What Are the Most Expensive Parts of a Plane?

Posted by Jonathan

The airline industry is highly lucrative with planes like the Airbus A380 costing around $276,000,000 (£227,755,200.00). However, the vast assortment of expensive aircraft parts that make a plane fly is staggering.  

In this article, we discuss some of these airplane parts and their specific purposes.   

The Integrated Drive Generator 

The IDG (Integrated Drive Generator) is the least expensive on our list of aircraft parts. With a price of roughly $40,000 (£33,695.20), the IDG is one small but, pricy piece of avionics. The IDG is an electrical generator that uses kinetic energy to provide electrical power for all aircraft systems. The IDG also comprises a CSD or Constant Speed Drive. The CSD, aka a constant speed generator, takes the resulting variable speed output and hydro-mechanically produces constant output RPM. 

The Electronic Engine Control 

As one of the most expensive aircraft parts, EEC (Electronic Engine Control) maintains the peak efficiency of the aircraft’s engine during a flight. It does this in the background by assessing input from the engine and environment sensors hundreds of times a second. This small aircraft part costs approximately $125,000 (£104,278). 

The Aircraft’s Certification  

Part 21 is one of the most expensive items in the airline industry, and it may surprise you what it is. Despite not being an aircraft part, Part 21 is a certificate that determines the airworthiness of a plane. This certificate remains valid through an annual ARC, also known as an Air Worthiness Review. Additionally, the certificate allows aircraft manufacturers to sell their planes in the airline industry. 

Understandably then, achieving this certificate is imperative for all aircraft manufacturers but it does require a superlative number of recourses and skills. There can be additional requirements that need to be met too, so we can’t give an exact price of securing a Part 21 – its cost is relative to each manufacturer’s differing circumstances.  

The Aircraft’s Aesthetics  

Surprisingly, the paint job and decals of an aircraft can cost a lot of money too. According to Boeing and British Airways, a paint job can cost from $50,000 (£42,107.50) up to $200,000 (£168,460). There are usually two types of paint used on aeroplanes: enamel and epoxy. Enamel is extremely resistant to chemicals and hard conditions. Whereas, epoxy is chemical and heat-resistant and provides electrical insulation which makes it highly practical for airliners. 

Not Forgetting, The Aircraft’s Pilot 

Not necessarily an aircraft ‘part’, the airplane pilot is still key in making sure the aircraft gets to its destination safely. A plane can’t take off without them! However, it is more of an investment than you think for someone to learn to fly in the airliner industry. Pilot training prices can vary from $70,000 to $100,000 (£58,395 to £83,422). 

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