Reliability Analysis of Boeing's Dreamlifter Large Cargo Freighter
Author(s)Park, So Young (Michelle)
Barnett, Arnold I.
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Proper maintenance is critical to keep aircraft flying through their designated service life. And once an aircraft reaches the end of its operational life, or if maintenance and repair costs exceed the cost of flying a new aircraft, it is typically replaced, retired, and dismantled. The typical operational lifespan of commercial aircraft is around 30 years. Boeing’s Dreamlifter fleet, the primary air transportation method for several 787/767 major production articles and the topic of this thesis, is an anomaly in that the 30-year-old fleet is far from facing retirement. The unique custom design makes the Dreamlifters an irreplaceable asset, and thus it is critical that the fleet remains operational throughout the lifetime of 787 production, or the limit of validity of the Dreamlifters. This thesis analytically breaks down the Dreamlifters’ highly complex systems through exploration of various data elements relevant to reliability. Employing reliability- centered maintenance (RCM) concepts, Monte Carlo simulations and historical failure data, we propose an obsolescence management framework that provides a probabilistic mitigation timeline for a component with limited supply. This simulation approach can be expanded to other aircraft components even with relatively small data sets, provide insight into optimal replacement intervals, and help prioritize risk management targets. We also share recommendations for successful project continuity.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Mechanical Engineering; Sloan School of Management
Massachusetts Institute of Technology