Max Q
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Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:15 am

It used to be common to have certain aircraft that were notoriously unreliable,
spending a lot if not most of their time ‘in the hangar’ being fixed


With modern manufacturing techniques and aircraft being built to ever more exacting tolerances is there much variation
anymore as far as reliability is concerned ?


Are there still hangar queens ?!
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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1989worstyear
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:48 am

Another interesting comparison would be between extremely popular decades-old designs (737, A320, A330) and ones from this century (787, A350, A220).
Stuck at age 15 thanks to the certification date of the A320-200 and my parents' decision to postpone having a kid by 3 years. At least there's Dignitas...
 
Woodreau
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 12:49 pm

The 320NEO with P&W engines
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Zeke2517
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:28 pm

Woodreau wrote:
The 320NEO with P&W engines


And the 737MAX.
 
unimproved
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:53 pm

A hangar queen is not a model, it's a certain aircraft.


And yes, they do still exist. We have a 787 that just keeps coming back with issues to the point where mechs go "It's <reg> again, isn't it?"
 
IADCA
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 3:53 pm

Now that we've had the facetious answers out of the way, it's actually an interesting question. Are there individual airframes of new models that seem to require much more MX than their peers? I recall that Independence had a particular CRJ that was notorious for having gremlins, but that's getting pretty far into the past and I can't say I've heard of individual 777s or A330s (for example) that are hangar queens.

unimproved wrote:
A hangar queen is not a model, it's a certain aircraft.


And yes, they do still exist. We have a 787 that just keeps coming back with issues to the point where mechs go "It's <reg> again, isn't it?"


:checkmark: This dude gets it.
 
nws2002
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:30 pm

The previous airline I worked for had an aircraft painted in a scheme for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The joke was always "make a wish it leaves" because of the mechanical issues with that one tail number.

Independence Air (well I guess it was ACJet at that point still) had a Dornier 328JET that we called Sparky. I think it was tail 418FJ, but I could be wrong on that. Always had issues.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:16 pm

Well given that N901NK, N902NK, N903NK, N904NK, and N905NK are all less than two years old and collectively have been parked for a total time of around 8 years combined for engine and bleed air issues and until recently comprised the entire fleet of 320NEOs at one airline, I would have to say those 5 tail numbers qualify as hangar queens. They've been parked long enough for all of them to have their onboard wifi package installed even though few other planes in the fleet have a wifi package installed.

There seems to be a collective groan/flinch when pilots find out that their next flight is scheduled to be on a NEO, no matter what tail number NEO it is. I particularly dislike the planes sounding like they have an inoperative prop sync when in cruise flight.

Or when maintenance comes onboard and their first reaction is, "Oh no it's another NEO."
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
Flaps
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu Apr 25, 2019 11:40 pm

Aircraft do develop individual personalities and yes, hanger queens are still a real thing. There are two 319's that I deal with on a regular basis that are notorious for their unreliability. Whenever they appear on schedule the entire crew take a collective sigh and prepares for the inevitable delays.
 
Max Q
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Fri Apr 26, 2019 4:54 am

As a new flight engineer in the 727 I operated the -100 and -200 series


The 200s were pretty old but solid and reliable, well thought out systems and easy to manage with some practice and experience


The -100’s were very similar with one big exception,,whereas The pressurization on the 200 was automatic ‘set it and forget it’ the 100 was completely manual and a major pita


Very difficult to avoid major pressure bumps no matter what you did, those -100’s were ancient and cranky, they were my personal hangar queens and I dreaded the sight of an oval #2 engine intake !
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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452QX
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Fri Apr 26, 2019 7:04 am

nws2002 wrote:
The previous airline I worked for had an aircraft painted in a scheme for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The joke was always "make a wish it leaves" because of the mechanical issues with that one tail number.

Independence Air (well I guess it was ACJet at that point still) had a Dornier 328JET that we called Sparky. I think it was tail 418FJ, but I could be wrong on that. Always had issues.


