AC320tech
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Posts: 196
Joined: Mon Jul 31, 2006 6:32 am

Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Sun Dec 08, 2019 12:14 am

While searching though countless "Why does NW operate an old fleet?" threads, I started to wonder something. It looks like NW spent more money on their aircraft than UA, AA, CO, DL, and the like. NWs 747s and DC-10s all had nice Litton INS's, engine instruments updated to digital, and some other digital instrumentation. It looks like, from the few cockpit photos on here, that CO and AA both had the Collins INS on their DC-10s, and CO did have the analogue tape for engine instruments.

So the question is, did NW spend more money on modernizing their fleet than others?
 
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thewizbizman
Posts: 141
Joined: Wed May 03, 2017 4:15 pm

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Sun Dec 08, 2019 6:39 am

It's been a strategy both NW and Delta have used. I can speak more on the Delta side of things. Post 1970, Delta continues to invest loads of money into upkeeping and renewing older aircraft. I want to say the oldest -88 frame in the fleet now is about to turn 40.
"Aviation is the youngest big industry, but it is the fastest growing baby ever. A few years ago, it was called impossible to fly…The day of the airplane is surely here."

April 17, 1929 / C. E. Woolman
 
mmo
Posts: 1851
Joined: Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:04 pm

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:02 pm

NW also spent quite a but on cockpit standardization. We had some newer 727s which had the auto pressurization taken out and replaced by the old manual pressurization to ensure fleet standardization. There was a great effort to ensure the cockpits (steam gauge) were also laid out in a similar fashion from aircraft type to aircraft type.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
FlyHossD
Posts: 1974
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:45 pm

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Mon Dec 09, 2019 2:14 pm

IIRC, CO installed GPS/FMS in the DC-10s before retirement.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
shamrock137
Posts: 340
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:10 am

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Tue Dec 10, 2019 1:17 pm

mmo wrote:
NW also spent quite a but on cockpit standardization. We had some newer 727s which had the auto pressurization taken out and replaced by the old manual pressurization to ensure fleet standardization. There was a great effort to ensure the cockpits (steam gauge) were also laid out in a similar fashion from aircraft type to aircraft type.


Interesting they would "downgrade" a feature like that but I understand the importance of systems / flight deck commonality. Northwest certainly had a reputation for doing things just a bit differently.
Time to spare? Go by air!
 
TTailedTiger
Posts: 1800
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:04 am

thewizbizman wrote:
It's been a strategy both NW and Delta have used. I can speak more on the Delta side of things. Post 1970, Delta continues to invest loads of money into upkeeping and renewing older aircraft. I want to say the oldest -88 frame in the fleet now is about to turn 40.


Delta didn't start taking MD-80's until ~1987. Although I would certainly love if they kept them around until they were 40. We are entering a very dark and boring time in aviation where the only thing you'll be seeing is a 737 or A320.
 
TTailedTiger
Posts: 1800
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Wed Dec 11, 2019 7:06 am

shamrock137 wrote:
mmo wrote:
NW also spent quite a but on cockpit standardization. We had some newer 727s which had the auto pressurization taken out and replaced by the old manual pressurization to ensure fleet standardization. There was a great effort to ensure the cockpits (steam gauge) were also laid out in a similar fashion from aircraft type to aircraft type.


Interesting they would "downgrade" a feature like that but I understand the importance of systems / flight deck commonality. Northwest certainly had a reputation for doing things just a bit differently.


Kind of like Southwest downgrading the flight displays on their 737NG to mimic the 737 classic instruments.
 
strfyr51
Posts: 4162
Joined: Tue Apr 10, 2012 5:04 pm

Re: Northwest Fleet Upkeep

Thu Dec 12, 2019 6:34 pm

TTailedTiger wrote:
shamrock137 wrote:
mmo wrote:
NW also spent quite a but on cockpit standardization. We had some newer 727s which had the auto pressurization taken out and replaced by the old manual pressurization to ensure fleet standardization. There was a great effort to ensure the cockpits (steam gauge) were also laid out in a similar fashion from aircraft type to aircraft type.


Interesting they would "downgrade" a feature like that but I understand the importance of systems / flight deck commonality. Northwest certainly had a reputation for doing things just a bit differently.


Kind of like Southwest downgrading the flight displays on their 737NG to mimic the 737 classic instruments.

Up grading or downgrading for commonality on a fleet is actually a sound safety move. Unless the parts are no longer available then it's a smart safety move to upgrade the entire fleet to the next standard. At United where I worked we were death on having matched cockpits and avionics. we bought other airplanes but still matched the cockpits so when you looked at a wiring diagram? you weren't hunting and pecking, I once remember someone asking me where a circuit breaker was for a 737-522 they bought and I gave him the location. He wanted to know which Schematic manual I used and I told him the cockpits were all the same so I didn't have t go to any particular WDM, I know of one airline that they had 6 different schematic manuals for their fleet of 737's. Might have been OK for them? But they also had 6 different sets of avionics installed as well. If we had Collins or Bendix installed? It was Collins or Bendix in every airplane in that particular Fleet!. And United upgraded all the avionics to the same standards across all the fleets using the latest service bulletins. Which sometimes made it hard when we actually had to borrow a partbecause then we'd have vto sometines downgrade that same part before we gave it back. Which is why United rarely outsources Avionics repairs.

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