MRO Special Industry Guide Vol II

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I The Cost vs Benefit Choices of an Overhaul I How to Select the Right Level of Engine Coverage


I Why and How to Cover Older Jet Engines


I Three Signs it’s Time for a New Cabin System

JULY 2021

I What are Your Cockpit Upgrade Priorities? I Cut Refurbishment Costs Without Cutting Quality I How to Refurbish for the Long-Term I Sponsored: Pearl Engine Family - Beautifully Designed, Brilliantly Engineered

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The Pearl Engine Family: Beautifully Designed, Brilliantly Engineered The Pearl Engine Family: Beautifully Designed, Brilliantly Engineered From the beginning in 1958, which was marked by the first flight of a Rolls-Royce Dart-powered business jet, through to the launch of the Pearl engine family, RollsRoyce has followed a pioneering approach to offer its Business Aviation customers extraordinary engine technology and services. Over the last six decades, Rolls-Royce has become the world’s leading engine supplier in Business Aviation, powering some of the largest, fastest and longest-range business jets available. Today, about 3,600 of these aircraft are in service worldwide, helping companies to improve business efficiency, productivity and enabling economic growth. They offer the flexibility and connectivity required in a globalized world; fly heads of states around the globe; support humanitarian efforts; or connect families by making the world a smaller place. Rolls Royce engines enable airframers to offer the perfect combination of speed, range, size, efficiency, and reliability.

Combining Exceptional Design with Innovative Technologies Rolls-Royce aero engines are hugely competitive in today’s market, but to keep pace with ever-changing, global demands, we are constantly innovating and developing a new generation of engines that will power the future of flight. When the company started its Advance2 technology demonstrator program a few years ago, it set itself the goal to develop the most efficient engine core in Business Aviation. This core forms the heart of today’s successful Pearl engine family, and features a suite of innovative technologies aimed at delivering worldclass environmental performance as well as engine maturity from day one. Since its unveiling the new family has established itself as today’s leading engine family in Business Aviation, having been selected to power the latest business jets from Bombardier, Gulfstream, and Dassault.

The Pearl 10X The latest and most powerful member of this engine family is the Pearl 10X, powering Dassault’s brandnew flagship Falcon 10X. The engine features the same Advance2 core as the other Pearl engines and combines it with innovations such as 3D-printed combustor tiles and a blisked fan, resulting in a world-class environmental performance and a superior thrust of more than 18,000lb.

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Compared to Rolls-Royce’s last generation of Business Aviation engines, the BR725, the Pearl 10X is 5% more efficient, while delivering outstanding low noise and emissions performance. The result is an engine that offers a market-leading combination of power and efficiency. This combination will enable customers and operators to have premium airport accessibility and fly ultra-long-range connections whilst also being able to travel nearly as fast as the speed of sound. The engine is being developed at the Rolls-Royce Centre of Excellence for Business Aviation Engines in Dahlewitz, Germany, and is currently undergoing a comprehensive test program, which includes the capability to operate on 100% Sustainable Aviation Fuels.

Technical Capabilities The Pearl engines bring together innovative technologies derived from the Rolls-Royce Advance2 demonstrator program and proven Pearl family features to deliver world-class environmental performance. For the Pearl 10X this includes a highly-efficient blisked fan; a high pressure compressor with a market-leading pressure ratio and six blisked stages; an ultra-low emissions combustor; a two-stage shroudless high pressure turbine, as well as an enhanced four-stage low pressure turbine that is one of the most efficient and compact in the industry. This suite of technologies is housed together within a brand new, ultra-slimline nacelle from Spirit AeroSystems. The Pearl 10X’s new combustion system, which is built on Rolls-Royce’s 3-shaft large-engine experience, is in a class of its own. One of its new key features will be 3D-printed combustor tiles, manufactured in an advanced Additive Layer Manufacturing process. This pioneering technology, which supports the exceptional environmental performance of the engine, has been developed and extensively tested as part of our Advance2 program. The combustion process is so efficient that there are no visible smoke emissions. Alongside the new Advance2 technologies, the Pearl family also builds on the foundations laid by the BR700 engine family that came before it. The BR700 family has seen exceptionally good performance in service and has set the benchmark for the industry. With more than 4,400 engines in service and 28 million flying hours achieved, the engine has a dispatch reliability of 99.97%. 4 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

World-Class Service Support One key argument for a business jet, is its availability. The time of customers flying in these ultra-long-range aircraft is extraordinarily valuable and therefore they expect the best – they’re buying what is commonly referred to as a ‘time machine’. So, it’s very important that when customers want to fly, they can. This is why, with help from our customers, Rolls-Royce designed our market leading CorporateCare Enhanced service. It’s about delivering the very highest levels of service and availability to the customer, which in turn brings peace of mind. The Pearl family supports this with the most advanced Engine Health Monitoring system in Business Aviation, making this the most intelligent engine the Business Aviation sector has ever seen.

IntelligentEngine Featuring the world’s most advanced Engine Health Monitoring system, the Pearl family harnesses its digital capabilities to make intelligent decisions. This is a step-change in ‘on-wing’ engine intelligence, aimed at delivering best-in-class engine availability. The Pearl engine family exemplifies Rolls-Royce’s IntelligentEngine vision of a future where product and service become indistinguishable thanks to these advancements in digital capability. Ultimately, this concept will see engines ‘thinking for themselves’ and eventually be able to ‘self-heal’. As well as a new-generation Engine Health Monitoring system that introduces advanced analytics, the Pearl benefits from the incorporation of advanced remote engine diagnostics and bi-directional communications that allow for easy remote reconfiguration of enginemonitoring features from the ground. It also enables Rolls-Royce to monitor engine control units and ultimately remove components before they cause any operational disruption. These developments ensure that cloud-based analytics and ‘Big Data’ continue to play an everincreasing role in delivering exceptional levels of availability and greater peace of mind for customers. With the digital revolution blurring the boundaries between physical products and services provided, Rolls-Royce envisages a future where engines are connected, contextually aware and even comprehending. A future where engines are designed and tested digitally, being serviced remotely and managed through their digital twin.

