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Activity title

Continuous Airworthiness of Aging Systems

Activity Reference



Applied Vehicle Technology

Security Classification



Awaiting Publication

Activity type


Start date


End date



Aircraft Airframe, engine, systems


A workshop, AVT-222, was held in October 2015 at which time various NATO nations made presentations on how they were ensuring the safety of aging aircraft (airframe and systems). The results from the workshop highlighted the aging aircraft issues, which the nations are experiencing, that are seriously impacting aircraft airworthiness and availability. Ageing mechanisms covered during the Workshop included: fatigue, corrosion, coating degradation, maintenance induced damage and polymeric degradation (time-dependent stress relaxation/deformation) as applied to airframe structures and back-up structure (for both fixed and rotary wing aircraft), mechanical subsystems, electrical/wiring connections, polymeric seals, environmental control systems, flight control systems, and corrosion protection systems. At the conclusion of the workshop, it was agreed that a focus on common maintenance airworthiness issues would help in strengthening the Maintenance Organizations’ ability to meet airworthiness requirements. To accomplish this it was proposed to develop a team approach to attack common aging problems based on: (a) Consequence/Risk-based ranking of aging issues; (b) Identifying required data; (c) Improving policy and guidance for addressing non-airframe subsystems and non-fatigue aging issues (corrosion, wear, mechanical damage, etc.) and d) Harmonizing proven “best practices” within systems as well as between systems were applicable.


To develop a document containing the best practices that have been developed in each NATO nation.


• Airframe Structures: corrosion, fatigue, new material systems, aging aircraft laboratories • General Aircraft Systems: fuel, hydraulic & actuation, environmental control, electrical power generation, secondary power • Mechanical Sub-systems: landing gear, helicopter drive train components, polymer degradation, • Engine Sub-systems: corrosion, fatigue • System Interfaces: landing gear – airframe, engine – airframe, main actuation system –airframe, etc.. • Influence of Cutting Processes on Service Life: cutting processes to include laser, plasma, and water-jet • Influence of Paint Removal Processes on Service Life: paint removal processes such as laser and plasma, baseline to plastic media blasting (or some other common paint removal process)

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