Full expertise needed

Replacing the L-1649A's mainframe is a new challenge for the Super Star team

Having completed the replacement and connection of the wing-to-body fittings, the Super Star team in Auburn has now commenced the task of replacing the mainframes located above them. A task that requires all the skill and expertise of the responsible employees in Auburn.

As recently described in the June edition of Technik News, the Lufthansa Technik employees in the Super Star team successfully managed to replace and connect the newly produced fittings for connecting the continuous wing structure with the fuselage (wing fittings and fuselage fittings) in a number of steps in the first half of the year. A challenging task, comparable with open heart surgery. The team responsible for installing and connecting the valuable components was managed by team leader Guido Piette (HAM WM421), an experienced and circumspect colleague who had been posted to Auburn from Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg. More familiar than anyone else with this complex topic, Piette and his team have now also been entrusted by project management with the task of replacing the newly constructed and manufactured mainframe components.

"The mainframes that traverse the top section of the fuselage at two positions, in front of and behind the wing, are the most critical areas of the Super Star airframe from a structural perspective. This is where the flight loads of the Super Star are passed to the fuselage from the wing-to-body fittings below," says Super Star Project Manager Andreas Pakszies.

Detailed initial examinations and recalculations by the project engineers raised hopes that the mainframes could be repaired, but this proved to be too expensive. Corrosion and random drill holes created for securing belts and ropes during the aircraft's former use as a freighter meant that the Super Star team had to commission the engineering department to perform a new calculation of the mainframes, have them built by USA machines and exchanged in the next step. Because of the overall length of 4.80 meters per frame, the mainframes are split into two individual segments, spliced at the top of the fuselage as well as with the fittings.

"This is such a challenging task that the FAA in its role as inspection authority only accepted a repair of the mainframes at the beginning of the project. However we have managed to build trust in recent years by repeatedly proving that the know-how of the Lufthansa Technik employees allows even such in-depth interventions to the full satisfaction of the FAA. In fact the FAA has finally approved the manufacture and full replacement of the mainframes in the full belief that our expert team will once again deliver exceptional results," says Pakszies happily.