More information from

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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. matthew-harris-avbuyer/

Market-Driven MRO Decisions part from the fact keeping on top of your business aircraft’s MRO needs is just good stewardship of a multi-million dollar asset, there are two other particularly compelling reasons owners and operators could be assessing their MRO options. Both relate to the current pre-owned marketplace. With only 6.4% of the world’s fleet of business jets and 5.3% of the turboprop fleet for sale, these are the lowest fleet for sale numbers JETNET has recorded over the past 25 years, according to Rollie Vincent of JETNET iQ — and they are possibly the lowest ever. Buyers scouring the threadbare market will undoubtedly be seizing upon well-maintained jets quickly, possibly retrofitted with newer avionics and technologies than the competition, at prices that are very acceptable to the seller. Tracking 134 business jet and turboprop models, Asset Insight’s Tony Kioussis notes a ‘fleet for sale’ reduction of 19.1% since the beginning of this year (as of the end of May). One of the commonly recurring themes in Asset Insight’s analysis relates to the better inventory having been cherry-picked during the previous month, and the remaining assets for sale “requiring more near-term maintenance events”. Given the market situation, two compelling reasons for operators considering their MRO needs at this time could include: 1. Sellers seeking to better position their aircraft within the market to ensure it becomes one of the ‘cherries’ that are picked sooner rather than later. Such owners could find it makes financial sense to take advantage of that ‘near-term maintenance event’ Asset Insight identifies, simultaneously upgrading electronics, paint, interior, or avionics, as necessary to give their aircraft a leg-up in a market that’s low on newer jets with the newest technologies. 2. Where a lack of inventory fulfilling a buyer’s need exists, they may simply choose to hold on to their current aircraft until the market can offer them richer pickings. In the case of some, they may consider how updates and retrofits could make their existing jets work better for them in the near-term while they wait out the drought.


In this Issue…

So, how can a seller help their aircraft stand above the crowd (or at least compete for buyer attention)? Another recurring theme of Asset Insight’s analysis is that enrolment on an engine maintenance program is a big step in the right direction, reducing maintenance exposure in relation to an aircraft’s asking price. Engines: Within this MRO Industry Guide, Chris Kjelgaard asks a selection of leading lights about the ‘cost versus benefit’ choices

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that operators face when an overhaul is due. As you’ll see, powerplants enrolled on a maintenance program increase the choices and benefits an owner has. But, then there are further decisions to be made, including the right level of coverage. I asked Pratt & Whitney Canada’s Delray Dobbins about some of the things operators should consider when selecting the right coverage level, along with some of the ‘gotchas’ of underestimating the required coverage. And if you own an older jet which hasn’t been enrolled on a program before now, or was removed from a program, is it too late to remedy the problem? Dave Higdon asks EAP's Sean Lynch. With engine maintenance programs more a necessity for owners, what are some of the other ‘wish-list’ items that can be done to boost the profile of a jet? Avionics: The flight panel is a core area for consideration, and an upgrade can increase flight safety, improve efficiency of operations, and reduce pilot workload. Typically, the greater the routine business jet maintenance, the more time will be available to accomplish such upgrades, but an avionics upgrade is no easy process. Ken Elliott shares the optimum ways to proceed with a cockpit upgrade when mixing routine and non-routine work simultaneously. Cabin Electronics: Perhaps you’ve noticed frustration among passengers because of the limited Wi-Fi and entertainment, or a malfunctioning CMS… If you’re keen to keep the jet functioning optimally for the foreseeable future, check out Andre Fodor’s telltale signs for when the cabin’s technology is slipping behind the curve. Refurbishment: Never failing to breathe new life into a jet – whether a refresh for continued company use, or to achieve the look and feel of something much newer when presented for sale – is a cabin refurbishment. Gerrard Cowan gets tips from the experts on how to cut refurbishment costs without compromising on quality, and I caught up with Duncan Aviation’s Nate Klenke to discover how one Gulfstream GIV’s interior looks as fresh now as it did when it was refurbished 14 years ago, and ask how you can maximize the life of your next cabin refurbishment. The AvBuyer team trusts you’ll find this MRO Special Industry Guide useful, packed full of actionable intelligence for making the most of your aircraft’s next MRO shop visit. Enjoy! Matt Harris Commissioning Editor, AvBuyer


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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MRO Special Industry Guide 6 Editor's Note: Market-Driven MRO Decisions

10 The Cost vs Benefit Choices for Engine Overhauls

18 How to Pick the Right Engine Maintenance Coverage

24 Why and How to Cover Older Jet Engines?

30 What are Your Cockpit Upgrade Priorities?

36 Three Signs it’s Time for a New Cabin System?

40 Cut Refurbishment Costs Without Cutting Quality


Sponsored Content 9 16

Rolls-Royce's Pearl Engine Family – Beautifully Designed, Brilliantly Engineered Rolls-Royce – Supporting Modern Time Machines TAE – Understand Maintenance & Pick the Right MRO for Your Business

Don’t forget to read our regular content in the front section of this issue. 8 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

Editorial Contributor (USA Office) Dave Higdon ADVERTISING Steve Champness - Publisher Americas +1 770 769 5872 Ricky Gioconda Account Manager +1 919 434 1364 Lise Margin Account Manager +1 703 818 1024 David Olcott Account Manager +1 802 233 6458 Maria Brabec - Account Manager EMEA & APAC Aircraft & Services Sales +420 604 224 828 STUDIO/PRODUCTION Helen Cavalli / Mark Williams +44 (0) 20 8939 7726 CIRCULATION Sue Brennan +44 (0) 20 8255 4000 Freephone from USA: +1 855 425 7638 AVBUYER.COM Jayne Jackson Emma Davey

How to Refurbish a Jet for the Long-Term


EDITORIAL Commissioning Editor Matthew Harris +44 (0) 20 8939 7722

MANAGING DIRECTOR John Brennan +44 (0) 20 8255 4229 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

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Sponsored Content

Supporting Modern Time Machines The On-Wing Services team, which forms the spearhead of the organization for quick responses and special missions, is a vital part of Rolls Royce’s dedicated global service network. The team is composed of 65 highly qualified technicians, which are strategically placed around the globe. This ensures faster response times and minimizes AOG downtime wherever our customers are in the world.

