THE US FEDERAL Aviation Administration is rejecting attempts by Boeing 707 operators to extend the imminent deadline for completion of the type's aging-aircraft programme.
The work has to be done by 29 April, or at 20,000 cycles, and, although no more than 25 aircraft fall under the FAA's rules, further aircraft being operated into Europe are also affected.
Some airlines, face shut down if they do not get relief, but the FAA says, that it is "not currently planning any action, to relieve 707 operators from compliance with the structural airworthiness directive". The European Joint Aviation Authorities has yet to rule on the issue.
Although the Aging Airplane Structural Modification and Inspection Programme (AASIP) was introduced in April 1991, giving carriers four years to comply, operators have been reluctant to proceed, fearing that noise regulations would outlaw their aircraft. In Europe, they are also seeking waivers from noise rules (Flight International, 8-14 March).
Some operators claim that Boeing has been slow in making the necessary engineering kits available - an allegation denied by the manufacturer and by those 707 operators, which have complied.
According to Boeing, it decided to produce the kits to order because so few were needed, and repeatedly reminded operators of the 100-days or so lead-time. It says that the process has worked well with those operators, which have used it.
Boeing says that it is studying the 707/DC-8 Working Group of operators' request to integrate the 707's AASIP, Supplementary Structural Inspection Document and Corrosion Prevention and Control Programme into a single maintenance-planning document - but warns that it would be a costly exercise for so few aircraft.
Meanwhile, Miami-based Quiet Nacelle will flight-test a US Air Force Boeing OC-135 at the end of April. The test will gather noise data before Stage 3 hushkits are installed on the aircraft ready for flight test in early August and delivery to the USAF in January 1996.
Source: Flight International