High Airframe Time

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Derek
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High Airframe Time

Post by Derek » Mon Dec 02, 2019 12:38 pm

My 2001 DA20 has about 5,500 hours on its airframe. I bought it nearly 10 years ago from a flight school that went out of business and I put about 75 hours/yr on it. So far so great in terms of maintenance and reliability but I'm interested to hear from other owners of high hour planes and what experiences they have in terms of maintenance, things to watch out for, is there a safety concern with high hours, etc. My plane lives outside because my home airport is busy and cramped. It's probably lived outside its whole life. What is considered high hours? Anyone with 6000 + or 10,000 + hours? Is there a realistic or actual limit to this? Thanks!
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Spinner
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Re: High Airframe Time

Post by Spinner » Mon Dec 02, 2019 5:27 pm

Hey Derek:

Our flight school currently has 3 aircraft that are over 16,000 hours of airtime. They are well flown averaging about 1000-1300 or more hours per year. They live outside for most of the summer and part of the winter. They do get a good going over at both the 1000 hour and 6000 hour inspections as required by Diamond. About all I can really say is keep your eyes open for composite damage especially top of the wings at the inboard area where someone might kneel down or put heavy bags. Also the top of the horizontal stab where people push down on it to move aircraft.
We have had some of the roller cages that guide the elevator and aileron push rods wear out and get flat spotted. That is a lot of fun to replace the rear elevator one. We found the issue during a 1000 hour check it was not a regular operation problem.
If you have your annuals completed by someone who understands composites then you should not have any issues I believe.

Paul
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Pascal
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Re: High Airframe Time

Post by Pascal » Tue Dec 03, 2019 1:44 pm

Mine had its 6000 hours inspection two years ago. This winter I am replacing the canopy as the current one is cracked. We will also inspect the front landing gear for cracks using Magniflux. And will be replacing some rubber thingies in the front landing gear to fix the vibration I get on takeoff.

When the 6000 hours inspection was performed, they found some water inside the left wing, caused by a cracked landing gear light lens. So got a new plexiglass lens installed.

Other problem being that the com1 antenna in the vertical fin is probably corroded, effectively unusable and should be replaced but avionics shops have been uninterested in replacing it as they prefer making more money installing more expensive stuff. For winter 2020-2021 I am planning to pull the trigger and spend serious money on avionics.

But as for the airframe, so far so good the composite only shows hairline cracks and chips in the paint, not deeper.
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