Business jets are often described by owners as today’s time machines. Time is often at a premium for the influential customers that use the aircraft, so availability and reliability is essential. With more than 3,600 Rolls-Royce powered business jets in service worldwide, the company is the leading engine supplier in Business Aviation. Its top priority is to provide an extraordinary level of service that exceeds its customers’ expectations. More than half of Rolls-Royce’s Business Aviation clients have a fleet of one aircraft, which means they typically do not have a comprehensive department to perform maintenance on the engines themselves. “One key differentiator for Rolls-Royce is that we have a separate and dedicated Business Aviation unit,” says Megha Bhatia, VP Sales & Marketing, Business Aviation. “This unit includes its own services organization purposely set up to assist the distinct needs of our clients, which differ from those in commercial aviation.” It goes without saying that all the moving parts within this services organization – from the Business Aviation Availability Centre, logistics and spare parts to On-Wing services must work like a perfectly tuned machine. Rolls-Royce’s Business Aviation Availability Centre looks after over 8,000 engines in service worldwide, and it operates 24 hours a day, 7 days

a week. All Engine Health Monitoring data is assessed at the Availability Centre and from here the company deploys teams of service engineers, logistics specialists, fleet and maintenance planners and operations specialists to ensure the smooth operation of the worldwide fleet. In the rare case where an issue with the engine prevents the customer from flying, these experts aim to solve a routine issue anywhere in the world in under 24 hours. While there is no problem for predictable, routine tasks, which can be managed at any of our 75 Authorised Service Centres globally, it gets more challenging if a customer needs help in a remote location. Fortunately, Rolls-Royce created the On-Wing Services team to resolve such problems for their unique cliental. These technicians, who rank among the best in their profession, travel to the respective aircraft to perform special and complex maintenance tasks, often to rescue customers from an aircraft-on-ground situation and ensure clients make their next planned flight.

And with Rolls-Royce’s pioneering CorporateCare Enhanced service program these activities are already covered at no additional cost. The program offers substantial financial and operational value to customers, such as increased asset value and liquidity, mitigating maintenance cost risk and protection against unforeseen costs and unscheduled events anywhere in the world. Increased aircraft availability, reduced management burden, full risk transfer, direct priority access to the Rolls-Royce services infrastructure, and remote site assistance are further benefits for the customers. “This outstanding service is recognized by Rolls-Royce customers all over the world. We are really proud of having been ranked number one in AIN’s Product Support Surveys for two consecutive years now. This is really important for us, as the feedback comes directly from our customers. We want to ensure we’re continually striving to better our customers’ experience and exceeding their expectations” Megha adds. More information from

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MRO 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.

The Cost vs Benefit Choices for Engine Overhauls What are the cost versus benefit choices BizAv operators have when the time arrives for them to overhaul their aircraft engines? Chris Kjelgaard investigates…

eciding how — and even if — the engines of a business jet should be overhauled when the life-limited parts are approaching the end of their respective lives is one of the most expensive and complex decisions that Business Aviation operators face. An engine overhaul can also be needed for other reasons, such as when an engine sustains significant damage from ingesting foreign objects during operations, or when it has been inadequately protected and preserved during a long period of storage, on-wing outdoors. In every case, a decision to overhaul an engine completely will require hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of MRO work. How, and even whether, an operator is prepared to pay for that work is a big issue. While operators that have put their engines on


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hourly maintenance plans generally have several cost-benefit choices available when choosing to overhaul, operators without such coverage face some fairly stark choices, says Sean Lynch, Program Coordinator for Engine Assurance Program ( Such operators can choose to put a run-out engine into an MRO shop for overhaul, or they can try to source a replacement engine. A third choice, depending on the remaining market value of the aircraft, is to try to sell the entire jet and its engines — a choice which in some cases will mean receiving only scrap value for the structural materials and any components with cycle-life remaining. Operators choosing to overhaul non-plan engines often will find they have “no wiggle room on price”, and these “cash pay” customers will have to pay full retail prices for their overhauls, according to Lynch.


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And the overhaul costs to cash-pay operators don’t stop at merely the price of the overhaul itself. According to Lynch, while an overhaul on a Honeywell TFE 731-5BR for a Falcon 900 or Hawker 800XP can cost between $550k and $800k, operators must also pay about $12k to have an engine removed and replaced. Additionally, during the four-to-six weeks the overhaul is being performed, operators wishing to continue operating their aircraft will have to pay about $40k to loan a replacement engine, assuming one is available… Many rental engines are reserved for overhauls performed under hourly maintenance plans. Again, mounting and removing the replacement rental engine will cost $12k, meaning the overall cost of a full-retail overhaul on a TFE 731-5BR can be anywhere between $650k and $900k, Lynch notes.


Replacement Engines

Choosing to replace a non-plan engine with one bought on the general market can also present significant difficulties. “Some engine models can be found, some cannot,” Lynch continues. When an operator does find a replacement engine, however, without a very detailed knowledge of the seller or the engine’s operating history, there may be questions over whether it is actually airworthy. Unless an engine stored on wing is run every 30 days (the period required by many engine types’ maintenance manuals) or, when storage begins, it undergoes long-term preservation for no more than two years using techniques and materials in accordance with the maintenance manual, it must be sent for teardown and inspection before being reactivated. Basically, this is a full overhaul in itself, and is

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“pull quote”

necessary for inadequately stored or preserved engines because water beads may have accumulated on the main line bearings, creating corrosive anomalies which can lead to catastrophic failure after their return to operation.

