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ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE FOR BUSINESS AVIATION MRO
INDUSTRY GUIDE FEBRUARY 2021
I How to Plan and Maximize Your Next MRO Visit I Your Engine Overhaul FAQs, Answered by the Experts I Should You Overhaul, Replace, or Upgrade Your Engines? I Cabin Refurbishment: How to Set the Right Tone I Cabin Connectivity Priorities for MRO Downtime I Are you Getting the Best from Your Flight Panel? I Inside Dassaultâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Spare Parts Distribution Center
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AVBUYER MAGAZINE Vol 25 Issue 2 2021
Editor Welcome F FEB20.qxp_JMesingerNov06 26/01/2021 15:36 Page 1
Editor’s NOTE Matt Harris
Matt Harris is commissioning editor for AvBuyer. He is an experienced General and Business Aviation journalist and has edited a variety of titles across the last two decades. These include AvBuyer, BizJet Advisor and GA Buyer Europe. https://www.linkedin.com/in/ matthew-harris-avbuyer/
Adaptable BizJet Owners Turn to MRO o call 2020 an ‘unusual’ year would be an understatement. Yet, despite the ravages of Covid-19, Business Aviation has held up surprisingly well. After the initial wave of the pandemic brought normal life to a standstill, humanity did what humanity generally does very well: Adapt to the circumstances. Business Aviation was a good example, with sales of pre-owned jets and turboprops faring surprisingly well over the year as a whole. Moving past the initial impact, many operators continued to fly – particularly those with Turboprops, and Light to Mid-Size Jets – preferring to make their essential trips in the more controllable, safer environment of a business aircraft cabin. Though overall flying time was inevitably down – particularly with international travel off the agenda for many – less time in the air didn’t necessarily equate to more idle time on the ramp. The knack of savvy business aircraft owners and operators to adapt played out in the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) shop hangars. According to Jeff Lake, President of Duncan Aviation – a leading MRO provider – “though most did not utilize their business aircraft as much…many brought inspections, upgrades, and other modifications and work forward during their downtime.” As 2020 disappears in the rear-view mirror, the pandemic continues. So what lies ahead for MRO in 2021? Lake says the backlog at Duncan Aviation is very strong and anticipates more demand for highdensity aircraft interiors and other systems that will “make having more people on board more productive and pleasant”. These include – he predicts – items such as cabin management systems, improved connectivity, and floorplan alterations that provide room for more passengers – along with increasing demand for ionization system installations in aircraft.
In this Issue…
Two unchanging facts of an aircraft owner/operator’s life are aircraft inspections and engine overhauls. With the suggestion that lower utilization is providing an opportune time for operators to consider these – and with questions undoubtedly arising over how to optimize such extended periods of downtime,
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AvBuyer offers this special MRO edition. Starting with tips from the experts on how to maximize MRO downtime, the content branches out into the many areas of MRO work, and associated upgrade and retrofit projects that could be woven into a single shop visit. Gerrard Cowan shares answers from the leading engine OEMs to your most frequently asked engine overhaul questions, while Chris Kjelgaard discusses with industry insiders some of the alternatives to overhaul if the cost doesn’t make sense. With the aircraft down for an overhaul or major inspection, perhaps a timely refurbishment could also be undertaken. Dave Higdon speaks to some industry-leading refurbishment providers to discuss setting the right tone through your next cabin project. When the cabin panels are removed for refurbishment, the wiring behind them becomes accessible, giving opportunity to ensure the connectivity system is everything you need it to be over the coming years. Brian Wilson discusses what your connectivity priorities should be as you work with an MRO shop. And, not overlooking the cockpit, the question of upcoming mandates and pilot workload comes to mind. Are you certain you’re getting the most out of your flight deck? Avionics veteran Ken Elliott shares a logical roadmap to help consider that question. Finally, aircraft parts may have a limited lifecycle or unexpectedly fail, so it’s encouraging for owners to know when a manufacturer is invested in keeping a steady supply of spare parts. Our recent tour of Dassault’s new spare parts facility provides an example of how the OEMs commit to the ongoing needs of owners and operators of their aircraft. We hope this special MRO edition will give plenty of food for thought, useful tips and knowledge on how to make the very best of your next MRO shop visit, and trust it does exactly what it says on the tin, providing ‘Actionable Intelligence for Business Aviation MRO’. Enjoy! Matt Harris Commissioning Editor AvBuyer
Large-Cabin expertise. Attention to Every Small Detail. A complete center of knowledge for Gulfstream and Global aircraft, the Stevens Aerospace Large Cabin facility gives you the opportunity to fully engage with our technicians and craftsmen as we plan and execute the work. From expert maintenance and avionics upgrades to stunning interior refurbishments, the Stevens team draws upon more than 200 years of combined large cabin expertise to go well above and beyond your expectations. For an aircraft like no other, trust Stevens to deliver an unmatched service experience.
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F CONTENTS FEB21.qxp 27/01/2021 15:55 Page 1
MRO Special Industry Guide
4 Editor's Note: Adaptable BizJet Owners Turn to MRO
8 How to Plan and Maximize Your Next MRO Shop Visit
14 Your Overhaul FAQs Answered by the Experts
18 Should You Overhaul, Replace, or Upgrade Your Engines?
24 Cabin Refurbishment: How to Set the Right Tone
30 What are the Connectivity Priorities in MRO Downtime?
Editorial Contributor (USA Office) Dave Higdon email@example.com ADVERTISING Steve Champness - Publisher Americas +1 770 769 5872 firstname.lastname@example.org Ricky Gioconda Account Manager +1 919 434 1364 email@example.com Lise Margin Account Manager +1 703 818 1024 firstname.lastname@example.org David Olcott Account Manager +1 802 233 6458 email@example.com Maria Brabec - Account Manager EMEA & APAC Aircraft & Services Sales +420 604 224 828 firstname.lastname@example.org STUDIO/PRODUCTION Helen Cavalli / Mark Williams +44 (0) 20 8939 7726 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION Sue Brennan +44 (0) 20 8255 4000 Freephone from USA: +1 855 425 7638 email@example.com
AVBUYER.COM Jayne Jackson firstname.lastname@example.org
Are You Getting the Best From Your Flight Panel?
Emma Davey email@example.com
47 Inside Dassault’s New Spare Parts Distribution Center
Don’t forget to read our regular content in the front section of this issue, including: • Buying an Older Jet? Avoid the Surprises
• Jet Comparison: Embraer Praetor 600 vs Legacy 500 • What’s the Latest on the Citation Light Jet Market?
6 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
EDITORIAL Commissioning Editor Matthew Harris +44 (0) 20 8939 7722 firstname.lastname@example.org
MANAGING DIRECTOR John Brennan +44 (0) 20 8255 4229 email@example.com USA OFFICE 1210 West 11th Street, Wichita, KS 67203-3517 EUROPEAN OFFICE AvBuyer House, 34A High Street, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0RY, UK +44 (0)20 8255 4000 Freephone from USA: +1 855 425 7638 – PRINTED BY Fry Communications, Inc. 800 West Church Road, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 www.AVBUYER.com
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MRO FEB21.qxp_Finance 25/01/2021 16:36 Page 1
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REBECCA APPLEGARTH is an aviation journalist, and a member of the AvBuyer writing team. Brought up around aviation, she has had a passion for flying for as long as she can remember.
How to Plan and Maximize Your Next MRO Visit What are the necessary tips and tricks of the trade when preparing for MRO? Rebecca Applegarth asks Jet Aviation’s Cyril Martiniere, and Elliott Aviation’s Meghan Welch…
s the well-known saying goes, taxes and death are certainties in life. In the same way Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) are an inevitable, unavoidable part of aircraft ownership. Maintenance – specifically preventative maintenance – should be an ongoing aspect of any flight department’s day-to-day operations as they keep their jet in optimal condition, while repair becomes necessary as parts break or malfunction. Engine overhaul cycles, meanwhile, are events that come due after a specific number of operating hours are completed, and often provide opportunities to have a plethora of other maintenance, repair and upgrade work done to the aircraft as it is grounded for several weeks.
