All aircraft face condensation. Passive moisture control measures, such as isolation of blankets and drainage of condensate water, have improved. But for many airlines those are not efficient enough as aircraft spend less hours on ground and more hours in the sky. Furtermore, aircraft fit more seats in the same fuselage and strive to operate with a ‘high-load-factor’ business model. Many airlines also have outsourced their aircraft maintenance (i.e. less knowledge of actual conditions).
Bottom-line is that passive moisture control measure are no longer sufficient. Although it is not always as obvious as shown in the picture. Water accumulation can be distributed and hard to discover.
One airline decided, despite no visible signs of moisture issues, to conduct a 18 months trial in three Airbus A320s.
The aircraft were weighed before the trial and then weighed again after a few months; recording an average weight decrease of approx. 200 kg. The anti-condensation systems were turned-off and flights were resumed. The aircraft then increased on average approx. 200kg – back again to initial weight before weight loss from moisture proteceted flights. The six month on-off was repeated with the same encouraging results.
The trial not only focused on measuring the weight saving benefits but also monitored components included: antennas, sensors & computers. The trial resulted in a 40 % reduction of unscheduled component change per 1,000 flight hours.
These three aircraft with the anti-condensation system acitvated saved our planet from close to 200mt of CO2 emissions on an annual basis – equivalent to 200 balloons.
In just three aircraft. Imagine the effect if an airline goes all in and moisture protect its entire fleet.
Novair, that operates on behalf of one of Sweden’s largest travel agencies Apollo, did a 12 months evaluation trial in one of its Airbus A321 aircraft. The weight reduction accounted to 284kg.
Germanwings performed a 12 months A319 evaluation trial. Resulting in a 140kg net weight saving,