Maintenance Plans Increase the Options

Operators that choose to have their engines covered under hourly maintenance plans — whether offered by the engine’s OEMs or third-party providers — generally have more options available when sending their engines for overhaul. For a start, no matter when an engine needs an overhaul, the cost is covered under the hourly plan. Additionally, in almost all situations (except operator negligence), the plan-provider assumes the financial risk should the overhaul cost more than expected. Depending on the reason for engine removal the shop visit requirements will be very much guided by the engine manual and the Engine Management Plan (EMP), according to Andrew Robinson, Senior Vice President of Services and Customer Support for Rolls-Royce ( “Operators with our hourly plan coverage will have all of this covered by Rolls-Royce and the visits can be anything from a performance-restoration shop visit to a check-and-repair, which are particularly useful if an engine has been on-wing and one or more of its modules has triggered its ‘soft time’ limit”, Robinson explains. ‘Soft time’, measured in flight hours, is a concept Rolls-Royce uses to determine when each individual module in an engine needs to be refurbished. Modules which operate at higher operating 12 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

temperatures, such as the high-pressure turbine module, have shorter soft-times than do modules which operate at cooler temperatures, such as the fan and compressor modules. This concept allows operators to remove only parts of engines for refurbishment and replacement, reducing the overall maintenance cost. Operators can also choose to repair or replace engine parts – either with all-new parts, or with used serviceable parts. Choosing the latter should imply a lower overall price for the overhaul. Indeed, operators intending to fly their aircraft for only a few years following the overhaul can find this particularly useful.


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When do Overhauls Makes Sense?

“A lot depends on the [operator’s maintenance] budget, and its plans for the engine going forward,” Robinson suggests. “Many decisions are based on the life-cycle of the aircraft and on the owner’s intent. “A lot of risk is involved” in owning and operating a Bizav aircraft engine. “The best way to de-risk is to be on a program,” he adds. An overhaul to give a relatively young aircraft another 10 years of engine life may well make more sense to an operator than overhauling a 30-year-old engine powering a 30-year-old aircraft to provide it with 10 more years of operating life.


However, Rolls-Royce does have customers for its CorporateCare plans who are happy to continue covering the engines of their 30-year-old Gulfstreams for many more years of life. The decision of how and whether to overhaul an engine “is very much dependent on where the aircraft is in its lifecycle, and also the size of the aircraft and its value,” says Robinson. “If you have good engines straight out of the shop, the value of the aircraft is higher.” Operators subscribing to hourly plans such as CorporateCare and CorporateCare Enhanced, or Pratt & Whitney Canada’s various Eagle Service Plans have access to rental engines to mount on their aircraft during engine overhauls.

Other Factors Affecting Overhaul Decisions

In addition to deciding whether and when to overhaul their aircraft engines, operators must choose where to overhaul them. “Factors that can influence where an operator would go to have their engines overhauled include service turnaround time,” says Satheeshkumar Kumarasingam, Vice President of Customer Service for Pratt & Whitney Canada (, “along with whether a rental engine is available for customers to use, and the overall cost of the overhaul. “Depending on the usage and maturity of the engine, operators will need to determine whether an overhaul would be too costly to perform.” According to Kumarasingam, Pratt & Whitney Canada believes if the overhaul cost is expected to be over 80% of a new engine exchange price, the operator should consider replacing the engine with a new one.

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“...operators will need to determine whether an overhaul would be too costly to perform.” “This can be the case when significant life limited parts (LLP) need to be replaced or the engine has suffered from the impact of corrosion from operating in a harsh environment,” he says. “A new engine is a great way to refresh the aircraft and benefit from future lower maintenance costs thanks to a new warranty.” Kumarasingam suggests this option is probably best for operators with several years of planned ownership or usage ahead. If the customer does decide to have its engine overhauled, then the main choice it faces is where it should have its engine serviced. They can also choose to swap an engine nearing or reaching its overhaul visit for a brand-new engine — a transaction which requires the operator to make an additional payment to the engine OEM to cover the price difference between the run-out engine and the new one. Like Rolls-Royce, P&WC operates a large and advanced MRO network globally for the engines it has built. Meanwhile, EAP (and other third-party providers such as JSSI) use only the highest-quality MRO shops to perform overhauls for the engine types their plans cover.

In Summary…

Ultimately, the two key factors in determining whether an engine should be sent for overhaul is the market value of the aircraft (including the engines’ residual value), and whether or not the engines are covered

SATHEESHKUMAR KUMARASINGAM Vice President of Customer Service for Pratt & Whitney Canada

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under an hourly maintenance plan. “As you get to the level where an aircraft is worth less than $4m-$5m, what you end up seeing is that more and more of those aircraft end up getting scrapped because the engines are not on engine programs,” says Lynch. Aircraft with engines not enrolled on a maintenance program, that are due overhaul, might only realize $200,000-$300,000 when sold for parting out. At that point, “it’s truly a salvage deal.” If the market value of an older business jet falls to about $1.5m but it has good engines, Lynch says the question changes. “Are you going to part the aircraft out, or are you going to spend the $1.5 million to overhaul the engines?” If the engines are covered under an hourly program, then the overhaul is worthwhile since the cost is already paid for. If they’re not covered, it’s a demarcation point. “Ultimately, the best thing for an older aircraft is to put it on an appropriately-priced engine program,” Lynch concludes. T



Program Coordinator at Engine Assurance Program

Senior Vice President of Services and Customer Support for Rolls-Royce


For a high-quality TFE731 engine maintenance program, 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 to see if your engines qualify. ROUTINE INSPECTION



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MSP and MSP Gold data from published Honeywell sources. TFE731 engines covered by EAP power the following aircraft: Astra 1125/SP, SPX; Citation III, VI, VII; Falcon 10, 20-5, 50, 50-4, 50EX, 900B/C, 900EX/LX; Gulfstream G100, G150; Hawker 700, 800A/XP, 850XP; and Lear 31, 35, 40/XR, 45/XR, 55.

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Understanding Maintenance & Picking the Right MRO for Your Business


ost the COVID pandemic, it’s critical for operators to keep up their maintenance schedules and chose an engine and component MRO who is ready to fly with you as the skies re-open. With more than 30 years’ engineering and turbine engine experience, TAE Aerospace is perfectly positioned to assist aircraft operators across the globe with a broad range of engine maintenance services, as well as component servicing and parts supply. Adhering to engine maintenance intervals keeps an engine running efficiently during operating seasons by ensuring consistent engine performance. It also reduces the likelihood of an AOG event and can lower the cost at a scheduled maintenance interval. Performing scheduled routine maintenance is a critical factor in keeping your engine healthy and minimizing maintenance costs – even with the reduced flying hours many operators are experiencing during the pandemic. Authorized by numerous OEMs, including Honeywell, Woodward and GE, TAE Aerospace not only offers its full engine MRO capability, but also a wide range of aircraft parts and engine components, from new to overhauled or exchange. We are also known for our heavy and light maintenance, scheduled and unscheduled engine and component repair for the Pratt and Whitney PT6A. With one of the industry’s largest inventory of engine parts and accessories, TAE will either have a required part in stock, or be able to access it via its global supply network.