The Importance of Planning Ahead
Owing to the complex and often customized nature of many MRO projects, Meghan Welch, Director of Paint & Interior Sales, Elliott Aviation, suggests it’s a good idea to plan well in advance with your MRO facility, to help ensure the shortest possible downtime. “Some materials, like custom carpets or plating, can have long lead times,” she suggests. “By working with your MRO sales team to clearly define your work scope, you can be assured that all of the parts and materials are ordered and ready for your arrival.” “Another consideration is the need to make alternative arrangements for travel while your aircraft is undergoing MRO”, says Cyril Martiniere, Vice
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President, MRO Services and General Manager Jet Aviation Basel facility. “If you want to maintain the benefits of private aviation – convenience, comfort, safety, and efficiency – ask your maintenance provider if they can help arrange charter services while your aircraft is grounded.” (Jet Aviation offers aircraft charter services along with a wide global network of facilities to meet the needs of its clients.) “Covid-19 has created a surge with many charter operators, so it would be best to contact them as early as you can to make arrangements”, Welch warns. Once you decide to charter for the duration of the MRO project, it is also important to determine whether your usage during the time-period would justify purchasing a jet card, or simply booking ad hoc charter. Ahead of any MRO work, it’s vital to know what your aircraft’s manufacturer expects and to ensure your MRO service provider can deliver on everything. “You can do this by checking that the MRO center has all necessary approvals, and by reading up on – and inquiring about – your MRO center’s reputation in the industry”, Martiniere suggests. “Don’t hesitate to ask about the qualifications and experience of their
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personnel”, he adds. Some maintenance providers will provide low quotes to entice customers to sign with them, but operators should be aware, “This can lead to very unpleasant surprises when the customer learns the quote only covered the bare minimum service," continues Martiniere. “If the company is transparent with its pricing and policies, this is a good indication of their stability and integrity”, he suggests, adding that you should similarly, ask to see their records to gauge accuracy in time estimates and schedules, since inaccurate time and schedule estimates and schedules can also add significantly to the final cost. By planning these events enough in advance, says Welch, “You will be able to gain a schedule that works for you.” Moreover, this time of planning will also allow you to “understand all of the options that could be available to maximize your investment, to minimize downtime, and to allow the time for ordering of all components ahead of input to allow for a successful project.”
“When working with a one-stop-shop facility, bundling your maintenance, avionics, and any paint and interior work can create efficiencies that can save you money and downtime...”
To help reduce downtime and costs, it’s worth using the planning and preparation stage leading up to any MRO downtime to
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consider other upgrades you might like done, and have then scheduled to coincide with your maintenance. “When working with a one-stopshop facility, bundling your maintenance, avionics, and any paint and interior work can create efficiencies that can save you money and downtime,” Welch suggests. “It really makes the most sense to combine any refurbishment with a major airframe inspection. “During this time, completing items like updating your interior, installing Wi-Fi systems, lighting systems, sound proofing options, customized cabinetry (and much more), might only have a minimal impact on your downtime.” “The common area relates to access,” Martiniere highlights. “Some maintenance checks require removal of the cabin interior, which provides a great opportunity to install new systems. “Customers will want to comply with current mandates – for example, ADS-B; FANS; ATN-B1 – but if ground-time and money permit, they might consider other cabin upgrades such as High-Speed Internet installations, including an additional Satcom System, for example, Honeywell JetWave, a ViaSat Ka- or Ku-band system, or installation of a cabin router and WLAN system. “Having installed High-Speed Internet, some customers might also like to integrate an AVOD server for wireless media streaming,” he adds. The same principle is true of considering other upcoming inspections, says Martiniere. After all, it makes little sense to have an aircraft grounded for MRO work on two separate occasions in a short space of time. “Also, consider any upcoming aviation mandates that will likely impact your aircraft [in the near future],” he adds.
What are the Financial Options Available
As mentioned, MRO work is an expensive business. Many owners prefer to keep the costs predictable
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by enrolling their aircraft on hourly maintenance programs. These are offered by all of the engine manufacturers, and in some cases (such as Honeywell’s MSP) extends to the avionics too. Some prominent hourly maintenance programs are offered by third party providers, covering multiple areas of the aircraft. Indeed, Jet Aviation sometimes offers a Power-by-the-Hour service in which customers pay a fixed monthly maintenance fee based on the
aircraft’s flight activity, helping owners and operators with their financial planning, while ensuring there are no nasty surprises. In addition, it’s worth speaking to the MRO center about the options when it comes to payment, notes Martiniere. “Ask what payment schemes the company offers, such as paying in installments, and benefits in long-term or multipleorder agreements, for example.” Companies are often willing to negotiate terms if customers want to sign with multiple aircraft, or longterm contracts, he adds.
Ready to Go!
With everything prepared for and planned, you should be set for a trouble-free MRO experience, in which your downtime is both productive, and as predictable as possible. For those emerging from a successful time with an MRO shop, the effects of your freshly maintained, repaired and overhauled aircraft will be enjoyed for years to come!
MEGHAN WELCH Director of Paint & Interior Sales, Elliott Aviation
CYRIL MARTINIERE Vice President, MRO Services & General Manager, Jet Aviation Basel
TFE731 COVERAGE THAT REALLY STACKS UP. For high-quality TFE731 maintenance coverage, choose EAP.
With EAP, you get personalized customer service, increased residual value and cost savings of as much as $80 - $100 per engine per hour while using the same high-quality engine MRO shops as the other programs. You get full coverage with only 75 hours as the yearly minimum. Call 214.350.0877 or visit eap.aero/my-engine to see if your engines qualify. ROUTINE INSPECTION
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12/11/20 2:12 PM
OVERHAUL 1.qxp_Finance 27/01/2021 10:18 Page 1
ENGINES GERRARD COWAN is a freelance journalist who focuses on aerospace, defense and finance. He can be found on Twitter @GerrardCowan
Your Overhaul FAQs Answered by the Experts What are the common questions asked by aircraft owners and operators regarding upcoming engine overhauls? Gerrard Cowan asks some of the leading engine OEMs and service providers…
verhauling your business jet engine can be a complex process, meaning there are plenty of frequently asked questions received by the MROs and engine manufacturers. AvBuyer asked some of the leading companies in the sector to tell us the most common questions they field from customers in terms of technology, logistics and operations – and the answers they suggest.
1. What exactly does an overhaul entail?
The purpose of an overhaul is quite simply to restore your engine to its optimum performance level, and to improve fuel consumption, says Timothy Swail, vicepresident, customer programs at Pratt & Whitney. The overhaul process involves the complete disassembly of the engine, he adds, with each part carefully examined according to the engine manuals for wear or damage. Depending on the situation, these parts are either repaired or replaced with new or used serviceable parts. When the overhauled engine is reassembled it is then tested for performance validation and signed off by technical experts. According to James Prater, Vice President, Customer Support – Business Aviation at Rolls-Royce, 14 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
customers of its CorporateCare Enhanced engine maintenance program often enquire about what is and isn’t covered during a shop visit. Anything that is provided through the program is covered, Prater notes, including corrosion and erosion of the engine and the nacelle. The only exceptions are for Foreign Object Damage (FOD), neglect and expiration of the replacement time for Life-Limited Parts (LLPs), though Prater says this could be covered as an optional extra. If your aircraft is enrolled on an hourly maintenance program, irrespective of the company providing the coverage, it’s worth clarifying with the provider what is covered well in advance of an overhaul.
2. How long will it take?
The time taken to complete an engine overhaul varies, a spokesperson for General Electric told AvBuyer. The time required can change depending on the engine model, condition, scope of work and shop availability. Swail echoed this, noting that there are different operational performance requirements and complexities depending on the engine model. “Our owned and appointed facilities each offer different www.AVBUYER.com
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levels of support for the specific engine models, and an overhaul can take approximately 60 days,” Swail says. “However, we will work with the customer to find an appropriate solution to get them back in service as quickly as possible.” According to Mark Winzar, Senior Vice President of Business Development in EMEA and APAC at JSSI (an independent provider of maintenance support and financial services to the business aviation industry), turnaround time is crucial when planning an off-wing event. According to Winzar, his company begins planning for a major shop event up to a year before the due date with an operator. Prater said Rolls-Royce works to keep turnaround time to 55 days, “depending on the product type and workscope”.
3. Are rental engines available?
Operators may require rental engine support when their own engines are in the maintenance shop, notes Winzar, and JSSI facilitates the provision of rental engines from its own stock or another source, ensuring it is ready when required, and that downtime is kept to a minimum. JSSI also works with customers and rental engine www.AVBUYER.com
suppliers “to manage the safe return [of the engine] and keep unnecessary costs under control”. Pratt & Whitney also keeps an inventory of rental engines that are strategically located around the globe to support scheduled and unscheduled events, says Swail. He adds that since – in most cases – the timing of overhauls is dictated by set flying-hour intervals, customers should contact the company well in advance of the overhaul to book engines and arrange the relevant logistics. And with a growing number of operators leasing their aircraft, Swail says Pratt & Whitney has recently expanded its options in this area beyond short-term rentals. Prater, meanwhile, says Rolls-Royce has over 150 lease engines strategically placed around the globe. “If a customer is on CorporateCare, all lease engine costs are covered by Rolls-Royce including the removal and reinstallation of engines, plus shipping to and from the engine shop.”
4. Can I use a third party service center, rather than go through the OEM?
Like other OEMs, the engine manufacturer has a wide range of authorized service center, according to Prater.
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If customers are covered by its CorporateCare Enhanced program, they can use one of Rolls-Royce’s 75 authorized service centers, without having to pay the service center, “as we have a business agreement in place to cover these costs”. JSSI’s service is built on a worldwide network of vendors, according to Winzar, all of which have the correct approvals and no issues with quality. The company has agreements in place focussing on commercial terms and “also include set service standards that must be adhered to”, Winzar says. An hourly cost maintenance arrangement with this network means that “we will select the best facility for the customer, taking into account approvals, quality, commercial, and location considerations”.
