Re: Is the 747-100 really "too" old ?

Date:         19 Feb 97 02:46:18 
From:         "Michael F. Lechnar" <michael.f.lechnar@boeing.com>
Organization: nams
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Jean-Francois Mezei wrote:
>
> Recent news reports about TWA800 has shown one of the relatives speaking
> out on the 747-100 after a tour of the NTSB reconstruction site. He said
> that the plane was well past its planned lifetime and should have been
> retired years ago.
>
> What exactly does this mean ?
> Are planes designed to "expire" after so many cycles ? What happens to
> maintenance schedules and certification process once a plane acheives
> its expected lifetime ?
>
> In the case of the 747-100, are we talking here about a plane that long
> ago passed its originally designed lifetime but was granted extentions
> because it was still in good shape ?

AFAIK there is no hard life limit on the 747-100 airframe.  Like
everything that ages (you, me and airplanes) there are requirements for
more frequent maintenance and structural inspections.  The only limit on
the life of the airplane is economic.  Eventually these inspections, the
cost of fuel relative to more modern engines, and the 3-crew cockpit
will combine to make it un-economic to continue to use these airplanes.
In fact, there are many -100s that have alread been removed from service
and are sitting in the desert boneyards awaiting their eventual
conversion to "post-consumer" recycled products.

Mike Lechnar
Aircraft Performance Engineer
"If I was speaking for Boeing, I wouldn't be doing it here."