines don't like to sit. The best way to keep an old car going is to use it sparingly, but regularly. This keeps many things (seals, electrical contacts, etc.) used enough to where they don't corrode in place. It's a fine balance. An old dinosaur giant American car of mine has lasted me a long time, but increasingly I found that certain systems would get stuck if they sat too long. The only way to really fix them was to begin driving the car again, and they would free up. Of course, this is not acceptable on an airliner....

But I hope you get my gist.

Too-low hours can be bad. There's a happy medium in there, somewhere.
 
trijetsonly
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:41 am

That golden striped TriStar in VCV with the Saudi registration is said to have a low 4-digit number of hours and cycles.
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ltbewr
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:46 am

I am quite sure the US Air Force One 747's and related aircraft have relatively few hours and cycles, for sure well below commercial users. They also are limited in their life in years due to need for safety and security improvements.
 
T54A
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Tue Apr 23, 2019 8:18 pm

CO953 wrote:
Well, purely from the perspective of a classic-car mechanic, I would say that machines don't like to sit. The best way to keep an old car going is to use it sparingly, but regularly. This keeps many things (seals, electrical contacts, etc.) used enough to where they don't corrode in place. It's a fine balance. An old dinosaur giant American car of mine has lasted me a long time, but increasingly I found that certain systems would get stuck if they sat too long. The only way to really fix them was to begin driving the car again, and they would free up. Of course, this is not acceptable on an airliner....

But I hope you get my gist.

Too-low hours can be bad. There's a happy medium in there, somewhere.



I think you are spot on. Machines are designed to work. Daily (or regular) ops identifies small issues that can be fixed immediately. I cringe at the thought of flying an Airbus that has been sitting for weeks, months. I’m sure the same principle applies to a J3 Cub.
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juliuswong
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:12 am

trijetsonly wrote:
That golden striped TriStar in VCV with the Saudi registration is said to have a low 4-digit number of hours and cycles.


She is kept in pristine condition.
- Life is a journey, travel it well -
 
chiki
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Re: 'Lowest mileage' classic airliners?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:24 am

does anyone have an idea of UM 732 and 762 bet those should have low hours for their age

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