US aircraft dropping like flies

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tetromino
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US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby tetromino » Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:30 am UTC

In FY 2007, the US Air Force had 10 class A accidents. In FY 2008, as of March 7, there were already 12 class A accidents, resulting in the loss of 8 aircraft (including a super-expensive B-2 stealth bomber).

Of course, since then, a B1-B bomber collided with some trucks in Guam and another B1-B caught on fire in Qatar.

Is the war in Iraq having that bad of an effect on training and maintenance?

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Adalwolf » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:10 am UTC

tetromino wrote:In FY 2007, the US Air Force had 10 class A accidents. In FY 2008, as of March 7, there were already 12 class A accidents, resulting in the loss of 8 aircraft (including a super-expensive B-2 stealth bomber).

Of course, since then, a B1-B bomber collided with some trucks in Guam and another B1-B caught on fire in Qatar.

Is the war in Iraq having that bad of an effect on training and maintenance?


Probably not training, but the military equipment is being stretched to its limit (the planes, tanks, trucks, etc). Too bad we can't roll planes out like we did in WWII.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:16 am UTC

I had an iron-worker point something out (in reference to all the cranes falling). "Modern hands-on workers approach it as a passing thing. They don'y see it as a career, so they don't take it seriously." Wait for the maintenance reports.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby SPsnow02 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:22 am UTC

Well, This isn't in Iraq, But Here near the University of Michigan we had 4 Cranes fall during 3 weeks earlier this year, taking out part of a bridge in one case...
Rawr!

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:29 am UTC

I was actually referring to US incidents of falling cranes......
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Indon » Sun Apr 13, 2008 2:53 pm UTC

Adalwolf wrote:Too bad we can't roll planes out like we did in WWII.


What a coincidence - that's when most of our planes were built!
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby AvalonXQ » Sun Apr 13, 2008 9:42 pm UTC

goblin_subway wrote:I had an iron-worker point something out (in reference to all the cranes falling). "Modern hands-on workers approach it as a passing thing. They don'y see it as a career, so they don't take it seriously." Wait for the maintenance reports.


As a friend of mine pointed out recently in a conversation about redoing an old bathroom where the tile was actually laid over SOLID CONCRETE rather than drywall, he points out that it would be IMPOSSIBLE to hire someone to redo his bathroom with the quality and skill that the bathroom displays from its original construction. What used to be viewed as a craft, requiring the careful construction of a skilled craftsman, is now seen as unskilled labor. You get what you pay for.
It's just a passing phase, though. Once we get all this stuff automated, it will be cost-effective to have truly first-rate engineers program the robots, and truly first-rate inspectors make sure everything's top notch. At least, I hope.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby 4=5 » Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:55 pm UTC

or you might have a skewed sample because the shoddy stuff doesn't last.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Lord Bob » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:41 am UTC

At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby AvalonXQ » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:15 pm UTC

Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.


Sweden?

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Lord Bob » Mon Apr 14, 2008 3:36 pm UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.


Sweden?

Bigger.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby AvalonXQ » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:02 pm UTC

Lord Bob wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.


Sweden?

Bigger.

Russia?

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby mosc » Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:43 pm UTC

Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.

noob, vermont isn't a country ;)
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Lord Bob » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:26 am UTC

AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.


Sweden?

Bigger.

Russia?

Smaller.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby AvalonXQ » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:33 am UTC

Lord Bob wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:
AvalonXQ wrote:
Lord Bob wrote:At least you have aircraft to crash, unlike a northern, maple syrup loving country I might name.


Sweden?

Bigger.

Russia?

Smaller.


China?

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Quixotess » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:53 am UTC

Canada.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Tue Apr 15, 2008 2:47 am UTC

Quixotess: You are correct, Canada is to blame.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Quixotess » Tue Apr 15, 2008 4:01 am UTC

Haha! I always knew it was true.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby zenten » Tue Apr 15, 2008 1:44 pm UTC

goblin_subway wrote:Quixotess: You are correct, Canada is to blame.