5. How will I maintain technical oversight of the overhaul and be updated on progress?
Communication is key, notes Winzar. JSSI’s product line specialists manage maintenance events throughout an aircraft engine’s life cycle, keeping customers updated at all points. “This ensures there are no surprises on costs, and enables operational plans to be tweaked if required.” During the engine shop visit process, Rolls-Royce keeps customers up to speed via weekly email updates, says Prater. The company also calls the customer if needed, “to ensure understanding”.
6. Will engines someday be able to heal themselves?
With technology and digital engine upgrades, we’re getting closer, according to the GE spokesperson, who described an incident when a pilot of a business jet flying at 50,000 feet received a warning light that his thrust reverser was inoperable. The light switched off a short time later. GE Aviation had been monitoring the problem remotely, and was fully informed of the situation by the time the pilot landed and sought assistance. “Digital technology is evolving, bringing new solutions to pilots and operators that were unheard of even five years ago,” the GE spokesperson explained. Data is everything, concludes Prater. “Rolls-Royce is constantly improving the use of it within our IntelligentEngine vision, resulting in proactive maintenance before any potential disruption in operation.” T More information from: General Electric: www.ge.com JSSI: www.jetsupport.com Pratt & Whitney: www.pwc.ca Rolls-Royce: www.rolls-royce.com
is Vice President, Customer Support – Business Aviation at Rolls-Royce. He is an A&P Technician and Pilot/Flight Instructor with more than 30 years in General Aviation, and is fuelled by a fascination with the magic of flight, and the creativity and science that make it possible, safe, and enjoyable.
is Vice President of Customer Programs at Pratt & Whitney Canada. He leads the Customer Service Engineering organization for all product lines and front-line support. He has been with Pratt & Whitney Canada since 1989.
is Senior Vice President, Business Development – EMEAA, at JSSI, leading business development activities in the EMEA and APAC regions. Joining JSSI in 2009, he was integral in setting up the Hong Kong office, and expanding the business in Asia.
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LEADING THE WAY. TOWARD A GREENER FUTURE. INTRODUCING OUR NEW CARBON OFFSET SERVICE, FOR BUSINESS JET OPERATORS ON EAGLE SERVICE™ PLAN (ESP™) At Pratt & Whitney, we’re making it easy for you to offset your carbon emissions and contribute to a more sustainable environment. By participating in our Carbon Offset Service, you’ll only pay for the number of hours your aircraft is in flight and we’ll take care of the rest. You can feel good knowing that you are reducing your carbon footprint, while contributing to a more sustainable future. Join us as we ensure a healthier planet, and we’ll leave a legacy we can be proud of, together.
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ENGINES CHRIS KJELGAARD has been an aviation journalist for 40 years, with a particular expertise on aircraft maintenance. He has served as editor of ten print and online titles and written extensively on many aspects of aviation. He also copy-edits most major documents published by a global aviation industry trade association.
Should You Overhaul, Replace, or Upgrade Your Engines? Engine overhauls are expensive, particularly for operators not enrolled in hourly maintenance plans and for engines undergoing their second or third overhaul. Chris Kjelgaard assesses the options available at that point…
eciding when the prospect of an engine overhaul is just too costly to be worthwhile can be a difficult decision. It is one that different owners and operators may see differently, depending on aircraft type, how the particular aircraft to which the engines in question are attached is operated, and even the owner/operator’s particular preference for retaining engine serial numbers it already owns and knows well. According to Andrew Robinson, Senior Vice President, Services & Customer Support for Rolls-Royce North America, overhauls of Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8 engines installed on 30-year-old Gulfstream IVs “are still occurring, but we’ve seen other aircraft [types] which are not as old for which it is deemed not as practical.” “Once an engine hits its second and third overhaul, the overhaul becomes a lot more expensive,” says Mike Saathoff, Director, Sales Operations and Engine Accessory Sales, Elliott Aviation. The cost of an engine overhaul goes up as the engine’s Life Limited Parts (LLPs) near, or reach, their cycle limits, at 18 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
which point they must be replaced, according to Saathoff. Overhaul is also needed “if parts have major discrepancies and need to be replaced.” In either case, “the cost of doing an upgrade [to a new engine] becomes very close or almost equal to the cost of doing an overhaul,” he says.
What are the Options?
If the owners of run-out engines decide not to have them overhauled, they can explore a variety of options. For example, they can scrap the aircraft and engines, or try to sell them for any remaining value they have. In some cases, they can have the engines exchanged for new ones of the same model, or for used engines which have some service life left. For some aircraft types, usually turboprops such as Beechcraft King Air models rather than jets, owners can even replace the engines with powerplants of a different type or model to improve the aircraft’s range and fuel-burn performance. “It’s very common” for owners and operators to decide not to have an aircraft’s engines overhauled if they find that the cost of overhauling both powerplants exceeds the www.AVBUYER.com
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remaining resale value of the aircraft-and-engines combination, says James Prater, Vice President Customer Services, Business Aviation for Rolls-Royce. However, personal preferences can come into play for certain owner and operators. “It is in the eye of the beholder, if the owner really likes the airplane,” says Prater. “Some operators like to keep the engine serial numbers intact,” mounted on a particular airframe. Such owners may “have more faith in components they already own, rather than dealing with an unknown engine,” even though it is exactly the same as the one it would replace. “You’re dealing with a known quantity with your own engine. Again, [the decision] is hull- and platformdependent,” he says.
“Pratt & Whitney Canada is of the opinion that if the overhaul cost is expected to be 80% or more of a newengine exchange price, the operator should consider replacing the engine in need of overhaul with a new one,” www.AVBUYER.com
says Timothy Swail, Vice President Customer Programs for P&WC. “This can be the case when significant LLPs need to be replaced, or the engine has suffered from the impact of corrosion coming from operation in a harsh environment. In most cases, we can definitely exchange an engine with a new one, with the proper planning. Pratt & Whitney Canada will repair and re-use what parts are still serviceable, and recycle what cannot be used,” he adds. “A new engine is a great way to refresh the aircraft and benefit from lower-cost maintenance in the future with a new warranty,” Swail continues. “This option is probably best if you still have several years of planned ownership or usage ahead. “If the ownership horizon is limited, another option is to buy a used engine that has usable hours left before a major MRO event. As an OEM, we offer quality used engines to operators that are part of our rental pool.” For its TFE731 and HTF7000 turbofan lines, meanwhile, Honeywell Aerospace has very similar engine exchange and sales arrangements in place to those
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P&WC offers for its business aircraft powerplants. Honeywell’s arrangements under its hourly Maintenance Service Plan – Propulsion (MSP – Propulsion) include exchanges of run-out operator engines for new powerplants and also sales of used, part-life engines to operators whose time horizons for continuing operation of their aircraft such engines meet. “Honeywell has various programs for older aircraft and engines that are later along in their useful life, including engine exchanges and sales of used serviceable engines with partial intervals remaining,” says Hans Laudon, Vice President, Engines for Honeywell Aerospace. “These programs offer cost-effective options and may be ideal for operators that don’t need or want to achieve a full maintenance interval; perhaps an engine with 1,000 hours left until its next interval is adequate for the remaining operating life of the aircraft,” he adds. Positioned at the higher-thrust, larger-aircraft end of the Business Aviation propulsion market, Rolls-Royce “doesn’t do engine exchange as a standalone service,” says Robinson. “That’s more common for smaller aircraft. But we do have hourly and annual [maintenance] programs [under RollsRoyce’s CorporateCare customer-support umbrella] that provide coverage for aircraft that are in the end-of-life phase, and we’re looking to develop additional options. “We shape programs differently when recognizing the end-of-life of the platform,” Robinson adds, highlighting how operators are still buying CorporateCare plans to cover various Tay 611-8 engines powering Gulfstream IVs, for example.
Engine Upgrade Programs
Engine-upgrade programs for business jets aren’t common nowadays, though in the past Dassault Falcon 20s were successfully re-engined with Honeywell TFE731s. 20 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
Perhaps the best-known relatively recent program is the Nextant 400XTi whole-aircraft upgrade of the Hawker Beechjet 400, which involved replacing the aircraft’s original engines with Williams FJ44s, and helped increase the aircraft’s range and operating speed. A similar upgrade was available on the Hawker 400XPR upgrade program. And, according to Laudon, “Honeywell offers retrofits and conversions for the TFE731-20AR and -20BR on the Learjet 40 and 45,” but he adds, “true engine retrofits in Business Aviation are no longer as common, due to the high certification costs and the low utilization of Business Aviation aircraft compared to the air transport and regional market segment.” However, says Saathoff, upgrading the engines of turboprop business aircraft – particularly types such as King Airs powered by models from P&WC’s long-lived, ubiquitous and extensive PT6A family – is more common. In most such cases, the PT6As removed from the aircraft – usually performed at what would have been the scheduled time of overhaul – are replaced by more powerful PT6A models. For instance, engine-upgrade programs developed and certified under STCs by Blackhawk Aerospace replace the original PT6A-42As in the King Air 200 with PT6A-52s or PT6A-61s, and the original PT6A-60As in the King Air 300 with PT6A-67s, says Saathoff. Such upgrades are effectively re-engining programs, though in most cases they don’t require a different nacelle installation. However, because upgraded engines improve the performance of the aircraft, various engine-upgrade programs do often involve making minor aerodynamic modifications to the airframe itself. “Depending on your operational needs, these aircraft upgrades may represent an interesting investment, which is a different value proposition than an engine overhaul,” says Swail.