A certain University of Washington-themed plane I know of has always been a troublemaker..
 
slcguy
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:53 pm

Yes there are and probably always will be. Seems like there are always a few planes regardless of type that seem to have more issues. As for the reason I don't know, they all go down a production line of hundreds of people with quality inspectors along the way so would expect them to all be basically the same. It's not like each plane was assembled by one person and one day that person had a hangover LOL.
 
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SRQKEF
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:50 am

The 767 FI had back in the mid-2000s (TF-FIB) was a real hangar queen, which was especially brutal for the airline as it was their only 767 and as such the only available aircraft to operate the SFO rotation.

Thankfully, the acquisition of the 4 NZ 767s in 2016 was much more thought out and they’ve been fantastic workhorses from day one from what I’ve heard.
Nothing compares to taking off in an empty 757 with full thrust!
 
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fr8mech
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 1:54 am

Yup, of course they exist. It's not a particular fleet-type, just a few tails, across the fleet, that seem to be our "least-best". Disappointingly, one of those tails is about 6 months old with about 1500 hours. But, it's getting better.

You know an aircraft is a "hangar queen" when someone describes a problem and you can identify the specific tail.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
You are not entitled to a public safe space.
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Max Q
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:08 am

fr8mech wrote:
Yup, of course they exist. It's not a particular fleet-type, just a few tails, across the fleet, that seem to be our "least-best". Disappointingly, one of those tails is about 6 months old with about 1500 hours. But, it's getting better.

You know an aircraft is a "hangar queen" when someone describes a problem and you can identify the specific tail.



Interesting, do you ever get to the point
where a particular airframe is so problematic you just start using it for parts ?
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


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fr8mech
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 5:34 am

Max Q wrote:
Interesting, do you ever get to the point
where a particular airframe is so problematic you just start using it for parts ?


No, aircraft are expensive. We fix them and fly them. If we have a problematic aircraft, we program some ground time, and build a work package for it, based on the problems we are experiencing, along with scheduled maintenance tasks that can be assigned.

Example: we recently had an aircraft where the flight crew would report a stiff speedbrake handle. Very intermittently. We'd go weeks without a problem, then bam, 3 or 4 legs in a row we'd get the problem. Each leg would result in a delay or a cancellation. Line maintenance couldn't find anything wrong with it. We put the aircraft down, and wrote a plan to go through the system, hand-over-hand, touching each pulley, rod, bearing, etc., until we found the culprit(s). Found 2 rod-ends and a pulley that would occasionally bind up. We took care of them and cleaned up a bunch of other deferred items and kicked it out after a week. Been flying fine. Not a "hangar queen", for the time-being. but, it's one of our older airframes, with high hours and cycles. She'll be back in that status again.
When seconds count...the police are minutes away.
Unless it's expressly prohibited, it's allowed.
You are not entitled to a public safe space.
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unimproved
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 9:24 am

Max Q wrote:
fr8mech wrote:
Yup, of course they exist. It's not a particular fleet-type, just a few tails, across the fleet, that seem to be our "least-best". Disappointingly, one of those tails is about 6 months old with about 1500 hours. But, it's getting better.

You know an aircraft is a "hangar queen" when someone describes a problem and you can identify the specific tail.



Interesting, do you ever get to the point
where a particular airframe is so problematic you just start using it for parts ?

Not just randomly, but once the fleet is given the phase out status they're usually the first to go and get parted out. Or fly until the next C/D check.

We have a fleet of very early 737NGs who are still flying, while planes from a newer block have already been retired. I'm pretty sure the aircraft just knows that once it starts being a PITA it's over.
 
