FAA decrees new aircraft fatigue rules
25 / 11 / 2010
AIRCRAFT must be protected against structural fatigue according to new regulations brought in by the US.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ruling will force aircraft to be submitted to a thorough inspection after a certain number of flight hours to check for fatigue cracking. Initially, the rules will only apply to 737s and MD-80s. Other aircraft will be phased in over several years. More than 4,000 US aircraft will be affected by the rule.
This will have some effects on passenger-to-freighter conversions.
David McDonald, vice-president operations at Aeronautical Engineers (AEI) told Air Cargo News: “We do 737 conversions and they have a 75,000-cycle lifetime by the FAA. Most freighters aren’t even going to come near that. The average freighter may operate 1,000 cycles a year and you’re looking to get 15 years out of an airplane after its converted so you need an extra 15,000 cycles. Now an MD-80 only has 25,000-30,000 cycles so that may have problems.
For the full story read the latest free digital edition of Air Cargo News, no. 691 dated 29 November, here.