“It means we deliver faster and more cost-effective turnarounds, reduced downtime and over-the-phone service that combine to deliver an excellent customer experience. “We also pride ourselves in understanding the industries in which our customers operate, whether its agriculture, tourism, skydiving, firefighting or transport. It means we can often anticipate customer needs as they arise.” Why choose TAE Aerospace as your preferred engine and component MRO? Fixed Wing Partner with the world’s largest TPE331 engine service provider for quality maintenance, repairs and training across engines, LRU components, fuel controls and engine component machining. Our expertise also covers the PT6A and H80 engines. Rotary Wing When you choose us for Honeywell authorized FCU and PTG repair and overhaul services, you get the highest industry standards and peace of mind. We’ve worked on the M250, LTS101 and PT6T engines for more than 30 years as a dual AWARS and triple licensee for fuel systems. Air Platforms Support your military gas-turbine engine with our worldleading repair, overhaul and test capability services for F404/F414, TPE331 and F135 engines. Our aerospace engine services help defense forces to reduce asset maintenance costs and increase time-on-wing.

The company also offers one of the largest field service networks in the industry and can dispatch technicians to service your aircraft in any location - 24/7.

Land Platforms You can rely on our proven repair, overhaul and test services for AGT1500 engines, along with our innovative HUMS solution. We’ve delivered turn-key engine solutions for the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank since 2014 and we also provide fire protection services for a range of military ground vehicles.

According to CEO Andrew Sanderson, TAE Aerospace has been trusted by aircraft operators in both the commercial and defense sectors around the world for more than three decades. “We have a very successful model which offers a combination of OEM authorizations, parts supply, engine rentals, on-theground technical support, unique repair capabilities and other innovations that have seen us grow rapidly across the globe,” Mr Sanderson explains.

Overall We offer a cost-effective range of solutions such as our Power by the Hour program, which is an agreement where an operator will pay a fee per fight hour to better manage and understand their costs. There are also fixed cost maintenance agreements, so regardless of whether you manage a large fleet or are a single aircraft operator, we have a solution to suit your budget, without compromising our standards.

Talk to one of our global sales team on how we can be your MRO partner:

TAE July.qxp_Layout 1 23/06/2021 12:15 Page 1

We keep Pratt & Whitney’s PT6A operators around the world flying From field service to overhaul, we provide a complete service for your PT6A engine.

TAE Aerospace MRO services include:

The PT6A is a versatile and dependable engine, designed for demanding applications. Our experienced team specialises in the overhaul, Hot Section Inspection (HSI) and repair for Pratt & Whitney’s PT6A engine.

• Hot Section Inspections and repairs

Operators around the world are supported with on-call field service, 24/7 technical assistance and our OEM correlated 2,500 HP dynamometer test cell for pre- and post-maintenance testing. We’re committed to providing you with the best engine performance and customer experience. Contact Tomas on +420 725 908 515 or email to find out more about why customers rely on us for everything PT6A.

• Complete engine overhauls • Ability to fit PMA/DER parts for additional savings • “Zero Grind” CT vane and CT wheel assemblies to save on wing grinding post hot section repair

• Engine performance restoration

• NDT services – Magnetic particle – Fluorescent penetrant – Eddy current

• On-site hot section repairs

• Engine rigging

• Insurance repairs

• Rotatives balancing

• Corrosion repairs

• Fuel nozzle clean and test

• In-house overhaul of PT6A fuel control units – Honeywell and Woodward

• Large spares support

• Gearbox inspections and repairs • Compressor repairs and refurbishment

• Service bulletin incorporation

• Unscheduled repairs – foreign object damage (FOD) repairs – oil system contamination inspections – lightning strike inspections – abnormal deceleration inspection (prop strike)

• Complete after-hours/AOG technical and spares support

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How to Pick the Right Engine Maintenance Coverage There are choices for aircraft operators to make to ensure they reap the full benefits offered by engine maintenance programs. Matt Harris asks Delray Dobbins how Pratt & Whitney Canada operators can choose the right level of ESP coverage…

he advantages of hourly engine maintenance programs for aircraft are widely known, and work more-or-less the same way across several offerings that are provided by all of the major aircraft engine manufacturers today, and a handful of third-party providers. An operator pays a fixed fee – usually per flight hour – to their program provider. That money accrues in an account, so that when a substantial engine maintenance expense is incurred, the program pays out, covering the cost. Much of the unpredictability surrounding the costs of engine maintenance is removed, giving the aircraft owner more peace of mind. “Programs like Pratt & Whitney’s Eagle Service Plan (ESP) keep owners flying,” explains Delray Dobbins, Senior Manager, ESP Sales & Global Strategy, Pratt & Whitney Canada. “While an aircraft engine is being


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maintained in one of our owned or designated service facilities, we arrange for the lease of an engine for that aircraft, keeping it operational for its owner.” Dobbins says this is what distinguishes an engine maintenance program from warranty coverage on a new aircraft – in fact, he says, ESP enrolment is even attractive for owners alongside their warranty coverage.

