This chapter quantifies the advantages of condition-based maintenance on the safety and lifetime cost of an airplane fuselage. The lifecycle of an airplane is modeled as blocks of crack propagation due to pressurization interspersed with inspection and maintenance. The Paris-Erdogan model with uncertain parameters is used to model fatigue crack growth. The fuselage skin is modeled as a hollow cylinder, and an average thickness is calculated to achieve a probability of failure in the order of 1 in 10 million with scheduled maintenance. Condition-based maintenance is found to improve the safety of an airplane over scheduled maintenance and will also lead to savings in lifecycle cost. The main factor of the savings stems from the reduced net revenue lost due to shortened downtime for maintenance. There are also other factors such as work saved on inspection and removing/installing surrounding structures for manual inspection. In addition to cost savings, some potential advantages of condition-based maintenance are discussed such as avoiding damage caused by removing/installing surrounding structures, more predictable maintenance, and improving the safety issues of same aircraft model by posting the frequently occurred damages into Airworthiness Directives, Service Bulletins, or Service Letters.
Part of the book: Reliability and Maintenance