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Decisions Within Maintenance Plans
The decision whether or not to overhaul a given engine may also depend strongly on whether or not the engine in question is enrolled in an OEM or third-party hourly maintenance program. Each OEM offers a wide range of different coverage levels and other services (such as P&WC’s powerful new engine oil-analysis technology) to suit each individual operator’s budget and specific operational and MRO requirements. Under Rolls-Royce’s CorporateCare and CorporateCare Enhanced coverage, “all the costs of overhauling and refurbishing the engine is borne by Rolls-Royce,” says Robinson. “Those operators enrolled in Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Eagle Service Plan (ESP) maintenance program can use the reserved funds to overhaul the engine, replace it with new, or purchase an aircraft upgrade that includes new engines,” says Swail. “We provide this flexibility because we know that each owner has different criteria that may favor one option over another. This flexibility is something only the OEM would provide.” However, at the time of overhaul, operators don’t necessarily need to replace the engines on their aircraft with upgraded powerplants to obtain benefits from improved engine performance, increased part durability, better part reliability, and longer time on wing. “In place of engine retrofits, the most common approach for improving engine capability is to incorporate product improvements and engine enhancements over time, through Service Bulletins and at maintenance intervals when otherwise opened up,” says Laudon.
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“Honeywell has found that engines that routinely incorporate product improvement Service Bulletins, such as engines on MSP – Propulsion programs, have been shown to have improved overall reliability and reduced operating cost.” Maintenance performed under Honeywell’s MSP – Propulsion maintenance plans incorporate all its product improvements and engine-capability enhancements, and the plans also cover all the costs of the product improvements incorporated. However, says Laudon, “regardless of whether the operator is on MSP, Honeywell provides access to all product improvement Service Bulletins on our maintenance portal, and engine services are provided by our authorized service center network.” Third-party Maintenance Program options exist, too, including those offered by Engine Assurance Program (EAP) and JSSI. EAP’s program, for example, focusses specifically on older engine platforms and aims to offer high-quality coverage and enhanced customer service while saving clients money. Covering more than 30 different aircraft applications, according to Sean Lynch, EAP's Program Coordinator, EAP could save operators as much as $100 per hour on each engine – so is an excellent way to save money while preserving the value of the aircraft. This is achieved, Lynch says, as EAP takes advantage of the lower cost of engine parts and services discounts available today and passes that value on to its customers. Lynch advises operators of older aircraft: “The best way to garner top resale value is by leaving the engines on a fully-funded engine program. “Once you decide to take the engines off of an engine
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program,” he warns, “you seal the fate of the aircraft. It is safe to assume it will get sold for salvage once the remaining time is flown off, or an expensive unscheduled failure occurs.”
On-Condition Maintenance and Trend Monitoring
All of Rolls-Royce’s business jet engine families are maintained under on-condition maintenance programs except for the Tay, the maintenance manual for which specifies a 10,000hour hard-life LLP limit. Nevertheless, Tay engines also can be moved into an on-condition program, allowing time on-wing beyond 10,000 hours by incorporating borescope inspections at regular intervals before the limit is reached. As part of the research mission of Rolls-Royce’s Life Cycle Unit, “We’re always looking to reduce shop visit cost [by improving time on wing] and to keep engine costs down by reducing the scrap rate,” says Robinson. “It’s a balance between the engine being on-wing longer, and more scrap [being generated] when it is on-wing longer.” Meanwhile, says Loudon, “Honeywell has further enhanced the operator experience by introducing a Usage-Based Maintenance Service Plan for HTFwww.AVBUYER.com
series and TFE731-20/40/50/60 engines. “It uses advanced connectedaircraft technology to monitor engines for preferred operation indicators. Honeywell uses data analytics to track key performance parameters including flight length, throttle setting and environment.” Under Honeywell’s usage-based MSP – Propulsion program, “Operators are eligible for a discount of up to 10% off the hourly rate for operating their aircraft under optimal conditions,” says Laudon. “The usage-based feature provides more flexibility for MSP operators, with data they can use to further improve the operation of their aircraft. No matter how the aircraft is operated, MSP has the flexibility to adjust to the needs of the operator.”
Operators whose engines are nearing their next overhaul and think they may find the work too costly may have more options open to them than they initially thought – particularly if their engines are already enrolled in an hourly or annual maintenance program. For those owners, it may be well worth the extra time and effort needed to explore in depth the options that are available to them. T
HANS LAUDON Vice President, Engines, Honeywell Aerospace (https://aerospace.honeywell. com)
SEAN LYNCH Program Coordinator, Engine Assurance Program (www.eap.aero)
ANDREW ROBINSON Senior Vice President, Services & Customer Support, Rolls-Royce North America (www.rolls-royce.com)
MIKE SAATHOFF Director of Sales Operations and Engine Accessory Sales, Elliott Aviation (www.elliottaviation.com)
TIMOTHY SWAIL Vice President of Customer Programs, P&WC (www.pwc.ca)
AVBUYER MAGAZINE Vol 25 Issue 2 2021
REFURBISHMENT.qxp_Finance 25/01/2021 17:38 Page 1
Cabin Refurbishment: How to Set the Right Tone Refurbishing a business aircraft offers countless options for customized personalization and to make the airplane reflect the corporate or private owner's identity. Dave Higdon seeks the experts’ advice on how to set the right tone with your next cabin refurbishment…
orporate or individual identity reflected in an aircraft may come on the outside (by way of customized livery), or in the main cabin with an interior makeover. The possible variations are limited only by the aircraft’s structure, the taste of the owner/branding of the corporation, regulatory issues, and, of course, the budget available for the work. An ideal time to bring the aircraft up to looking its best is when other hangar-intensive work is scheduled. “When the aircraft is in for a heavy check, the removal and reinstallation (R&R) of an interior can run in the tens-ofthousands of dollars, depending on size and complexity,” notes Phil Stearns, Director of Sales and Marketing at Stevens Aerospace and Defense Systems, adding that such
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work “may cost 10-20% of a complete interior refurbishment. Moreover, he notes, the ‘other work’ – for which the interior was removed – can take longer, so the refurbishment gets accomplished without necessarily increasing the downtime.
Setting the Tone – Where to Begin
Once the decision is made to proceed with a refurbishment, though, how do you work through the dizzying array of options, setting the tone you desire with your current and future needs in mind? To begin with, it’s worth considering that a quality interior shop will have a designer on staff. “They, and the craftsmen who build the interior components, live for the moment to www.AVBUYER.com
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DAVE HIGDON is a highly respected aviation journalist who has covered all aspects of civil aviation over the past 36 years. Based in Wichita, he has several thousand flight hours, and has piloted pretty much everything from foot-launched wings to combat jets. Contact him via Dave@avbuyer.com
work with a client and design an interior that means something to them,” Stearns says. An aircraft’s interior refurbishment project offers the owner the opportunity to break from the aircraft's old, existing colors and materials. “From the shop’s perspective it is about listening to the client and understanding their expectations,” says Nate Klenke, Modifications Sales Manager, Duncan Aviation. “We receive a lot of unique requests which give us a glimpse into what is meaningful to the owner of the aircraft, developing a solution that is both unique to the owner and considers the years of experience of the team.” “Most interiors are simply re-works of the original design with new fresh materials and newer up-to-date colors,” Stearns continues. “But there are so many more things that can be done which may not move the price needle at all, while having a dramatic impact on the outcome.” Stearns encourages owners to think outside the box, challenging the designers to create something that impresses. “Think about your favorite car, or home, or piece of furniture, and challenge the designers and craftsmen to wow you,” Stearns suggests. “This is the chance to make the cabin truly yours, so have fun and dream a little.” “Over the years, aircraft owners have become more knowledgeable about interior and paint refurbishments,” Klenke adds. “As a result, they’re asking more relevant questions, leading to more exciting solutions.” And greater awareness from the owner is having a
knock-on effect on the refurbishment industry, Klenke explains, “bringing technologies into our industry that have been around for years in other industries”.
Keep Form AND Functionality in Mind
With setting the right tone through a cabin refurbishment come a few basic additional questions that you should address. For example, the finest aesthetics will count for very little if the functionality of the cabin doesn’t work for you. What will you need your cabin to facilitate in the near- to mid-term future? “If you’re not talking about functionality during the initial conversations about expectations for the aircraft refurbishment, you’re not ‘setting the right tone’ from the outset,” Klenke warns.