Max Q
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:14 am

Thanks for the informative replies
FR8M and UNM
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tb727
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat Apr 27, 2019 4:31 pm

Woodreau wrote:
Well given that N901NK, N902NK, N903NK, N904NK, and N905NK are all less than two years old and collectively have been parked for a total time of around 8 years combined for engine and bleed air issues and until recently comprised the entire fleet of 320NEOs at one airline, I would have to say those 5 tail numbers qualify as hangar queens. They've been parked long enough for all of them to have their onboard wifi package installed even though few other planes in the fleet have a wifi package installed.

There seems to be a collective groan/flinch when pilots find out that their next flight is scheduled to be on a NEO, no matter what tail number NEO it is. I particularly dislike the planes sounding like they have an inoperative prop sync when in cruise flight.

Or when maintenance comes onboard and their first reaction is, "Oh no it's another NEO."


910 is good to go though.
Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
 
RadarAvionics
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 1:26 am

Max Q wrote:
It used to be common to have certain aircraft that were notoriously unreliable,
spending a lot if not most of their time ‘in the hangar’ being fixed


With modern manufacturing techniques and aircraft being built to ever more exacting tolerances is there much variation
anymore as far as reliability is concerned ?


Are there still hangar queens ?!


There's a number of forms of hangar queens...
1. Bad models or bad effectivity. The Apache is notorious. We did an ACO on a turboprop's oil system... and let's just say it didn't work. Only a handful of a/c got it, but you can't just rollback an ACO on a whim - at least, I can't as the maintainer. They were eventually sorted, but anything with that effectivity code was a hangar queen.

2. Lemons. You do sometimes get a bird that just has issues. But this can also be faulty maintenance... a/c comes in with 1 issue, poor maintainer fixes it but breaks something else in the process... or fails to do some part of the process (electronics can be fussy about talking to each other). Then they fix that, and break something else... and this continues for awhile.
I've also seen older a/c (think 20+ year airframes) getting parts bad from supply... like a Brake Management System. Bird comes in with blown seals after an arctic trip (it happens)... r2 it, then find out one of the solenoids on the new BMS are bad. Now you have to do it all over again. A couple days later that BMS has blown seals... deduce that master cylinder is letting air in... do a leak check, no results... r2 master cylinder anyway, and a 3rd BMS... that BMS turns out to also be bad... r2 a 4th BMS... and finally it goes away and doesn't come back. And your arms are a lot stronger from bleeding all 4 input lines every time.

3. Robbed parts (aka cannibalization). A lot of times this is an extension of #2... and creates a vicious cycle.
Typical scenario... you need to push one aircraft out the door... but you get a redball and don't have the part on hand. So you rob a known good part from another aircraft that's already grounded for a separate issue and order the part against the hangar queen. This can quickly snowball and that aircraft being turned into a glorified parts warehouse.
I haven't been in military for awhile, but on civilian side this has been cut down a lot in the last 10 years. A change in culture and philosophy. Airliners now require 20 million people to agree to rob a part from one aircraft for another, and of course everything is serialized and tracked. This results in some unfortunate delays, but it does mean both aircraft are back in operation sooner in my opinion.
I only see it now if that bird is desperately needed within 24 hours and there is no spare available... which is rather rare, but across turning around three dozen a/c may happen once.
 
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VIflyer
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:37 am

nws2002 wrote:
The previous airline I worked for had an aircraft painted in a scheme for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The joke was always "make a wish it leaves" because of the mechanical issues with that one tail number.

Independence Air (well I guess it was ACJet at that point still) had a Dornier 328JET that we called Sparky. I think it was tail 418FJ, but I could be wrong on that. Always had issues.


Aircarft 807.... everyone knew about the Make A Wish bird. Oddly once it got repainted the Gremlins seemed to disappear.
I reject your reality and subsitute my own
 
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VIflyer
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:37 am

nws2002 wrote:
The previous airline I worked for had an aircraft painted in a scheme for the Make-a-Wish Foundation. The joke was always "make a wish it leaves" because of the mechanical issues with that one tail number.

Independence Air (well I guess it was ACJet at that point still) had a Dornier 328JET that we called Sparky. I think it was tail 418FJ, but I could be wrong on that. Always had issues.


