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Fatigue Cracks ground F/A-18s for inspections

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posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 05:41 PM
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The US Navy has found fatigue cracks on the outboard aileron hinges of 15 F/A-18s. They've ordered all 636 F/A-18s to undergo inspections over the next two weeks. Any that are found with cracks are going to be grounded, requiring a depot level repair.

The F/A-18 fleet has already had their life extended from 6,000 to 8,000 hours, and the Navy is looking to make modifications that will extend that farther to 10,000 hours.


The US Navy has issued a safety bulletin requiring inspections for all 636 F/A-18A-Ds within the next 15 hours after discovering fatigue cracks on outboard aileron hinges.

The safety issue comes as the navy seeks to extend the life of its oldest fighters to limit the impact of a projected strike aircraft shortfall across the next decade.

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posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 05:53 PM
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Thats the problem with life extension programs. Other parts that you never looked at in terms of fatigue life rear thier ugly head.

Depot level repairs means they cannot be repaired in the field whatsoever but rather have to be carried back to base.



posted on Oct, 24 2008 @ 06:17 PM
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And there are only a couple of depots per aircraft type that can do these repairs. They usually only have one or two bases that handle fighter depot maintenance. The F-18 uses at least one base on each coast to handle depot maintenance.

There are going to be more problems involved in the life extension program. Their Service Life Assessment Program phase 1 and 2 found at least 57% of the 159 locations that they inspected didn't make it to 8,000 hours.



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