Form and functionality are key to any cabin refurbishment (photos courtesy of Duncan Aviation)
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“To quote the legendary architect, Louis Sullivan, ‘form follows function’ – which is the touchstone for many architects and designers, and critical in any aircraft interior reconfiguration.” “Do you depend on your aircraft being chartered at any time?” Stearns asks. “It is almost a requirement that chartered airplanes have Wi-Fi. Not necessarily full streaming capability, but just connectivity.” Next, how will the system be used? Consider the number of devices that will need to run from the Wi-Fi system. “It’s not just the number of people, but the number of devices each person has – like a laptop and their phone,” Stearns highlights. “And don’t forget about the cockpit devices and the pilots – it all adds up and will change the system you ultimately choose to fit the actual need.” After establishing the number of devices, what will the system need to do? For example, if text is all that is required, there are some very inexpensive, quick-to-install systems, says Stearns. Such systems also “serve as a perfect back-up to any Wi-Fi system on any size plane” if the main system malfunctions.
“For larger airplanes with Cabin Management Systems that require updating or repair, you can always go the full replacement and update route,” Stearns says, but adds that many times it’s just the switching that needs to be fixed. “There are options available that address this at a fraction of total system replacement cost.”
When looking for a personalized interior it’s worth remembering that stitching a company logo or owner's initials into the upholstery may well impose further costs to remove when it is time to sell the aircraft. Moreover, while using contrasting upholstery for a customized look can be fine – presenting a striking visual note without carrying the same burden as having to recover seat backs to eliminate logos or initials – in a market where first impressions are key, anything too outlandish could limit the potential buyer pool, and is essentially a matter of balance. Though personalization of an aircraft interior or livery was considered to have an impact on marketability, “over the years this position has changed,” Klenke suggests, adding that Duncan Aviation has created ways to personalize without significantly impacting future marketability. “Making decisions that aesthetically appeal to the owner should be much less of a concern when compared to decisions that involve the operation of the aircraft, the cost associated with putting an aircraft onto a Part 135 ticket, or not having the proper flammability testing completed,” he elaborates. However, when the refurbishment is completed with an eventual sale in mind, the focus should be placed on broadening the appeal to a wider taste pallet. “When selling the aircraft, how it ‘presents’ really matters,” says Stearns.
What first impression should your cabin convey to passengers?
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(Photos courtesy of Stevens Aerospace)
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Whether the refurbishment is for your own enjoyment, ahead of a sale, or aboard an aircraft that you are looking to purchase, Klenke offers a universal warning, “Don’t cut yourself short!” Cutting your planning short will provide you with fewer options and more expense, he highlights. “Well-planned refurbishment projects that provide adequate time for sampling, decision-making and acquisition are proven to be executed more efficiently and cost effectively.” Even though you haven’t yet found that ‘perfect’ aircraft to purchase, this doesn’t mean you can’t begin the design process, he argues. “Working with qualified completion centers with
NATE KLENKE is the Sales Manager of Modifications and Design at Duncan Aviation. He has been serving Duncan Aviation customers since 1996 and has more than 30 years of design, sales and management experience in aviation, industrial design and architecture. More information from www.duncanaviation.aero
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Allow the Time to Plan
First impressions go a long way with prospective buyers. If the aircraft is to be listed for sale, the owner would be well-advised to ensure it's in its best showand-sell condition. “If the seats and carpets are outdated or worn to the point where it’s a distraction, consider getting those replaced to a neutral color or pattern – and, better yet, reintroducing that ‘new’ smell,” Stearns advises. “You may not be able to determine whether you’ll get your investment back, but this may be the differentiator as to whether your aircraft gets looked at or not.” Essentially, a cabin refurbishment requires foresight and planning. If you know the aircraft will be replaced before another refurbishment comes due, it’s worth factoring in the appeal for its future owner, as well as to you. Allow room in your thinking to look at the aircraft through the eyes of a buyer. Setting a distinctive tone, the result of a refurbishment on a King Air 350 (photos from Stevens Aerospace)
an experienced design team to establish material selections is a great way to eliminate potential material delays,” Klenke suggests. “Making these decisions early will only expedite the process and provide you with more options and flexibility to meet everyone’s expectations.”
Final Tip: Don’t do what Can’t be Changed…
It’s worth avoiding touches that are difficult to remove or change. One refurbishment shop professional offered the example of an owner who ordered a bulkhead-size image of his family members enjoying a recreational activity. Though the result was well done, charter clients voiced their preference for a large-screen monitor, leading to lost charter revenue. When planning a cabin makeover, not only do owners face hundreds of choices over color, materials and combinations, but these need to be balanced with what is needed now, and what will be needed further down the line – two years, five years, and at the time of sale. “Don’t try to outsmart design trends when selecting materials,” Klenke advises. “In the end, you need to like it. Trends change with the seasons so it’s important that you make selections based on your preferences with the guidance of professional designers who understand aircraft design and functionality.” Tapping their expertise, you will maximize your chance of getting the cabin you need, while setting the optimal tone. T
PHIL STEARNS is the Director of Sales and Marketing at Stevens Aerospace. He has been with Stevens since 2006. Phil has served as regional sales manager, general manager, and currently overseeing all sales and marketing for Maintenance, Avionics, Paint, and Interior. More information from www.stevensaerospace.com
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CONNECTIVITY.qxp_Finance 26/01/2021 09:05 Page 1
CONNECTIVITY BRIAN WILSON is the Director, Key Accounts at Gogo Business Aviation, an industry-leading provider of in-flight connectivity and entertainment solutions. Prior to Gogo, he sat on numerous Dealer Advisory Boards along with being a member of the AEA Board of Directors.
What are the Connectivity Priorities in MRO Downtime? Among the upgrades that owners and operators can fit around MRO downtime is the connectivity system. What are the priorities to get right when planning and executing such an upgrade, coinciding with an inspection? Brian Wilson advises…
cross an extensive career in aviation, I’ve had the pleasure of working for many exciting companies. Once, I was associated with the largest private flight department in the US, where I was asked by the Director of Aviation to research the cost and downtime of a mandated avionics upgrade. Having carefully checked the details, I set a time to meet with my boss, where I proudly presented the necessary costs and downtime. Almost before I could finish, he held up his hand, sat back in his chair, and retorted, “Brian, the guy that writes our checks did not buy these aircraft so they could sit on the ground.”
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That was more than 20 years ago, but I still remember it as though it was yesterday. Having progressed from avionics technician (at that time) to a director of avionics, I quickly found the compelling driver to most installations was not only price, but downtime.
Maximize Your Downtime with Proper Planning
Most companies plan their next year’s budget as early as the summer. The leading flight departments do the same with their maintenance inspections. Through experience, trial and error, they have learned to make the most of an aircraft www.AVBUYER.com
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being down for maintenance. Budgets, along with system upgrades and regulatory mandates, go hand-in-hand with inspections. Since inspections are predicated on time flown (engines), cycles (gear) and the calendar, they can be planned well in advance. Connectivity has become a necessity aboard today’s corporate aircraft. In many cases most of the interior must be removed when installing connectivity solutions. So, combining a new connectivity solution with a maintenance interval makes sense. Interior removal and reinstallation can take 300-500 man-hours and cost more than $25k. MROs may quote the Removal & Refitting (R&R) costs of the interior for major inspections aggressively, while also seeking the ancillary work generated by involved maintenance events. Interestingly, the same costs are seen as being a money-maker during a standalone upgrade for connectivity – and it is not unusual for an MRO to discount the price of connectivity when performed in conjunction with an inspection. www.AVBUYER.com
When soliciting quotes from the MRO in relation to a connectivity upgrade, the following are the good practices to adhere to: •
Request maintenance inspection proposals from three or four major MROs - Make sure the cost for the interior R&R is included in the quote - Have the MRO shop detail what will and what will not be removed (for example, do not just assume headliners and floorboards are included) Next, ask for a quote for the connectivity upgrade - Request a discount after receiving the proposal - Do not assume the downtime will not be extended (ancillary work can add a few days’ downtime, so get this in writing) Pay attention to the ‘lead’ time required to properly plan for your upgrade. For example, what lead time does equipment availability and required engineering necessitate?
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Since most connectivity upgrades are performed under a Supplement Type Certificate (STC), check where the external antennas will be installed. It’s common to find an existing antenna or light must be moved, and this deviation adds both time and costs.
One of the biggest oversights that leads to aircraft delays and unforeseen costs is in the planning and scheduling phase. On so many occasions, the operator believed their role to be over after signing the proposal and providing an input date. On the contrary, operators need to be laser-focused throughout, communicating daily with the MRO. Finally, make sure the downtime for the aircraft has been fully communicated throughout the flight department. Prepare supplemental lift if it will be needed. And don’t forget that the MRO will usually not block out the input date and resources needed until the deposit is paid.
Matching the Upgrade with the Right Inspection
Since the average downtime for a new connectivity upgrade is two to four weeks, it may not align with a smaller maintenance inspection that could be less than 10 days. However, the smaller inspection can still be a
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time where invaluable planning, and even some preparatory work, can be performed. Following are some recommendations to help you take advantage of this shortened downtime: •
Getting behind a galley or interior structure is both difficult and time consuming. If these need to be removed during a smaller maintenance inspection, it is worth running some provisional wiring or new coaxial cables behind it in preparation for the future upgrade. Finding space for the new Line Replacement Units (LRU) can be a challenge and many times an existing box must be moved or a shelf fabricated. The minor inspection is a good time for planning and engineering these tasks. As mentioned above, the same issue lies with the remote antennae. Most antennas must be angled to a certain degree requiring new adapter plates to be designed, engineered and fabricated.
