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Before I left Australia I was flying a ’62 Victa Airtourer, it was regularly maintained and they were very vigilant about airframe fatigue due to its age. It flew perfectly and was my first choice if I was going flying.
Your point about contacting Cessna is standard across the industry, as aircraft age the manufacturers regularly put out updates saying this is what we’ve noticed, this is what needs to be done to keep the aircraft flying or you need to stop flying the aircraft and we can not fix the problem like what happened with the Vickers Valiant: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vickers_Valiant When they realised the wing spars were fatigue cracking they just pulled the aircraft from service, and when it couldn’t be sorted they stopped them flying all together.
>Cessna also said that when it went in for service after each x amount of hours this part as well as other areas of the aircraft need to be inspected for stress fractures.
Yep, services don’t just extend to an oil and filter change. If it’s a structural issue they’ll check, see there’s nothing wrong and sign it off. If there is they’ll take measures to fix it or if it could develop to critical failure then the aircraft is grounded.
>if properly maintained they can virtually last forever.
Often the issue with aircraft service life is the increasing cost to repair, replace parts and often the increased fuel consumption of older aircraft. If an aircraft is spending more time in maintenance than making money, it’ll be retired. It might be completely safe to fly, but if it’s not making money then companies don’t want it. If the parts are getting too hard to source and replace, it’ll be retired. Not because it can’t be made airworthy but when your operating costs rise because you need to source vintage parts, or get them remade it sometimes isn’t worth it. Also, with a lot of older aircraft the skills required to repair them is being lost. There are very few people who know how to repair a 1943 DC-3 and as it eventually ends up being too hard to train new mechanics to do the job.
That’s a shame about the license man, I’d encourage you to give it another go if you can.