Aircarft 807.... everyone knew about the Make A Wish bird. Oddly once it got repainted the Gremlins seemed to disappear.
I reject your reality and subsitute my own
 
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TheFlyingDisk
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 6:42 am

A friend of mine once noted that of all the MH A380s the most frequently tech'd plane (aka hangar queen) in the fleet was -MNB, their second A380.

It's also the A380 that was used by Airbus for their demo in Farnborough 2012 so not sure if that has anything to do with it.
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aemoreira1981
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:03 pm

What about Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Trent 1000 engines? Even some of the Trent 1000 TEN frames are having engine issues; SQ recently grounded two of their B78Xs with the engines.
 
Sokes
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 7:28 pm

20 or 30 years back I read that cars manufactured on Mondays have more issues. I think it even refered to a luxury car manufacturer.
Planes aren't assembled in a day. Is there any explanation why some planes need more maintainance than others, beside earlier maintainance mistakes or robbed parts?
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
Sokes
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Mon Apr 29, 2019 8:02 pm

Sokes wrote:
20 or 30 years back I read that cars manufactured on Mondays have more issues. I think it even refered to a luxury car manufacturer.
Planes aren't assembled in a day. Is there any explanation why some planes need more maintainance than others, beside earlier maintainance mistakes or robbed parts?

Sorry, inprecise language. If a car had many issues it was mostly manufactured on Mondays. Most Monday cars are fine.
Why can't the world be a little bit more autistic?
 
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CrimsonNL
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Tue Apr 30, 2019 12:52 pm

BA's 'NWZ, in my experience. Out of the 7 short haul 763's they had, she always went tech the most.

I also worked a lot with a German airline that flew 5 E95's. When you had one going tech, it was usually one of 2 suspects. The other 3 seemed to be much more reliable!
Always comparing your flown types list with mine
 
MGC1191
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Tue Apr 30, 2019 7:26 pm

In my personal experience Allegiant's A320 N225NV is/was known as "Satan."
 
KLDC10
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Tue Apr 30, 2019 9:05 pm

I'm not sure if this aircraft was a Hangar Queen for her entire service life, but one of KLM's MD-11; PH-KCH, famously went tech somewhere over the Atlantic during her final flight to Victorville and had to return to Amsterdam. She got there on the second attempt!
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strfyr51
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Tue Apr 30, 2019 10:26 pm

[quote="Max Q"]It used to be comon to have certain aircraft that were notoriously unreliable,
spending a lot if not most of their time ‘in the hangar’ being fixed


With modern manufacturing techniques and aircraft being built to ever more exacting tolerances is there much variation
anymore as far as reliability is concerned ?


Are there still hangar queens ?![/quote
Years ago we had a DC-10 at United that sat nearly an entire summer robbed down to "parade rest" all for a FOD damaged Engine (CF6-6)We had 21 engines in rework but every time we needed one Some other airplane needed the engine worse than N1818U, (3618). Well before we knew it? 3618 was being robbed to support base airplanes coming out of heavy checks.. Then after 7 weeks or so my boss said NO MORE!! we cordoned off a storage area in the break Room and stacked all the missing parts for reinstallation.. There were 240 parts missing from the airplane Not counting the 2 missing . The airplane was assigned to my swing shift crews and we got busy! in 5 days I had 1700 man hours assigned to getting that airplane ready for a test flight. We made our deadline and damn if that airplane didn't fly for 3 months without any more than a tire change! Hell! They'd even robbed the Brakes off of the airplane because some Vendor wouldn't overhaul 1 brake at a time and return it, He wanted 20-30 brakes in hand before they wanted to start overhauling them.. But? We had closed our brake shop and outsourced all he brake work. to obviously the wrong vendor!!
 
