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SOFIA is Down For Heavy Maintenance In Hamburg with Lufthansa Technik

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SOFIA is Down For Heavy Maintenance In Hamburg with Lufthansa Technik

SOFIA is Down For Heavy Maintenance In Hamburg with Lufthansa Technik
November 23
16:56 2017

MIAMI – NASA’s flying observatory, SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy), arrived for maintenance work at Lufthansa Technik’s base in Hamburg, Germany.

SOFIA is a Boeing 747SP retrofitted by NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR). The iconic 747SP is due for a heavy “C-Check” maintenance, which will be performed by Lufthansa Technik’s experts in the VIP and Special Mission Aircraft Services division of its Hamburg’s maintenance center.

READ MORE: Starhustling with SOFIA: A 747SP Star is Reborn — Part One | Part Two | Part Three

A C-Check is a “regularly scheduled maintenance event for an aircraft other than a complete overhaul,” according to Lufthansa Technik.

The last heavy maintenance work made to the aircraft was in 2014. SOFIA was scheduled for a major overhaul (D-Check), which was also completed at Lufthansa Technik in Hamburg.

In Europe, Lufthansa Technik is the only certified company to carry out technical work on this type of aircraft. Heinz-Theo Hammes, SOFIA Project Manager at DLR, said they are glad to “return” the 747SP in “the experienced hands of Lufthansa Technik.”

He also added that in 2014, and now, “Lufthansa Technik’s extensive experience with Boeing 747SP aircraft was the decisive factor,” considering just a few Boeing 747SP are still in service worldwide.

January 2017

SOFIA’s C-Check maintenance will be carried out following NASA regulations and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart, which coordinates the operation of the aircraft on the German side.

“It’s a very special opportunity for all of us to work on this outstanding and technologically sophisticated aircraft,” said Sven Hatje, Project Manager at Lufthansa Technik. “We, too, look forward to the continued trustful cooperation with the representatives of NASA, DLR and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) of the University of Stuttgart.”

The aircraft’s structure will be inspected and repaired, if necessary, “with extensive structural work.” After all, it was modified entirely for scientific purposes.

SOFIA has special electronic systems any 747SP does not have, as well as a 4×6 meters door in the fuselage for the telescope. Also, it was prepared to very high loads during its ultra-long-haul missions.

Eddie Zavala, NASA’s Program Manager for SOFIA, said he is confident Lufthansa Technik will accomplish their expectations. “In 2014, we were extremely impressed with the high quality of work and expertise of the Lufthansa Technik personnel,” he said.

“Lufthansa Technik is the right organization to meet the special needs of the NASA/DLR partnership and provide integrated observatory maintenance on our uniquely modified and highly specialized 747SP aircraft. We look forward to continuing our teamwork with Lufthansa Technik.”


About Author

Alvaro Sanchez

Alvaro Sanchez

Online Executive Editor. Journalist and Certified Radio Host. Studying for a Specialization in Public Opinion and Political Communications. Even though I love politics I've found myself fascinated by the Aviation World. I'm also passionate by economy, strategic communications, my family, my country, and dogs.

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