Keep in mind that provisional wiring should be supported by an approved electrical drawing. Wires should be properly stamped and coaxial cables should be labeled. For the larger inspections lasting three to six weeks there is ample time to get your connectivity upgrade installed and completed. Just don’t
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assume there is ample time to add a last-minute installation, though. Even these extended inspections have a tremendous amount of work being done each day, and access into the aircraft can be limited. Moreover, not all MRO shops carry extensive scaffolding and man-lifts. It’s not uncommon that these resources must be ordered from a third party, and are not always readily available at the last minute. Modifying the top tail section of an aircraft for a new radome and antenna is labor intensive, and technicians must have a safe and stable environment.
Having the Right Communications
Assuming you have the proposal signed, and the input date on the schedule, it is time to assemble the team that will work together to ensure everything is done, correctly, and on time. The MRO will assign a project manager to the aircraft who is responsible for reading and understanding all the details of the proposal, and they will be the point of contact for the customer. The customer is usually represented by one of the pilots or the Director of Maintenance (DoM). It is imperative that a meeting is held within a day or two of the proposal being signed. The project manager will set up the meeting and they usually have one representative from each shop present to ask and answer questions. As mentioned, lead times and many engineering feats must be completed before the aircraft arrives at the facility, but the MRO will not order the parts until the deposit is received. Based on the price of equipment, the deposit could be anywhere between 25-50% of the total cost. Any delay in paying the deposit adds to the risk the equipment will arrive late. Another key driver is the aircraft wiring diagrams. The MRO will require current and accurate prints. Then, on the day the aircraft arrives at the MRO facility, there will be a debrief with the crew and the DoM. The proposal will be covered again, and the project manager will see if there are any anticipated squawks, or added work requests. Since the crew are the ones who engage with the passengers, they should request a detailed explanation of how the new connectivity system will perform. There are so many performance variables for today’s systems that time needs to be set aside so that passenger expectations are set properly. Finally, a week or so before the aircraft is reunited with its owner is the time to set up the Service Subscriber Agreement (SSA). This document is used to get the system activated for service, and to select a data plan. Ideally, the system will be activated a few days before delivery so it can be properly configured, tested and operated by the crew. Request user guides and contact information from the equipment supplier. And despite the extra expense, you should do a test flight for at least one hour to ensure the 34 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
“...despite the extra expense, you should do a test flight for at least one hour to ensure the system operates properly.” system operates properly. Since connectivity is vital to any flight department, the selection of a new connectivity system in your aircraft should be a collaborative effort between the flight department and the aircraft owner. Everyone is going to be very excited to use the new system. That means proper planning and communication are required from the day of the proposal signing through the delivery date so that everyone is on the same page, and most importantly passenger expectations are correctly set. T www.AVBUYER.com
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AVIONICS.qxp_Finance 26/01/2021 09:14 Page 1
Are You Getting the Best From Your Flight Panel? Getting the best from your flight panel depends on many factors. Ken Elliott demonstrates how owning and operating an aircraft can be a unique experience – and where the avionics are concerned, there truly is no ‘one size fits all’. Here's how to personalize your assessment...
hile one operator may need a slew of upgrades, another may be quite content and fully functional with the same serial-numbered aircraft. Each flight department needs to make its own assessment – and the intent of this article is to provide a tool for you to map out that assessment. Only once you have completely mapped it all out will you know whether or not you have ‘got the best from your flight panel’, or whether an upgrade or retrofit is required during your next shop inspection or overhaul. For this article we refer to ‘drivers’. Drivers are the
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requirements, mandates, needs, desires, cosmetics and improvements that feed into an upgrading decision. But, ultimately, it all comes down to a few main drivers, including: • Budget • Mandated equipment • Where you need to operate • How long you intend to operate the aircraft • What your priorities are, and who sets them • Who travels in the cabin • Whether the aircraft is placed for sale, recently purchased, or an existing ownership. www.AVBUYER.com
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Diving Deeper into Upgrade Drivers
Assuming ‘flight panel’ refers to the aircraft’s cockpit and all the remote equipage it controls, there are several key drivers regarding upgrades. These include: • Resale • Wear and Tear • Obsolescence • Connectivity • Integration • Capability • Extended Capability • Airspace Mandates • General Mandates • Dispatchability • Situations Beyond Aircraft & Operation We’ll take each of these drivers, providing information on their importance and how they fit into the wider decision of making the most of an extended MRO visit. Usually an extended visit will be dictated by your inspection and overhaul cycle. This may include some airframe disassembly, up to and including a complete removal of the interior. Apart from the distinct advantages with respect to cabin management systems, it cannot be stressed enough that the impact of a full interior removal on downtime and cost provides justification to consider any cockpit upgrade, too. The reason for this is that most major upgrades require wire runs, and many require antenna replacements, both of which may depend on at least partial interior access.
What Skews the Upgrade Decision?
Before considering flight deck upgrade drivers, we should also understand that all of them are skewed by ownership and transactional circumstances. This refers to both the ownership and operational state of the aircraft, which are listed here: • One owner not for sale • One owner always ‘for sale’ • Corporate vs Individual owner • Fractional ownership • Chartered • In Pre-buy • Sold and undelivered • Post delivery • New aircraft delivery • Domestic and/or International Operations • Passenger or Freight • Public Utility or Special Missions Each (or a combination) of these can prioritize, rule out, or lessen the impact of the upgrade drivers. If you are new to aircraft transactions and ownership, pay close attention to how you intend to: Operate: Over time, where will you operate the aircraft, how often, and doing what? www.AVBUYER.com
Transact: Do you intend to resell after a planned timeperiod, divest at the end of lease, remove it from charter, etc.
These longer-term tactics will impact budget and corporate decision-making, and will form the background of how a flight department will function, operate and update its aircraft. In fact, your entire attitude to upgrading will be colored by how you plan to operate over time and what your transactional status is at any point along that timeline. Only when you clearly form a long-term strategy of how your aircraft and flight department will evolve and grow (if at all) can you begin to properly address the upgrade drivers.
Breaking Down the Upgrade Drivers
Resale: This driver addresses the areas where it is essential to add a capability (for example, as a condition of the sale). This might include equipage for international operations where before the aircraft only needed to fly domestically. Wear & Tear: As a rule, cockpits do not attract the same visual scrutiny as the cabin or the entry area. However, ‘dressing up’ the flight panel may be a sale differentiator, making a pre-owned model look younger. This could include both cockpit instrument and side panel refurbishment. Wear & Tear involves conditional factors that include: • Appearance without the ‘bolt on’ look • Worn controls • Scratched, fuzzy displays • Dim displays. Obsolescence: So many avionics systems are subject to obsolescence, and manufacturers are careful to provide adequate advance warning to operators – where they can be reached. Obsolescence essentially leads to replacement, rather than a simple upgrade of hardware or software. An example would be of legacy cockpit displays (either analogue or digital). Connectivity: This refers to external connectivity for the flight crew and data services. An example is Air-to-Ground and Satellite internet capability for service provider bi-directional cockpit data. Integration: Referring to the overall impact of adding a capability that requires multiple modifications to accommodate the interaction of data between systems, an example of this driver is ADS-B Out, where the Flight Management System, Transponders and Global Positioning Sensors need to integrate. Capability: Represents a change to the aircraft (avionics in this instance) that enables crucial operations, airspace
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What, ultimately, is driving your need for a flight deck upgrade?
access, or to meet an airworthiness mandate. A good example is Performance Based Navigation changes in order to meet Oceanic Track requirements. Extended Capability: While capability may be essential to afford new operations or aircraft usage, extended capabilities would be considered optional and possibly specific to individual flight department requirements. An example would be Electronic Flight Bags or embedded charts and maps. Airspace Mandates: If you want to fly a specific route or fly a dedicated approach, there will be an airspace operating requirement that, in turn, drives the aircraft equipage. These mandates are all about where and how you can operate. An example is Communication Pilot Datalink Control (CPDLC) as datalink is required to operate Oceanic and certain Continental routes. As a sub-driver relating to airspace mandates, aircraft can be divided into groups, based upon their range capability, as range dictates where and how they may operate. These include: • Short – Across regions and localized states • Medium – Continental • Long-Range – Between adjacent continents, including oceanic • Ultra-Long Range – Anywhere General Mandates: Surveillance is key to safety, and while the actual mandates may change by category of aircraft they tend to be required by most business aircraft, irrespective of the airspace you operate within. Examples include Traffic Collisions Avoidance (TCAS), Terrain Avoidance (TAWS) or Emergency Location (ELT). Dispatchability: What is crucial for one operator may be less so for another because the need to dispatch is more critical. 38 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
Many flight departments have OpsSecs, and these spell out the flight conditions for dispatch. Others base their launch on the importance of the trip, and whether the executives can fly commercially, delay the meeting, or go virtual. As a general rule, the more operators need to stick to schedules, the greater likelihood they will keep the flight panels current. Simply put, just missing one crucial meeting is not worth it, so equip for all eventualities. Situations Beyond Aircraft & Operation: There are many different factors that feed into cockpit upgrade decisions, not least of which is budgetary. Others might be: • Downtime availability • Equipment lead times • Slot availability • Offset of aircraft resale against upgrade cost (viability) • Differentiation between two very similar aircraft currently for sale • Nice to have (because you may want it, as appeals to you) • Environmental considerations • Fuel costs (as when oil prices are high).