Coverage Levels: Know the Difference

Yet, there’s much more for an aircraft owner or operator to understand than the basic advantages of engine programs per se. Most program providers offer a range of coverage levels, each being designed for owners with slightly different needs. Traditionally, Pratt & Whitney ESP came with four levels – Silver, Silver Lite, Gold and Gold Lite – but, having listened to customers, the company simplified


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its coverage, today offering two main levels. ESP Gold and Platinum is offered to new customers, though the company continues to honour those who signed up to the Silver or Silver Lite coverage previously. “We found that you don’t really need more than two coverage levels,” Dobbins explains. “Our data showed customers didn’t really want more than this, and the trend is definitely for customers today to want more of a turnkey solution for their engine needs. And that’s what we are evolving our coverage levels to provide.” Nevertheless, it’s still important for owners and operators to understand the differences. “Engine programs generally represent millions of dollars of investment for an aircraft owner over the lifecycle of the program,” Dobbins adds. “When a customer pays that level of money, there is


an emotional component – and that could turn out badly if the customer hasn’t understood exactly what is or isn’t covered when they need the program to pay out for a maintenance event.”

How to Pick the Right Coverage

The first question when choosing the right coverage is how long you expect to own the aircraft. “There are endless analogies between aircraft ownership and real estate,” Dobbins illustrates. “If you’re buying a house, are you planning to live there for 20 years, or sell in five?” This is pertinent for aircraft owners, because there are two primary values to engine maintenance programs. Either they will provide a fixed cost for a shop visit, or they will help protect the aircraft’s value if the owner sells before the next overhaul. “When you are looking to buy the right engine

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program coverage, which event will come first?”, Dobbins asks. The majority of owners will sell the aircraft before the overhaul is due, in which case protecting the aircraft’s value becomes the initial focus of selecting coverage. “Aircraft appraisers and banks use ESP Gold as the standard. ESP Gold helps owners realize the full value of their asset,” he explains. While from an appraisals point-of-view, EPS Platinum may not appear to add a great deal of value on top of Gold, Dobbins shares an example of where it made a tremendous difference to one aircraft owner. “We recently saw the sale of a Mid-Size Jet collapse because the pre-buy inspection found evidence of corrosion in the engine.” Corrosion found in a prepurchase inspection is not covered on ESP Gold, but it is covered on ESP Platinum. Failure to realize this can come as an expensive shock to operators. “Had the engines of that jet been enrolled on Platinum, the corrosion would have been covered – but because it wasn’t, the buyer went elsewhere.”

Geography Plays a Part

That failed pre-purchase inspection highlights the first of two fairly common ‘gotchas’ for aircraft owners. “If you operate in Miami, for example (a saline environment), you’re going to want corrosion coverage as part of your program package,” Dobbins continues. “Geography should be a part of your coverage-level decision.” While an aircraft owner in Miami may plan on selling their aircraft long before the overhaul is due, the above pre-purchase inspection example shows how corrosion can affect an aircraft far sooner than expected. Operators who do choose corrosion coverage are still responsible to maintain their engines according to 20 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE


manuals, Dobbins warns. “You can’t expect to leave an aircraft dormant on the ramp for three years, and then, when corrosion is discovered, expect the program provider to pay out. “The aircraft owner/operator is required to look after their powerplants just as they would without corrosion coverage.” Another geographic consideration relates to the ‘Aircraft on Ground’ (AOG) element. “In the US, there’s likely to be an FBO around the corner,” Dobbins notes. “So if the aircraft has an unexpected maintenance issue and can’t fly, service is never likely to be more than a half-day away.” But for operators flying to, or within more remote regions where maintenance help could be days away, AOG support becomes more important. “That’s the difference between ESP Gold and ESP Silver,” Dobbins explains. Although Silver coverage is no longer offered to new ESP customers, existing Silver-enrolled customers should think about their coverage choice in relation to their region of operation. “The owner-pilot customers without a dedicated director of maintenance, or owners traveling to, or based in remote regions would be better served with turnkey ESP Gold coverage than Silver,” Dobbins adds, “and they can always opt to upgrade if they purchased the aircraft with a lower level of desired coverage.”

The Second ‘Gotcha’

The second ‘gotcha’ that Dobbins highlights relates to Life Limited Parts (LLPs). “When an engine goes through an overhaul, the LLPs are not reset to zero hours – their limit is fixed.” That means buyers of older, or higher-time aircraft


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ESP Coverage Game-Changer for the Turboprop Market

(perhaps one formerly flown in a Fractional Ownership program) need to be careful about the level of coverage they select. Some cover LLPs, some don’t. “The Life Limited Parts could be nearing their limit at 10-, 12-, or 13,000 cycles,” Dobbins elaborates. “When they reach their limit, if the owner hasn’t selected the right level of ESP coverage, they will find that while the overhaul cost is covered, the cost of LLP replacement isn’t – which could result in a bill of as much as $1.5m per engine. “It would hardly be worth going to overhaul for that,” he adds. Dobbins says older aircraft in the $1m-$4m price-range (usually aged 20 and above) are more susceptible to the LLP ‘gotcha’, but he also expresses concern about a lack of consistency in identifying the problem within the industry. “Appraisers might see that an aircraft is enrolled on ESP Gold or ESP Gold Lite, and assume it is fine. They might not see the difference and apply the same value to the aircraft. But it is a big deal,” he warns.

DEIRAY DOBBINS leads sales and global strategy for Pratt &Whitney Canada’s Eagle Service Plan (ESP) maintenance program with a focus on the corporate jetsegment. He works closely with business jet customers, industry influencers, and other key stakeholders to enhance P&WC’s ESP offerings. During his 30 years in Business Aviation, Delray has held key positions with engine OEMs as well as on the broker side of the industry.

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“ESP Gold Lite doesn’t cover LLPs, whereas ESP Gold does. As a result, aircraft buyers may end up overpaying for an airplane.” “This is where an experienced aircraft broker can provide value,” Dobbins suggests. “They will have spent their whole career in the industry, and will be able to help you avoid an LLP ‘gotcha’. Find a good broker and stick with them.”