More specifically, Diefenbaker is to blame.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby aahzbml » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:36 am UTC

tetromino wrote:Is the war in Iraq having that bad of an effect on training and maintenance?


Not from my perspective. I'm a maintainer (Avionics) on F-15E's in the USAF, and I haven't seen any significant change in quality of maintenance or training in the four years I've been in. Flying schedules at home station and deployment cycles have remained consistent as well. I'd be more inclined to attribute the recent rash of incidents to the randomness of human nature than to any perceived stress of the Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:38 am UTC

I have only made jokes up to this point in this thread, but aahzbml might be able to answer my question. Could the problem lie in the fact that the US fleet has been in service for far longer than originally intended?
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby aahzbml » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:04 am UTC

goblin_subway wrote:I have only made jokes up to this point in this thread, but aahzbml might be able to answer my question. Could the problem lie in the fact that the US fleet has been in service for far longer than originally intended?


Well, it can be argued either way, really. Our oldest jets do seem to be the most problematic, but some airframes (A-10 for example) are easily twice as reliable while being nearly twice as old. Honestly, there are so many factors involved that it's hard to even describe a widespread 'problem' outside of randomness.

Sorry if that seems vague, I'll try to clarify tomorrow after I get some sleep.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:07 am UTC

I was kinda referring to the b-52's that have been in service..... forever. Get some sleep. I wasn't trying for an attack, it was an honest question.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby mosc » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:32 am UTC

B-52s are about the only one you can point to and they're not exactly a complex plane. Most of em have more money in avionics added after their in service date than they cost new I'd wager.

Besides, they weren't actually used until a full 10 years after WWII (1955) and the oldest ones we got now are probably from the 80s. Most of em are here:
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby lorenith » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:50 am UTC

Not only that but a some B-52's have been retrofitted and such if I recall correctly, so it's not like some of the equipment is just old and worn out.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Adalwolf » Wed Apr 16, 2008 6:59 pm UTC

lorenith wrote:Not only that but a some B-52's have been retrofitted and such if I recall correctly, so it's not like some of the equipment is just old and worn out.


True.

They are heavily retrofitted.

The sad part is we can't manufacture new parts for them anymore, so we have to cannabalize old B-52s for parts.

Same with the A-10s.

I'm not sure about some of the fighters-such as the F-15s.

AND I am still sad that the Navy retired the F-14 Tomcats. :(
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:19 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
goblin_subway wrote:Quixotess: You are correct, Canada is to blame.

More specifically, Diefenbaker is to blame.

(No relation.)
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Indon » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:20 pm UTC

mosc wrote:B-52s are about the only one you can point to and they're not exactly a complex plane. Most of em have more money in avionics added after their in service date than they cost new I'd wager.


If only that were the case.

A lot of the USAF's cargo is carried in dirt-old planes. I do believe we still have some of these geezers in service, too.

The USAF's fleet is ancient, and they know it, and are trying to fix it to the best of their ability - but the wars have stretched us budgetarily thin and so fixing the fleet is given a lower priority.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby aahzbml » Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:41 pm UTC

Indon wrote:If only that were the case.

A lot of the USAF's cargo is carried in dirt-old planes. I do believe we still have some of these geezers in service, too.

The USAF's fleet is ancient, and they know it, and are trying to fix it to the best of their ability - but the wars have stretched us budgetarily thin and so fixing the fleet is given a lower priority.


At least in our case, no expense is spared when it comes to maintaining fleet health. Never have I heard of an instance where we have held off on maintenance (even for flyable conditions) due to lack of money. This is just coming from two F-15E squadrons, though, so my perspective is limited.

Adalwolf wrote:True.

They are heavily retrofitted.

The sad part is we can't manufacture new parts for them anymore, so we have to cannabalize old B-52s for parts.

Same with the A-10s.

I'm not sure about some of the fighters-such as the F-15s.


Our jets go through routine avionics upgrades: major hardware upgrades every two or three years, and software upgrades as frequently as every six months for some systems (though some never need new software). As such, I'm pretty sure all of our parts are still in production. When we do cannibalize parts, it's temporarily from one of our own jets, when a part is on back-order.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Adalwolf » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:07 am UTC

aahzbml wrote:
Indon wrote:If only that were the case.

