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The number one question in aviation: Are older aircraft safe to fly?

Written By GI Aviation

May 08, 2018

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In this episode of the podcast, I sit down with Roger Hobson, Head of Air Worthiness at GI Aviation. We met for a quick chat about an aviation conundrum; aging aircraft? Should it be a determining factor when choosing a flight?

At GI Aviation, we operate 2 Pilatus PC-12 NGs approaching 2 years of age, so still very young. Brokers, or end users, always tend to ask how old the airplane is when arranging for a charter flight. If an airplane is over 10 years of age there is reluctance to book it. An unfortunate lore grounded in archaic thinking.

Please click here for the podcast.

Historically, 10 years of usage might have made some airplanes But, we aren’t talking about your great grandfather’s airplanes anymore. Modern maintenance has proven that airplanes can be safely productive for 20 years or more as long as the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations are met.

What’s interesting is that airline passengers will happily jump on a 20-year-old airplane with 40,000 hours of flight time on it and not give it a second thought. They have faith in the airline. We smaller commercial aircraft operators are required to comply with the same regulations that protect an A380.

Roger and I also talk about a plane being clean versus safe and how once a plane is airworthy, having nice leather, carpets and interiors is probably the best way to communicate the overall condition of the plane. Ironically, we stumble into the conversation about how smoking made it easy to look for miniscule skin fractures in the plane (not that we should bring smoking back).

We hope you enjoyed episode 4 of the GI Aviation podcast and if my team or I can be of service please do let us know via or email me at

Speaking of which – we recently gave the website above a little refresh – would love your thoughts on how it looks and feels.

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