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An overview of the Airplane Scrapping Process

An overview of the Airplane Scrapping Process.

Just like how humans retire at a certain age, so do airplanes. This could be because of advances in technology, bankruptcy of their parent company, or a high cost of running the plane. While some may go to famed “airplane boneyards” in states like Arizona and New Mexico. When the plane touches ground for the last time, it has to be determined if the plane is worth more in the boneyard or if it is worth being dismantled. All planes will eventually be dismantled, but the time and resources will go to the ones who have a greater worth at the start.

Dismantling an airplane requires a large team of people, time and money. It isn’t unless you strip down a plane that you realize exactly how many parts make up these incredible flying machines. For example, a Boeing 747 has 6 million parts, 147,000 pounds of aluminum, and 170 miles of wiring. The process starts by following the proper environmental regulations and procedures of emptying any hazardous materials such as fuel and batteries. Complying with safety standards is the utmost importance when dismantling an aircraft.

Once the toxic materials have been removed, any valuable parts can begin to be taken off the plane. Items like engines, flight controls and APUs can be refurbished and sold again. This is followed by any metals like copper, aluminum, and titanium which can be used again in some way. Once all of these precious pieces have been removed, the wings and fuselage can be broken down into smaller pieces. These pieces can then be recycled in a number of ways.

It is estimated that 80-90% of an airplane can be recycled. This greatly reduces the amount of material that goes to a landfill or other trash facility. Within 20 years, it is estimated aht 1.3 trillion dollar's worth of airplanes will need to be retired and recycled. Our company has dismantled 25 airplanes over the past 15 years. Our climate controlled facility has inventory including airframe parts for sale and we also have TPE331 engines and corporate and commercial APU's for purchase.