A lot of the USAF's cargo is carried in dirt-old planes. I do believe we still have some of these geezers in service, too.

The USAF's fleet is ancient, and they know it, and are trying to fix it to the best of their ability - but the wars have stretched us budgetarily thin and so fixing the fleet is given a lower priority.


At least in our case, no expense is spared when it comes to maintaining fleet health. Never have I heard of an instance where we have held off on maintenance (even for flyable conditions) due to lack of money. This is just coming from two F-15E squadrons, though, so my perspective is limited.

Adalwolf wrote:True.

They are heavily retrofitted.

The sad part is we can't manufacture new parts for them anymore, so we have to cannabalize old B-52s for parts.

Same with the A-10s.

I'm not sure about some of the fighters-such as the F-15s.


Our jets go through routine avionics upgrades: major hardware upgrades every two or three years, and software upgrades as frequently as every six months for some systems (though some never need new software). As such, I'm pretty sure all of our parts are still in production. When we do cannibalize parts, it's temporarily from one of our own jets, when a part is on back-order.


Really?

Even for the b-52s and a-10s?

I thought we had to cannabilize wings, engines, etc for them. I'm sure the electronic systems we can manufacture quite easily.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby lorenith » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:11 am UTC

I'm pretty sure engines are one of the sorts of things in the B52's that have been retrofitted, for things like fuel economy and efficiancy. (I don't remember too well it's been a while since I got boared and absorbed a bunch of random info on B52s, but I do know they have gone through several engine designs).

I honestly don't feel that US aircraft are dropping like flies though. I'd imagine they're getting more service than just clocking minimum flight/training hours in the air these days, and more activity will of course lead to more accidents.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Indon » Thu Apr 17, 2008 3:39 am UTC

aahzbml wrote:At least in our case, no expense is spared when it comes to maintaining fleet health. Never have I heard of an instance where we have held off on maintenance (even for flyable conditions) due to lack of money. This is just coming from two F-15E squadrons, though, so my perspective is limited.

That was my mistake, there. By "fixed" i mean fixing the problem of an old fleet by getting totally new planes, rather than just maintaining the old ones. You're of course correct that maintenance is an extremely high priority for the USAF.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Akula » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:28 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
mosc wrote:B-52s are about the only one you can point to and they're not exactly a complex plane. Most of em have more money in avionics added after their in service date than they cost new I'd wager.


If only that were the case.

A lot of the USAF's cargo is carried in dirt-old planes. I do believe we still have some of these geezers in service, too.

The USAF's fleet is ancient, and they know it, and are trying to fix it to the best of their ability - but the wars have stretched us budgetarily thin and so fixing the fleet is given a lower priority.



Well to be fair, both the C-130 and C-5 fulfill roles that the workhorse C-17 can't.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby lorenith » Thu Apr 17, 2008 9:42 pm UTC

Also to be fair, the average age of the airforces aircraft is the same as a lot of civilian aircraft being used still. (Although they're working on replacing some of it, on both the civilian and military end).

The C-130's aren't that old, at least not all of them ( I know the general type of plane has a very long flight history, and undoubetedly the oldest have been retired). The current model and only model still in production was first produced in 1996.

They haven't replaced a lot planes in their entirety yet because they still have a life span it seems, but it looks like they are retiring and interested in replacing the retired C-5's with a new plane.

Fourteen C-5As have been retired as of 2005. Aircraft number 69-0004 was the first, sent to the Warner-Robins ALC for tear down and inspection. Data from inspection will be used to evaluate structural integrity and estimate remaining fleet lifespan. Thirteen C-5As were sent to the Air Force's Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center (AMARC) for inspection. At AMARC, 66-8306 underwent tear down and inspection similar to 69-0004 at WR-ALC. The remaining 12 will eventually be reclaimed as destructive inspection is performed on the airframes to test for corrosion and fatigue.[9]

Sources have cited that the Air Force might be looking to replace some of these aircraft and have expressed interest in a military version of the new Airbus A380


