India - USA Lecture Series on Aging Aircraft (IULSAA)

27 - 29 November 2019
Department of Aerospace Engineering,
Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore, India

PREFACE

The Department of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore will host a 3 - day seminar like series of lectures (LS) on Aging Aircraft in its department premises on 27 - 29 November 2019. The program will consist of 17 to 20 presentations on various technical aspects surrounding the subject by a distinguished panel of national and international lecturers. The subject is also of interest to the Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE) in view of its criticality to both strategic and civil aviation sectors and the advanced engineering & technologies involved. Partial financial support is provided by the Indo-US Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF), Indian National Academy of Engineering and Office of Naval Research - Global, Singapore.

The proposed lecture series will be designed to provide regulatory personnel, fleet operators, managers, military commanders, designers and industry personnel responsible for upgrading the capabilities and safety of their fleets, maintenance personnel at air logistics centres and depots, and specialists involved with aircraft design, insight into issues involved in ageing aircraft and their impact on safety and economic burden due to higher cost of maintenance, repair and replacement. It will help them in making tactical adjustments to better manage their aging fleets in terms of capacity and maintenance costs, and in the case of military aircraft their operational readiness in a changing environment also.

The attendance to this workshop will only be through Invitation and will be limited to 100 - 125 persons. Invitations will be sent to stake holders in the aviation community, in both civil and military sectors.

The term Aging Aircraft suddenly entered our lexicon in 1988 when a commercial jet aircraft operating in the United States suffered an in-flight structural failure. Though a major catastrophe was averted and almost everyone on board survived, the ill-fated aircraft’s structural integrity was found to be severely degraded due to fatigue and corrosion. The aircraft was operating well beyond its manufacturer-suggested economic life of 20 years, like many aircraft in present day service are.

However, it must be emphasized that current regulations offer adequate protection to ensure that even if an aircraft has reached or exceeded superannuation it would be airworthy but only if structural degradation like what was found in the ill-fated aircraft is absent. Post failure examination of the subject aircraft and subsequent analyses that were conducted revealed that 60% of the jet transport commercial fleet worldwide was at risk due to the same kind of failure. Almost simultaneously, the United States Air Force (USAF) came across a disturbing pattern of structural degradation occurring in one of their older models, which concern was exacerbated a short time later by concerns about the safety and integrity of other critical subsystems.

Although there are several other reasons for developing awareness among the community in India about the challenges involved in operating aging aircraft, the unacceptably high threat that could be posed to the nation’s transportation infrastructure by aging aircraft is sufficient motivation for conducting the lecture series.