Discussion:
Air Force 1 lifetime
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JF Mezei
2011-05-01 16:30:18 UTC
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Considering the low number of cycles for the 2 747s that can serve as
Air Force 1, what would be the metrics to decide when to order
replacements ?

Can the 2 747s continue to serve until 2020 ?

Will there come a time where maintenance and fuel costs would make a
replacement cost effective even though the 2 would still have some life
into them ?

Or is their flight rate so low that it doesn't even come close, and the
likely reason to replace them will be more of "vanity" (and help to
Boeing) than pure economics ?


Also, considering all the secret systems in the plane, who performs the
heavy D maintenance on them ? Does the Air Force have its own D check
capabilities for 747s ? Or would they have the send the planes to Boeing
or some other trusted organisation within the USA ?



Also, assuming that they choose s 747-800 as replacement, would this
further limit where the AF1 can land ? or are airport requirements
pretty much the same as a 747-400 ?

Would the aircraft's empty weight be significantly higher than an
off-the-shelf 747 due to all the re-enforcements and secret systenms, as
well as mahogany desks etc ? Does this factor when considering which
airport the AF1 747 can use ? Or are weight differences minimal ?
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matt weber
2011-05-01 20:26:38 UTC
Permalink
On Sun, 01 May 2011 12:30:18 -0400, JF Mezei
Post by JF Mezei
Considering the low number of cycles for the 2 747s that can serve as
Air Force 1, what would be the metrics to decide when to order
replacements ?
Can the 2 747s continue to serve until 2020 ?
very easily.
747-200's have in fact been flown to over 100,000 hours before
retirement. Consider that some of the KC135 airframes are probably
more than 50 years old (but have remarkably low cycles/hours for the
age).
Post by JF Mezei
Will there come a time where maintenance and fuel costs would make a
replacement cost effective even though the 2 would still have some life
into them ?
Considering how long tha USAF has been flying the KC135 (although they
finally did re-engine them with CFM56's), cost isn't really any
object.
Post by JF Mezei
Or is their flight rate so low that it doesn't even come close, and the
likely reason to replace them will be more of "vanity" (and help to
Boeing) than pure economics ?
I'd be surprised if the aircraft averaged more than 1 cycle per day
Post by JF Mezei
Also, considering all the secret systems in the plane, who performs the
heavy D maintenance on them ? Does the Air Force have its own D check
capabilities for 747s ? Or would they have the send the planes to Boeing
or some other trusted organisation within the USA ?
Also, assuming that they choose s 747-800 as replacement, would this
further limit where the AF1 can land ? or are airport requirements
pretty much the same as a 747-400 ?
Pretty much the same, although the AF1 has the largest engines ever
put on a 747-200 to addresss runway length issues. Basically you have
747-200 MGTOW with 747-400 engines

Traditionally the problem is with takeoff rather than landing
however. At MGTOW thrust to weight is about .28 IIRC, so the maximum
acceleration is .28 G A .28 G stop is well within the limits of the
braking system, and typically the landing speed will be considerably
lower than the takeoff speed because there is usually a vast
difference between Takeoff weight and landing weight.
Post by JF Mezei
Would the aircraft's empty weight be significantly higher than an
off-the-shelf 747 due to all the re-enforcements and secret systenms, as
well as mahogany desks etc ? Does this factor when considering which
airport the AF1 747 can use ? Or are weight differences minimal ?
The OEW is probably a lot higher, but it doesn't carry freight, and
usually a whole lot less than 450 passengers.

On a 747-200 the spread between OEW and MZFW is about 150,000 pounds,
so even if you have 100 units of self loading cargo, you are still
left with 120,000+ pounds of equipment/interior that can be carried.
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