Pilot's Guide to Avionics 2017-2018 - 66
WEIGHING WHEN TO REPLACE AGED WIRING HARNESSES
f you want to gauge the age of horses, trainers
degree. The effects of age on the basic body - the
say, you look at their teeth. For humans, crow's
airframe - and its central nervous system: wiring.
Airframes show their age through corrosion
feet around our eyes and graying hair betray
our advanced age. With only a modicum of cosmetic
discovered during annual inspections, and aircraft also
treatments, we can roll back the calendar for a few
show their age by the condition of one of the least-
years - at least externally.
visible components: wiring.
Now it's not new news that the general aviation fleet
Similarly, cosmetic treatments make old planes look,
feel and smell new. Interior refurbishments restore that
isn't getting younger. In a decade, estimates of the
new-plane aroma. An engine overhaul equates to a
average age of the fleet moved from about 35 years
heart transplant, restoring lost muscle.
of age to nearly 40. And that happened despite the
delivery of several thousand new-production aircraft
Avionics upgrades give old birds new ways to
during those 10 years.
see and navigate the airspace, adding utility and
Thousands of examples continue to fly well into their
capabilities unimagined when the aircraft emerged
from the factory. But we always hear, "It's what's inside
50s, 60s, even 70s - and hundreds from the 1920s
that counts," right?
and 1930s still grace the airways. Nearly one-fifth of
Turns out the old homely applies to airplanes to a
the fleet would qualify for Social Security if human.
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