Re: UAL 747?

From:         faurecm@halcyon.com (C. Marin Faure)
Organization: Northwest Nexus Inc.
Date:         15 Jun 96 13:43:29 
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In article <airliners.1996.912@ohare.Chicago.COM>, ABrowne@mtl.marconi.ca
(Alan Browne) wrote:

(describes Gimli Glider incident)
> The damage was fairly superficial, and the airplane returned to service.
> This does not compare with UAL 747, but it goes to show that
>  -airlines have a HUGE investment in each aircraft.
>  -airplanes are build in a fairly modular fashion...sections and
> sub-sections can be replaced or repaired.
>
> YOU NEVER KNOW the history of the airplane you are on...

The public tends to find it remarkable, if not scary, that a 747 that lost
its cargo door and some surrounding structure is repaired and returned to
service.  It's easy to forget that that big, solid-looking jetliner is
just a bunch of aluminum parts, wiring, tubing, etc.  There were airplanes
in WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War which suffered damage that made
what happened to the UAL 747 look like a fender ding, yet these airplanes
were repaired, often under terrible working conditions, and returned to
long and successful service lives.

Our (Boeing) AOG teams have made remarkable repairs to airplanes in the
field.  Some of these projects, like the Air France 747 that slid off a
runway in India, became almost a superhuman effort in light of the weather
and health hazards faced by the AOG guys.  Many of these repair jobs don't
seem worth it, considering the amount and cost of the work that has to be
done.  In the case of the Air France plane, however, the airline
determined it would take less time to have the plane repaired than it
would take to obtain a replacement 747 from the factory.  They felt the
cost of the repair was less than the revenue that would be lost while they
waited for a new plane.  This may not be the case today, where there are a
number of planes available for lease.

C. Marin Faure
   author, Flying a Floatplane