airtechy
Topic Author
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:35 am

Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:59 pm

I note that the stored L1011-100 N910TE has been flown from Tucson to Kansas City. I assume they flew it on a one-off ferry permit, but I think the intention was to maintain it in airworthy condition which would certainly be a challenge considering the age of the plane and the availability of parts.

Airlines park airplanes for months-years and the 'reactivate' them, but I would assume that before they are legal to carry passengers a lot of maintenance, A/D's, etc have to be done.

My question would be.....what is involved in 'maintaining' the airworthiness of an airplane that is lightly used such as might be owned by a upscale flying club. To simplify the discussion let's say they bought a 737-700 (some were scrapped for parts) that had a current airworthiness certificate and intended to fly it once a month. Obviously payments and parking fees continue while the plane is parked, but how about things that need to be done to meet FAA regulations, pilot currency, etc? A lot of maintenance is based on flight time and number of landings, but how about calendar time? :scratchchin:

I'm thinking, this will obviously show why this type of flying is not cost effective for a newer plane and certainly not for an older one..
 
ImperialEagle
Posts: 2299
Joined: Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:53 am

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:25 pm

I was living in South Florida when the L-1649 that was parked near an FBO at FLL in the late 1980's was being prepared to ferry. I used to walk out and chat with the guys getting it ready for the trip to Maine. I was there there to observe it when it left. It didn't make it too far before blowing one of the 3350's and it plopped down at Sanford Airport near MCO. There it sat, for I don't know how long, baking in the blazing sun for more years. I don't know whatever became of it. I am sure FLL was glad to be rid of it, no telling how much debt it had accumulated over the years it was there. Sanford probably feels the same way. Just keeping the airframe and instruments airworthy in the brutal Florida heat and humidity must have cost a fortune, nevermind trying to keep those 3350's running, which was a tiring and expensive task when they were new. They probably had to have special fuel blended for it as I don't think you can get that high an octane anymore.
A huge money-pit.

I wonder what it costs Red Bull to keep up the -6B?
Or a -188 still airworthy.

My folks belonged to the Atlanta Skylarks years ago. They started with an old Company -7B. The ATL Fire dept. would follow it out for most departures. It did not instill a lot of confidence, but, I used to enjoy the "Mystery Dinner Flights". The drinking started inside the old company hanger late Friday afternoon to "prepare" everyone for "departure". Some of us took that pretty seriously.

Finally, they got a well worn 720 from UA. Since it spent a lot of it's days parked over across from the old Company hanger, it must have had some pretty serious upkeep issues. Shortly after the Club got it, I did a careful walk-around. There was a pretty good sized patch of Redux glue on the rear-underside of the right wing near the fuselage fairing. This probably did much to convince me we needed to arrive at the pre-flight cocktail parties a tad bit earlier than we had been.
The Club held on for a while before the costs drove it out of business. Even the upkeep back then was too much.
"If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough!"
 
airtechy
Topic Author
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:35 am

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:38 pm

Jet engines are obviously a lot more reliable than the old round motors......and also a lot more expensive to buy and repair. :wideeyed:
 
BravoOne
Posts: 2240
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:17 am

Boeing as, for a price, a Low Utilization Maintenance Plan aka LUMP, Designed for BBJ operators a like operations. Don't expect the FAA to cut you much slack.
 
Newbiepilot
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2016 10:18 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 12:38 am

The cheapest way to operate a low utilization 737 is to contract out the engineering and maintenance. There are companies like Cavok that will take care of the airworthiness requirements. The Airworthiness Directives, maintenance program and repair paperwork can be costly and difficult to stay on top of. A single plane operator would struggle to keep up with all the requirements. Based on the engineering and maintenance planning provided by a consulting firm like Cavok, a third party maintenance provider can take care of all scheduled maintenance including A and C checks if that is the sechedule for the plane.

Maintenance is scheduled in flight hours, flight cycles and calendar time. Flight controls and many continuously operating systems on a plane are in flight hours. Components used a limited number of times in flight are in cycles like landing gear components such as brakes or retract actuators. Structure that goes through a pressure cycle is in cycles. Structure than can corrode is in calendar time. The corrosion prevention program is usually calendar time limited, so is safety equipment. There are also some tasks that have dual requirements. All of this is covered in the maintenance planning document where requirements are established in the maintenance review board report which is approved by the FAA and Airlines based on analysis from the manufacturer.

Here is more information than you ever want to know about maintenance requirements

https://repository.tudelft.nl/islandora ... stream/OBJ

BravoOne wrote:
Boeing as, for a price, a Low Utilization Maintenance Plan aka LUMP, Designed for BBJ operators a like operations. Don't expect the FAA to cut you much slack.


If I remember correctly the low utilization maintenance program is for 737s that fly less than 4 hours per day. It doesn't really provide much slack. It is kind of the opposite. It moves some maintenance tasks from exclusively cycles or flight hours based to also calendar time based.
 
BravoOne
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Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:18 am

Can't speak to the 737 but an operator that I was with used it for the 767 and 757/
 
Max Q
Posts: 5959
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:33 am

Aircraft, like Pilots are better off if they fly regularly.
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.
 
airtechy
Topic Author
Posts: 633
Joined: Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:35 am

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:41 am

Newbiepilot .. thanks for the link! You're right ... lots of info there. :eyepopping:
 
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Moose135
Posts: 2736
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 11:27 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 3:52 am

BravoOne wrote:
Boeing as, for a price, a Low Utilization Maintenance Plan aka LUMP...

"Lump" being an appropriate name for something that doesn't fly much...
;)
KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
 
frmrCapCadet
Posts: 1642
Joined: Thu May 29, 2008 8:24 pm

Re: Maintaining a little used airliner airworthy ....

Mon Jul 17, 2017 1:02 pm

All this kind of makes the point that low utilization users should take advantage of companies that sell plane time by the hour. Assume those companies are aiming at a 15%(?) profit margin. You can then calculate what a plane costs to fly and maintain.
Buffet: the airline business...has eaten up capital...like..no other (business)

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