In Summary

There is clearly good reason for the different levels of coverage offered by the leading engine maintenance program providers. But while they’re tailored to help ensure operators don’t spend more than they need on coverage, cost should never be the driving factor in your coverage choice. To justify the peace of mind your engine maintenance program affords you, your coverage must be selected with a thorough understanding of what is offered, and how your specific operating needs apply to this. T

Traditionally, there has been a much higher uptake in engine maintenance programs from the business jet world than among turboprop owners. However, with the new PT6 ESeries engine recently coming into service on the Pilatus PC-12 NGX, Pratt & Whitney can offer one level of comprehensive coverage at a guaranteed price, which becomes very attractive for owners and operators. So far 70-80% of new Pilatus PC12 NGX operators have enrolled on the newly-created all-in ESP Platinum coverage that includes lease engine replacement, coverage for foreign object damage, and proactive services. “PC-12 NGX operators enrolled on ESP Platinum for the PT6 E Series benefit from at least a 15% reduction in hourly engine operating costs compared to the cost of coverage for the PT6Apowered PC-12 NG aircraft,” Delray Dobbins, Senior Manager, ESP Sales & Global Strategy, explains. This step change in value is enabled by the engine design resulting in longer up-time, as well as latest technology allowing engine monitoring and data analytics. “We believe we’ve introduced the right program, with the right coverage level, and that has brought some drastic changes to the level of buy-in from this ownership group.”

More information from

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. matthew-harris-avbuyer/




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Why and How to Cover Older Jet Engines With Business Aviation operators frequently warned that delaying enrollment on an engine maintenance program can be more costly than any savings realized in the short term, is there ever a point when it’s simply too late for operators of older jets to enroll? Dave Higdon explores... or operators of older jets with age-related issues, there are engine maintenance programs available to them. For example, Engine Assurance Program offers competitive coverage and rates for engines powering many older jets, including Falcon 50s and Falcon 900Bs, Citation Xs, and Hawker jet models. For operators flying on these and other models with older engines, coverage is “a very salient subject,” says Sean Lynch, EAP's Program Coordinator, “and one with significant financial impact.” He notes how he routinely sees operators removing their Falcon 50s and 900s, Citation Xs, Hawkers, and other types from the programs they were enrolled with. But according to Lynch, dropping coverage on even an older aircraft’s engines is not, in the long-term, a financially savvy move.


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“In the short-term, those operators save thousands by dropping their coverage,” Lynch explains. “But it’s a short-term gain with a long-term penalty. When the engine is not on a program there’s a loss in equity that the sellers can't pass on to the next buyer. “The aircraft loses residual value on resale [as a result of not having engine coverage],” Lynch continued. “So it really doesn’t save the operator money, it costs them.” All of this assumes the owner’s aircraft survives long enough to be sold on. “When these engines get taken off of an engine program, within four to six years those engines (and most likely the airframes, too), will get parted out because it no longer makes sense to spend money on maintaining them.” Indeed, the financial benefits of enrolling in and staying on an engine-maintenance program can be extensive, with the costs of maintenance remaining more


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predictable, and an older jet holding a market-edge or at least having parity where the majority of the other model fleet are also enrolled with programs.

Beware of Finance Issues

According to Lynch, “banks love engine programs.” Therefore, if the aircraft is financed, “the operator has to be careful.” Dropping the engine coverage could go against the terms of the loan or financial agreement, he warns. Moreover, the lack of coverage by one of the recognized vendors in engine-maintenance programs can make it difficult to finance an older jet at resale. “Brokers and dealers call us very often with this problem,” Lynch adds. “Usually the seller left another program, and the broker calls us to help resolve the problem.”


But getting an older jet enrolled after a gap in coverage can be problematic, Lynch shares. “It really depends on the status of the engine – how much time remains before the next engine-shop visit, and the status of the life-limited components.”

Programmed for Competitiveness

For owners and operators who are new to Business Aviation, the used aircraft arena can be something of a minefield, and some of the attractive aircraft available for sale come with hidden issues. These include Airworthiness Directives (ADs), such as the one on the Honeywell TFE 731-5 powering Hawkers and Falcons. “The deal has to make sense for the customer,” Lynch continues. “If the aircraft they buy is already enrolled on a program, and they don’t have much time remaining before the next overhaul, we recommend they stay on it.

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“...dropping coverage on even an older aircraft’s engines is not, in the long-term, a financially savvy move.”

Otherwise, we’d require a buy-in.” As for aircraft whose engines lack engine maintenance program coverage, “we’re very competitive,” Lynch says.

The Price of Delay

Lynch and others warn that those expecting big savings by delaying enrollment in a program are usually destined for disappointment. “I’ve never seen anybody save money by delaying enrollment,” he observes, pointing to the costs of an unexpected maintenance event, and a $30,000$100,000 monthly engine rental fee, another $15,000 per engine for R&R – not to mention the cost of correcting the problem.

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

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Don’t forego this valuable type of protection. “It’s pay now, or pay more later,” Lynch stresses. If an operator wants to protect the investment they’ve made in a business aircraft, the engine-maintenance program is as much a necessity as liability and hull insurance for the aircraft. Going without such an engine-maintenance program offers little more than a short-term cash boost while exposing you to the risk of an unexpected engine problem overwhelming the short-term savings gained by delaying or canceling such engine protection. If you’re not already on a program, make some calls and learn what options are available for your aircraft. T More information from





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MRO 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.

What are Your Cockpit Upgrade Priorities? Typically, the greater the routine business jet maintenance, the more time will be available to accomplish a cockpit upgrade. While this may seem obvious, it is not a simple process to figure out. Ken Elliott shares his expertise…

ver the following paragraphs, we will consider the optimum ways to proceed with a cockpit upgrade, mixing routine and non-routine work at the same time. When it comes to aviation, there is both scheduled and unscheduled maintenance. One has distinct predictability and the other does not. The more unscheduled work is added to routine scheduled tasking, the harder it becomes to ensure an ‘on-time delivery’. Routine work is mostly inspection-related, and is broken out as ‘due items’. The due items emerge out of maintenance tracking, typically via a Maintenance Management Program (MMP), providing owners and operators with fixed recommended time windows to address action items as they become due.


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Routine inspections and overhauls are based on hours flown or cycles of operation (Times and Cycles), thus ensuring relative predictability. On the other hand, non-routine work is mostly unscheduled, and may require immediate attention. When flight departments plan their schedules, they plan around relative predictability and rarely make room to squeeze in additional repairs or modifications such as a cockpit upgrade. It is for this reason that most upgrades will need to be accomplished along with a major inspection (a C-check, for example), where complex parallel effort can then occur. In contrast, trying to add any aircraft upgrade to a relatively minor annual or 100-hour inspection is risky for many reasons.


