In any consideration of the operating condition, the age of a particular aircraft is a major factor. Much attention is focused on planes which are aged,
that is, aircraft with chronological age or accumulated hours of use beyond a threshold. Being aged is a state, and should be distinguished from aging,
which is a process of degradation with use. The degradation process starts at first flight and continues through time, with the rate being affected by aircraft design, patterns of use, and maintenance procedures. In this paper, the cycles, block hours and failures were recorded, and failure rates with accumulated use were calculated. A pattern of increasing failure rates with accumulated use (age) is observable, with improvement (decline in rate) at times of planned maintenance. The evidence supports the hypothesis that aging, that is increasing rates of failure, begins early in the life of an aircraft. Early evidence of degradation is also a precursor for accelerated failure rates as use accumulates along the age trajectory.
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