Max Q
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Wed May 01, 2019 1:03 am

strfyr51 wrote:
Max Q wrote:
It used to be comon to have certain aircraft that were notoriously unreliable,
spending a lot if not most of their time ‘in the hangar’ being fixed


With modern manufacturing techniques and aircraft being built to ever more exacting tolerances is there much variation
anymore as far as reliability is concerned ?


Are there still hangar queens ?![/quote
Years ago we had a DC-10 at United that sat nearly an entire summer robbed down to "parade rest" all for a FOD damaged Engine (CF6-6)We had 21 engines in rework but every time we needed one Some other airplane needed the engine worse than N1818U, (3618). Well before we knew it? 3618 was being robbed to support base airplanes coming out of heavy checks.. Then after 7 weeks or so my boss said NO MORE!! we cordoned off a storage area in the break Room and stacked all the missing parts for reinstallation.. There were 240 parts missing from the airplane Not counting the 2 missing . The airplane was assigned to my swing shift crews and we got busy! in 5 days I had 1700 man hours assigned to getting that airplane ready for a test flight. We made our deadline and damn if that airplane didn't fly for 3 months without any more than a tire change! Hell! They'd even robbed the Brakes off of the airplane because some Vendor wouldn't overhaul 1 brake at a time and return it, He wanted 20-30 brakes in hand before they wanted to start overhauling them.. But? We had closed our brake shop and outsourced all he brake work. to obviously the wrong vendor!!



Fascinating ST, just the kind of perspective I was looking for.


Best wishes
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Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
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hongkongflyer
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Thu May 02, 2019 2:10 am

aemoreira1981 wrote:
What about Boeing 787 Dreamliners with Trent 1000 engines? Even some of the Trent 1000 TEN frames are having engine issues; SQ recently grounded two of their B78Xs with the engines.


As mentioned above, hangar queens usually refer to a particular plane, rather then a fleet, that has more issues then others in a fleet.
 
ELBOB
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat May 04, 2019 6:44 am

Sokes wrote:
Sorry, inprecise language. If a car had many issues it was mostly manufactured on Mondays. Most Monday cars are fine.


When I heard a similar story many years ago it was 'Friday cars' that were the issue, because the workers were rushing construction in order to hit their targets and get out for the weekend.

Car manufacturing is much more consistent now due to the wide use of robotic assembly, whereas aircraft are still more traditionally assembled manually even if the components were machined automatically. There was the story that I've never seen debunked about a Shorts Tucano delivered to the RAF with one wing one rib longer than the other...
 
TSS
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Sat May 04, 2019 7:29 am

ELBOB wrote:
Sokes wrote:
Sorry, inprecise language. If a car had many issues it was mostly manufactured on Mondays. Most Monday cars are fine.


When I heard a similar story many years ago it was 'Friday cars' that were the issue, because the workers were rushing construction in order to hit their targets and get out for the weekend.

Car manufacturing is much more consistent now due to the wide use of robotic assembly, whereas aircraft are still more traditionally assembled manually even if the components were machined automatically. There was the story that I've never seen debunked about a Shorts Tucano delivered to the RAF with one wing one rib longer than the other...

I had to look up "Shorts Tucano" to know what sort of aircraft you were talking about. At first I had imagined it to be more or less the Shorts equivalent of a Piper Cub, with perfectly straight canvas-covered wings that clearly showed the outline of each rib, but it definitely isn't that at all. Since the wings on a Tucano are tapered and almost their entire trailing edge is made up of either flaps or ailerons, having one wing longer or shorter than the other would require major custom fabrication of control and wing surfaces for that one plane, something much more difficult and time-consuming to do than simply taking an incorrectly assembled wing back apart and reassembling it the proper way, I'm inclined to think that story might not be true.
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N766UA
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Re: Hangar queens, still a thing ?

Wed May 08, 2019 9:29 am

Absolutely. At my company every pilot and mechanic (and even some FA’s) knew about our notorious hangar queen until they finally sent her to the desert last year. Occasional rumors will surface about the airplane’s return to service and we all cringe.

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