Ageing structures programme

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 1 October 2004




(2004), "Ageing structures programme", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 76 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Ageing structures programme

Ageing structures programme

Keywords: Aircraft, Ageing (materials)

ATR (Avions de Transport Régional) has launched an ageing structures programme for its ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft to attain, in early 2005, the extension of the “Design Objective Life” for all ATR family aircraft models from the original 70,000 to 105,000 cycles. This would represent, with an average yearly utilisation of 2,500 flight hours, an “economic life” of over 40 years.

The advanced and performance related criteria adopted by ATR designers during the aircraft design phase led to an aircraft with a light-weight airframe, high structural integrity and outstanding performance in terms of durability and low maintenance costs.

The programme was launched as a result of the work undertaken by ATR airframe engineers, working with customers and airworthiness authorities, which has demonstrated the excellent resistance to ageing of the ATR airframe. The worldwide ATR fleet in operation has reached the 12 million flight hours mark.

Luigi Lombardi, ATR Senior Vice President Operations, declared: “This initiative is in line with the ATR policy to invest in the product and provides significant benefits with regard to maintenance costs and residual values of our products”.

This life extension programme will further improve the economic and operational performance of the aircraft by extending overhaul intervals, thus reinforcing ATR's leading position in the regional transport market from both investor and airline point of view.

This programme has been submitted for approval to the French Civil Aviation Authority (DGAC). A Structure Task Group has been formed with the participation of 12 airlines and five aviation authorities worldwide. This group will supervise the development of programme activities in accordance with certification rules.

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