What are the Other Cockpit Avionics Considerations?
Selecting where to take the aircraft for MRO is a personal decision. Overriding is whether to use the aircraft Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or a third party MRO shop. Considerations relating to that decision should include: • • • • •
Their familiarity with the primary avionics suite; Any liability infringement of OEM warranty coverage (where applicable) when using a third party; The ability to integrate to an existing avionics suite; Knowledge of, and experience with, the custom aircraft interior; Knowledge of, and experience with, wire routes and equipment locations.
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Some of the factors that can impact the need or timing for a cockpit or system upgrade are: • Updating from an analogue to digital aircraft; • Updating to cockpit flat panels (perhaps due to obsolescence); • The need for an additional display (an option in place of updating all cockpit screens where a third screen can accommodate charts, maps, video or synthetic vision); • Instances of low Mean-Time Between Failure (MTBF); • Instances where MRO visits are more frequent than you’d like; • When it is time to deal with interior wear and tear; • When it is time to repaint the aircraft; • Where conditional factors can influence the upgrade decision, such as: 1) General appearance 2) Worn controls 3) Scratched, fuzzy displays 4) Inability to add a feature or a function 5) Dim displays 6) Database update limits have been reached 7) Software update limits have been reached 8) Integration limitations require new ancillary avionics.
Have you Considered ‘Equipment Bundling’?
A common practice for cockpit and system upgrades is bundling. Apart from the bundling of major aircraft upgrades such as paint, interior, cabin management and avionics, there are – within the cockpit itself – further bundling opportunities to take advantage of. These may include: • Interior & paint • Lighting
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• • • • • • • • • • • • •
Cabin to Cockpit interphone Accommodating pilot personal devices Cockpit displays Cockpit non-flight panel(s) Air Purification (Aviation Clean Air System) Security (cameras, missile defense and cyber) Vision systems Adding OEM Service Bulletins Updating databases (including method of update) Software updates Hardware (improved/additional capability) Access improvements In-flight maintenance tracking and fault diagnosis.
Separately, bundling can occur within the hardware category listed above. Currently popular is: • Enhanced vision systems (EVS), including new generation Head-Up Displays (HUD); • Synthetic vision systems (SVS); • Electronic charts and maps; • Wi-Fi Internet (for the crew); • USB ports (for the crew); • In-flight fault diagnosis; • Avionic suite upgrades (including cockpit displays); • Cockpit display-only upgrade; • Obsolete Laser reference systems; • Datalink via Air-to-Ground, and via Satellite; • Performance Based Navigation (PBN) such as LPV; • Space-based Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast (ADS-B Out); • Adding ADS-B In and flight tracking; • Auto-flight improvements; and • Electronic Flight Bags, including cockpit integration.
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What’s the Suggested Initial Approach for the Upgrade?
Working with your preferred MRO (either OEM or Third Party), is key to selecting and planning a cockpit upgrade. The goal of this article is to help you consider all the factors that go into deciding on the upgrade in the first place. Approaching the MRO, having completed your own background research, prevents misunderstandings and removes the suspicion of whose interest is best served – yours or the MRO. As the owner operator you need to know what to ask, and understand your own operational situation. The MRO does not know your priorities, where you fly, and what you set as dispatch limits. Neither does the MRO does not know your budget, your long-term plans for the aircraft, or the whims of the most senior persons being flown. So, by now you should have reviewed how all the drivers and other provided considerations of an upgrade may pertain to your flight department. You will have seen how different systems can be bundled, and what all the cockpit solutions are for you to consider. From here, the MRO will let you know their recommendations, and different ways they can be accomplished. Hopefully, they will show you how each can impact your downtime and how they will allow for future growth in features and capability. Just as you have priorities and limits, so do MROs – and they will differ, so there is no harm in consulting with more than one MRO provider. For example, talk to the OEM and a Third Party to gather different perspectives and choices. Make sure you ask for all the options available to you. MROs will be very happy if you turn up with the following, when you’re planning and pricing an upgrade: • • • • •
An accurate current equipment list with part numbers Photographs of the cockpit (all of it) Access to digitized wiring diagrams for your aircraft serial number, including all changes since it was delivered new Access to up-to-date service records Interior material specifications
In addition, be proactive and ask them if there are any additional records they may need. When discussing upgrades try to find out how the facility will engineer and certify the work. It could be as straightforward as following a manufacturer’s pre-approved Service Bulletin, or as complicated as custom engineering with a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) requirement, as part of the mix. Sub contracted certification, which is common, is still the
responsibility of the MRO. To an operator, certification should be a behind-the-scenes, seamless operation, if planned correctly. Crucially, find out the real downtime expectations and ask about equipment lead times. Issues with downtime and lead time can truly soil a good MRO relationship. Both of these are hard for MROs to pin down, whereas costing is more predictable. Lastly, be prepared to go into contract and to bring the aircraft back later, maybe more than once or twice. This allows the MRO to order equipment, prepare engineering and plot the certification of the project. And, it allows for provisions to be installed if there are long lead times or anticipated certification delays.
Any cockpit upgrade is all about preparation, planning and MRO engagement early in the process. Consider all your options and measure them against the many considerations in this article. Your flight operations are unique to you. Your long-term plans and priorities are specifically yours and the MRO provider needs to hear that from you, so it can advise what is best. When it comes to resale, for any pre-owned aircraft it is how that aircraft meets the personal needs of the buyer that counts. As you will never know for sure what those are, it is best to keep the aircraft current, not overlooking the cockpit and its interaction with remote systems. T
KEN ELLIOTT has 52 years of aviation experience focused on avionics, in General and Business
Aviation. Having a broad understanding after working in several countries on many aircraft types and avionics systems, he has contributed to several work groups and committees, including for NextGen, Airport Lighting, Human Factors, Unmanned Aircraft and Low Vision Technology. In retirement, he is striving to give back the knowledge gained with an eye on aviation’s future direction.
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TRUST FLIGHT.qxp_Finance 27/01/2021 16:26 Page 1
Electronic Tech Logs & How They Can Improve Your Operation
If you’ve ever glanced into the cockpit before or after a flight, there’s a good chance you’ll have seen one of the flight crew filling out a thick binder of paper forms. These forms make up what’s often referred to as the Aircraft Technical Log, Journey Log or, just the Aircraft Logbook. The digitization of this paper-based process provides many benefits to operators including cost reduction, delay reduction, and the opportunity for greater analytics surrounding aircraft operational performance and reliability. This article will explore how Electronic Tech Logs can achieve this and what steps operators should take to maximize the benefits.
What is an Aircraft Technical Log? The Aircraft Technical Log (‘tech log’) is a process used to record and document the airworthiness status of the aircraft. Principally, the tech log will consist of a form completed on each flight or trip and supporting documentation on maintenance procedures and any deferred defect or damage on the aircraft. The form is used to record aircraft utilization information such as flight times and cycles, alongside information on when the next scheduled maintenance is due, details of any open or deferred defects, and details of the last maintenance release. The tech log is regulated for European operators under EASA Part-M/Part-CAMO regulations, but in other jurisdictions operators will often carry out a
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variation of a similar process. In some cases, these processes may be referred to as the Journey Log or Aircraft Logbook. The forms filled out in the tech log are usually completed on carbonized paper to retain a copy on the aircraft and distribute the others to ground handling agents and the operator’s maintenance management team. As a paper process, this has its challenges, primarily: the risk of induced errors; the time required to process the paperwork; and the delays in the availability of information. Errors in the paperwork are a common occurrence arising in 30-50% of all tech log entries, and these can cause significant risks to operators. Firstly, as the hours and cycles recorded are used to determine when to carry out maintenance, a deviation either way from the correct value can either lead to a shortened, and therefore more expensive, maintenance interval, or the risk of missing a maintenance task and generating safety implications. Additionally, on many aircraft under hourly maintenance programs, the cost of misrepresented aircraft hours can add up quickly. Availability of data also causes challenges for operators. With a paper process, it can take days for details of a defect or a deferred item on an aircraft to be processed, and this can lead to reduced timescales to source parts and the risk of an aircraft left AOG. Recent changes www.AVBUYER.com
introduced due to Covid-19 such as remote working have also created challenges in managing a physical paper process which requires the handling of original copies of paperwork and manual entry into maintenance systems.
