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As old as my parents: Aging planes in the sky

By Hannah Davis, hdavis@kwch.com
Published On: Apr 24 2014 01:02:42 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 06:18:06 PM CDT
WICHITA, Kan. -

The National Institute for Aviation Research in Wichita has a special program dedicated to older planes. Melinda Laubach-Hock is the director of The Aging Aircraft Lab. Every day she and her team take apart planes that are up to 70 years old, to look for problems with their parts.

"A lot of people don't realize but a lot of our planes in the sky are more than 50,60,70-years-old," Laubach-Hock said.

Laubach-Hock and her team take apart large aircrafts, including the KC-135 and examine it down to the smallest piece. Inspectors can then make recommendations to the military on how to keep these planes safe in the sky.

Their lab includes state of the art technology like fluorescent baths that allow inspectors to see cracks that could be missed by the naked eye. Every part is stripped and closely examined. Laubach-Hock says this will keep planes flying until 2040 and beyond.

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