Air Transport World

Hush kitting: the prudent alternative. (noise reduction kits, aircraft)

New York-Why trade in your old car when a few hundred dollars in repairs will get you several more years of use and stave off the need to shell out for a high-priced new one, assuming you could afford one?

Think in terms of millions of dollars instead of hundreds and you're posing a question that many owners and operators of older aircraft are asking themselves. Should they spend big bucks for new airplanes when they can save a bundle by performing modifications and repairs that will keep their aging airframes worthy and also by investing in new engines or hush kits that will bring their old engines into compliance with governmental and community noise standards?

Certainly, for airlines that can afford them, the new airplanes are more economical to operate and seem to be preferred by passengers. But aside from the financial and marketing considerations, the industry as a whole has no choice but to keep most of the older and noisier aircraft flying. The capacity that they provide cannot simply be wiped off the books overnight.

Thousands of aircraft

As far as the airframes are concerned, it's acknowledged that with appropriate inspections and repairs, they can be made to last almost indefinitely. But noise compliance is another matter. Deadlines have been set or proposed that can ground aircraft that do not meet FAR Stage 3/ICAO Chapter Ill noise standards-the FAR and ICAO standards are essentially the same. This includes thousands of aircraft-mostly powered by JT8D series 7 through 17 engines-that currently meet the less-restrictive Stage 2/Chapter 11 requirements.

Although FAA has yet to set its timetable for the phasing out of Stage 2 aircraft, hundreds of U.S. communities already have imposed their own noise restrictions and curfews. What's more, the European Commission has directed the 12 member nations of the Common Market not to register any more Chapter 11 aircraft, with some exceptions, after Oct. 31 (ATW, 3/ 89). Not too long after, the noose probably will be tightened even more. Aircraft failing to meet Chapter Ill criteria, including those already registered, may be banned from operating at all in Common Market skies. …

Log in to your account to read this article – and millions more.