Electronic Tech Log An Electronic Tech Log, as the name suggests, is an electronic equivalent of the paper tech log process. Electronic Tech Logs come in many different guises from basic forms through to more sophisticated digital workflow applications such as TrustFlight’s Tech Log these allow operators to not only replace the paper system but also leverage all of the benefits from a digital platform. TrustFlight’s Tech Log is the leading System for business aircraft operators and provides a simple and intuitive app that can be installed on an operator’s existing iPad EFB device. This iPad app provides flight crew and engineers with a work-flow based approach to completing the tech log, with pre-filled data where available, and validation on any entries by the user. This is a different approach to many other systems which take the existing tech log form and just create a digital copy of it on a tablet. In addition to the iPad app, TrustFlight’s system includes a complete management dashboard which allows the operator to view real-time information on their fleet status, open defects as well as managing integrations with popular systems in use throughout the industry such as CAMP.
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Benefits The primary reason operators adopt an Electronic Tech Log is to save cost. This is initially gained through time savings from pilots creating the logs, and technical records clerks who must check and enter the logs into various maintenance tracking and scheduling systems.
Finally, one further benefit of an Electronic Tech Log is with the right system, data can be recorded to a much higher equivalent and with better compliance compared to a paper system. This allows more detailed analytics to be conducted on the aircraft to identify trends on defect reports or items such as delay factors.
With the electronic system, initial entry is quick and data is automatically imported into the various third-party systems. In total, this can save approximately 40 hours of work per aircraft per month.
Also, when it comes to selling an aircraft, being able to instantly provide a complete history of logs will prevent any risk of delays in transactions or difficulties when it comes to financing the asset.
This 40 hour saving greatly reduces the cost of processing tech logs, however, the hidden costs of inaccuracies can be much larger. As an example, a large business aircraft operator found they were overreporting utilization on one of their aircraft by over 20 hours a year, amounting to an extra $20k spent in maintenance program payments unnecessarily. When it comes to managing defects on an aircraft, speed and access to up-to-date information are key. This is an area where the Electronic Tech Log shines as defects can easily be entered in the system at which point all required personnel are notified in real-time, and work can be started to resolve the items - even if the aircraft is in the air. Additionally, being able to rapidly defer items on an aircraft in a quick and compliant manner can help significantly with reducing delays. TrustFlightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tech Log includes a complete digital MEL, which highlights relevant items and guides the user through all the requirements for deferral - an area operators commonly struggle to comply with. 46 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
How to get Started Moving to an Electronic Tech Log can be easier than you may think. TrustFlightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s system is unique in that it can export the identical paperwork that an operator may already have, thereby reducing the amount of training and process changes required. Additionally it is recognised by EASA and meets all major regulatory requirements worldwide allowing for easy acceptance by the relevant authority. The system integrates with many of the common maintenance tracking and scheduling systems in use today, so with a short period of running the Electronic Tech Log alongside the existing paper process, an operator can switch over to the TrustFlight system and see benefits in a matter of weeks. TrustFlight currently has multiple major business aircraft charter operators using the system within Europe, North America and the Middle East, including Flexjet & TAG Aviation. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how we can help your operation. www.AVBUYER.com
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Inside Dassault’s New Spare Parts Distribution Center When Dassault Aviation moved into a giant new spare parts distribution center in Tremblay-en-France, the Falcon Jet OEM signalled to operators that it was really serious about their MRO needs. Rohit Jaggi reports for AvBuyer after a recent visit to the site…
alking around Dassault Aviation’s giant spares distribution center in Tremblayen-France, next to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the main impressions are of order, space – and a seriously formidable stock of parts. Racking towering up to the tall ceilings contain only a proportion of the more than $900m of stock that the company carries for its distinctive two- and three-engined business jets. Even taking into account Covid-19 restrictions on www.AVBUYER.com
the number of people in the facility when I visited in late summer, the 180,000-square-foot (16,500sq.m.) facility projected an air of quiet efficiency. The giant warehouse is one tangible manifestation of the French aircraft OEM’s long-time decision to focus on support services as a way of providing a recognisable benefit to owners and operators – and, in the process, spurring repeat and new sales of aircraft. “The main thing is to support the customer as much as possible,” says Jean Kayanakis, senior
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years.” The idea has been to integrate as much as possible building the product, supporting the product and providing support to customers in the field. And the investment has reaped tangible rewards in customer recognition.
A Substantial Task
vice-president of worldwide customer service and the service center network. To do that, he adds, means “making sure that every piece of the support network is working efficiently. “We have made significant investment in Falcon MRO [maintenance, repair and overhaul] activity by buying different companies over the past couple of 48 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
Dassault’s success in selling aircraft has given the service operation a substantial task. More than 2,100 of the 2,600 Falcons delivered since the first was made in 1965 are still in service, including examples of the 199 aircraft in the initial Falcon 20/200 series. In fact, 32% of those in current service are classic models – the Falcon 10 and Falcon 50/50EX as well as Falcon 20/200. “We still have aircraft in service from the first year of delivery,” says Patrice Kurdijian, Deputy Vice President, Worldwide Falcon Spares. “For any [Falcon] aircraft, we guarantee to provide a part or solution.” The fleet is distributed across 1,300 operators and 90 countries, with 60% of Falcons based in the US, but an increasing proportion in Asia. As all are supported, that means 380,000 parts in the catalogue, and that $916m of inventory is spread across 16 regional distribution centers around the globe, of which Tremblay, opened in 2019, is the flagship. Operated in partnership with Daher, Tremblay replaced a smaller warehouse at the less wellconnected Le Bourget airport. The new building is state-of-the-art, with facilities such as an automated retrieval system for frequent service items. Vertical lift machines and carrier robots combine with a new management system to improve efficiency. www.AVBUYER.com
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Stock at the Paris depot and the 15 other distribution centres dotted strategically around the world, from Reno to Beijing, and Sao Paulo to Sydney, can be called on by command centers in France and the US, and urgent parts for aircraft on the ground are sent out within two hours. When traditional delivery services are not fast enough to minimize aircraft on ground (AOG) time, there is also Falcon Response – two Falcon 900s are available, one in Le Bourget, France, one in Teterboro, USA, to transport parts, technicians and tools. If an issue cannot be resolved immediately, the Falcon 900 can be used to complete the mission – which is an industry first. Dassault has also worked hard on pricing, spending four years rationalising prices of parts – including working with suppliers – to try to match prices with customer expectations and market levels.
MRO Purchase Strategy
A key component of the strategy to provide direct factory involvement in support for Falcons has been the purchase of MRO facilities to supplement service centers operated by Dassault Falcon Service in Europe, and Dassault Aircraft Services in the Americas, and now by offering a worldwide footprint including the Middle East, Africa and Asia. “We decided two or three years ago that it was very important that the OEM was very involved in the MRO business,” says Kayanakis. “It’s not primarily because there is a significant margin – definitely not in Business Aviation – but if you want to develop a strategy of customer service, you have to have the best understanding of the need of the customer.” www.AVBUYER.com
To that end Dassault last year bought the MRO activities of ExecuJet (11 facilities around the world, including in Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa), TAG Aviation (four service centers in Geneva, Farnborough, Le Bourget and Lisbon) and RUAG (Geneva and Lugano). “We want them to be closely involved with
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providing our operators with the best customer experience,” Kayanakis says. And the result? The French aircraft maker came top last year in the well-regarded AIN product support survey, based on responses from business jet operators, pilots and maintainers – the first time Dassault had claimed the top spot. It also came top in the Professional Pilot customer survey, and this year it took the AIN number one position for the second time.
Predictive Maintenance on the Horizon?
Future focuses for Dassault include better monitoring of trends to predict maintenance issues. “The advanced diagnostic capability of the Falcon 6X, for example, may help flight departments and Dassault Customer Service anticipate a maintenance issue arising in a couple of legs’ time,” Kayanakis suggests. “Today we’re very good at understanding what is happening when there is a failure. We want to be better at getting ahead of that.” This is an area that can leverage Dassault’s military experience with its fighter jets, where big data analysis and artificial intelligence are employed to determine trends. There are other areas where skills
ROHIT JAGGI holds airplane and helicopter licenses and frequently conducts flight tests of airplanes and helicopters for print and video. He held a number of news editing and reporting posts with the Financial Times before becoming a freelance writer. Find out more via email@example.com
50 Vol 25 Issue 2 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE
can be shared, for example with the use of drones for inspection tasks, Kayanakis says. The streamlining of processes is evident in the way maintenance and parts for upcoming models have been brought into the operation. For example, the Falcon 6X will enter into service in 'two years from now', but planning for parts and service backup is already far advanced. The spares department was involved early in the design process. This was necessary because, for example, the Falcon 6X has a number of long, complicated pipe runs because they are lighter and less prone to failure than shorter pipe sections joined with unions. But these are less easy to store. The inventory of parts is already being accumulated. At Tremblay, the nerve-center of all this efficiency, the echoing halls bear witness to the room for growth. And a temperature-controlled store devoted solely to tires provides evidence of the need for specialist care. In fact, schedules on the racks noting when each tire must be rotated to avoid damage in storage makes it look more like a wine store than a resting place for aircraft rubber. T More information from www.dassaultfalcon.com
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