|dc.description.abstract||Due to current economic conditions, aircraft are being operated to their design life and
often beyond. In order to assess the true condition of these aging aircraft structures, structural
teardowns have become more common over the past decade. Teardown data fidelity is highly
dependent on the processes developed and implemented to gather the data; therefore, improper
procedure selection often results in the destruction or degradation of teardown findings.
Incorrect implementation of procedures also occurs during teardown programs and frequently
results in increased scatter in the teardown data, which leads to difficulty interpreting the data
and applying the results to the fleet.
No detailed teardown planning process currently exists that incorporates lessons learned
from previous programs. Common problems have occurred in recent teardown programs
resulting in increased costs, schedule, and capacity requirements, and likely degradation or
destruction of teardown data due to the lack of a defined process. A universally accepted
teardown planning process would drastically reduce, or eliminate, these recurring problems.
This research provides a step-by-step process for planning and executing a structural
teardown program with the goal of minimizing or eliminating problems encountered during past
teardown programs. The developed process defines four steps to plan and three steps to execute
a structural teardown. Each of these seven steps provides specific recommendations to avoid
common pitfalls of previous teardown programs. Four case studies of previous and ongoing
teardowns are discussed and the methods implemented are compared to the proposed teardown
process to assess potential improvements when using the proposed method. Costs of the
proposed process are also compared to costs of the case study teardown programs to weight
technical benefit versus increased cost.||en_US