All going off the wiki stuff posted, just because something is a bit old doesn't automatically mean it's being used beyound it's life span. Even if the airforce had the money to start replacing planes, they would probably still only replace them as they are retired out of practicality. Not to mention the time it probably takes to build some of these planes.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby goblin_subway » Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:22 am UTC

Something humorous, yet relavent. From History Channel: Modern Marvels, Military Aircraft. "This may not be your father's Airforce, but it may be your father's airplane."
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Indon » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:46 pm UTC

lorenith wrote:All going off the wiki stuff posted, just because something is a bit old doesn't automatically mean it's being used beyound it's life span. Even if the airforce had the money to start replacing planes, they would probably still only replace them as they are retired out of practicality. Not to mention the time it probably takes to build some of these planes.


It depends. Replacing a plane can end up saving quite a bit of money on maintenance costs (as you would need to replace fewer parts, readily replaceable parts wouldn't need to take up the slack for less-replaceable parts so they take less strain in the first place, less flight time lost to maintenance, and so on). Depending on individual circumstance, buying an entirely new plane could be a big investment that could save money in the long run.

Problem is, no money to make those investments with.
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby lorenith » Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:52 pm UTC

Did you read the whole C-5 article or just look at the relative age of the first planes to run off?


Another part of the plan is a comprehensive Reliability Enhancement and Re-engining Program (RERP), which includes new General Electric CF6-80C2 engines, pylons and auxiliary power units, with upgrades to aircraft skin and frame, landing gear, cockpit and the pressurization system. The CF6 engine produces 22% more thrust (for a total of 54,000 lb (240 kN) from each engine) than existing C-5 engines which will result in a 30% shorter take-off roll, a 38% higher climb rate to initial altitude, a significantly increased cargo load, and a longer range between refueling.[5] The C-5s that complete these upgrades are designated C-5M Super Galaxy.[15]

The C-5 AMP and RERP modernization programs plan to raise mission-capable rate to a minimum goal of 75%.[5] Over the next 40 years, the U.S. Air Force estimates the C-5M will save over US$20 billion.[16] The first of 111 planned C-5M conversions was completed on May 16, 2006, and performed its first flight on June 19, 2006.


Also note else where in the variant section that some of the planes (50 it says) rolled off the assembly line in the 80's making them only 20 or so years old, and the oldest Variants are already being retired and replaced. Not to mention even the oldest variants were produced up untill the 70's, making them not much older than the C5B's. The newer ones are being extensively upgraded/retrofitted.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby Indon » Sat Apr 19, 2008 6:55 pm UTC

lorenith wrote:Did you read the whole C-5 article or just look at the relative age of the first planes to run off?

I would have thought it obvious that for any given model in the fleet, there'd be a range of ages. I most definitely glossed over the statement where the modernization program claimed to be saving money, though (because statements like that compare running that program not to running a better program like just plain replacing old planes, but to running no program - so yeah, modernizing planes is going to save the AF money versus just letting the fleet fall apart).
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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby lorenith » Sun Apr 20, 2008 12:49 am UTC

I think it's more the point that the planes work fine just by being retrofitted so why spend the extra money to replace them? Their planes aren't "falling appart" even before the retrofits. At least not in the case of the C-5's, they have like 5 losses in their flight history, most of which were on the ground and not a crash.

I don't see why you think the planes need to be all out replaced, when they work ok for cheaper than all out replacing them at the moment.

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Re: US aircraft dropping like flies

Postby TomBot » Sun Apr 20, 2008 1:36 am UTC

I haven't actually done any research into this, but: my impression is that we're tending to use (or at least buy) fewer, but more capable (and expensive) aircraft. I get the impression that during WWII, we were producing combat aircraft like they were fancy aluminum cars, but now they're more like, I dunno, passenger jets, in terms of expense, complexity, and build time.

I almost wonder if it would be a good idea to, instead of spending X hundred million dollars on each stealth bomber or air superiority fighter, design a relatively modest performance, non-stealth fighter/bomber with the intent of making a crapload of them on the cheap. Sort of the TIE fighter of the air force.


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