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Cockpit Avionics Upgrades

In general, upgrades can apply to several aircraft ‘zones’, with the cockpit being one of them. Others are the cabin, airframe, wings (winglets), engines, APU and accessories. It helps to first know the priority that needs to be placed on an upgrade, by knowing the type of requirement, or the purpose behind the effort. Table A (above) lists four drivers of an upgrade requirement. There is a subtle difference between a mandated and an operational requirement. For example, an Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) is a mostly universal requirement, while you only need FANS 1/A+ to operate across oceanic and remote tracks. So, while


most internationally-flown aircraft did schedule for an ELT installation, domestically-operated aircraft typically took a pass on FANS equipage. Obsolescence is a tricky requirement for operators to follow because manufacturers tend to be reluctant to admit when they are struggling to support legacy products. Despite that, look out for Service Letters and notices from both the systems and aircraft manufacturers. It is not uncommon to have notification about service difficulties years in advance. Many operators will then hold off or look for alternative support solutions. There have been cases where it is more efficient to replace complete systems with a differentlybranded third party product.

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A Garmin G1000 flight panel installation in progress at Stevens Aerospace

Table B (below) outlines the most popular cockpit upgrades. You should assume these may apply to many different corporate aircraft; will differ in actual equipage; and could include wiring, equipment, antennas and other accessory items, placed external to the cockpit. Along with the upgrade, Table B lists the requirement type and one reason to proceed. In some cases, there are several reasons you would want to consider an upgrade. For some aircraft, an upgrade may be specifically necessary, where for others it may not be. Also keep in mind some aircraft are

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already provisioned for upgrades, while others need additional equipment, such as antennas. Understand that every model of aircraft is different, and while you may spot the same manufacturer’s avionics suite in several different models of aircraft, they will each have their own unique branded product (including by part number and version of software).

Aircraft Maintenance in General

Business aircraft manufacturers follow official guidance for continued airworthiness. Referencing that, they proceed to create their own inspection programs, based on the age, airframe

flight hours, and cycles of engine and other major components, such as landing gear. In general, the inspections conducted at Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) shops, are large enough for owners to consider other tasks. Mostly, these will be non-routine or unscheduled. Table C (overleaf) outlines some of the unscheduled tasks undertaken on business aircraft, on an ‘on-condition’, or event basis. Many of these unscheduled tasks cannot be forecasted and, in some cases, parts availability, scheduling, and other factors can result in extended, unplanned downtime. Because of that it is always a good idea to have additional modification work, such as a cockpit upgrade, at least partially mapped out in advance. For instance, imagine if an aircraft is scheduled for a major inspection in the fourth quarter, but unexpectedly a major incident (bird or lightning strike) with resulting damage occurs in the first quarter. If the original plan was to include a significant cockpit upgrade during the later visit, and if there is partial planning in place, it is possible for some of the upgrade to be accomplished during the unplanned downtime. This would be helpful where the modification downtime is similar to, or less than, that required for the unscheduled repairs. It is not so much the inspections as the repairs that determine the downtime for unplanned MRO visits. In fact, many unscheduled inspections can be completed by Mobile Repair Teams (MRTs), at the owner’s/operator’s hangar. This will be followed by a ferry flight to the MRO


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for anything major to be accomplished. Equally, it is possible to include postponed repair work during a major inspection. For example, if the aircraft’s Minimum Equipment List (MEL/MMEL) permits, the aircraft can fly with certain systems disabled until the next inspection.

Consolidating Scheduled Activity with a Cockpit Upgrade

In this instance, a cockpit upgrade is considered a non-routine activity, even though it may have been scheduled in advance. This is an important distinction to make because routine activity has assigned man-hours and downtime, pre-determined and identified on individual work or task cards. Those same cards do not exist for upgrades. There is one exception, in the instance of factory Service Bulletins and aircraft service changes that are issued for upgrading cockpit systems. Typically, the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) of a system (i.e. Collins Aerospace, Honeywell Aerospace, Garmin or Universal Avionics Systems), will introduce an avionics suite, including cockpit displays and controls as an initial version for a new type of aircraft, or post modification. In cooperation with the aircraft OEM, the avionics supplier will later issue major changes, improvements and advancements, through an aircraft OEM’s branded program. These may be addressed via the factory bulletin process, but are substantially a cockpit upgrade. Another important element of cockpit modifications is how integrated the modern cockpit can be. Think of

advanced avionics being modular and proprietary. This is crucial to the overall consolidation of work tasks because further integration becomes less of a hurdle for factory-authorized upgrades. It is, on the other hand, more restrictive to third-party alteration. Eventually, when open architecture, migrates into cockpit avionics, it will be to the relief of owners and third-party MROs alike, enabling more competition and choice. A simple rule of thumb for an indication of the complexity to be expected for a major cockpit upgrade is to see how many instruments and displays are situated in the cockpit

panels. If you poke your head into an unmodified Dassault Falcon 50 and then look in a Falcon 7X cockpit, the difference will be obvious. You may also conclude that the expected routine and non-routine maintenance on the Falcon 50 will be greater than on the Falcon 7X, aligning the increase in routine manhours and downtime with the additional effort required for a major cockpit upgrade. A good example of a complex variant is the recently mandated cockpit upgrade of ADS-B Out. For many newer aircraft (where some were provisioned), the work involved a minor service bulletin, software and/or

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hardware upgrades. For many legacy aircraft, special Supplemental Type Certificates (eased by Approved Model Lists – AMLs) were required. This, in turn, dictated aircraft interiors to be accessed, wiring to be routed, and antennas and equipment to be added.

Timing is Everything!

Every industry has been impacted by Covid-19 and the planet-wide chip shortage. There has rarely been a similar period where delivery of parts, products, and services has been so unpredictable and subject to delays. Before scheduling anything, check availability of the product. Try to rely on availability dates that fall ahead of aircraft input at the MRO shop, as opposed to guaranteed delivery prior to the aircraft ‘out’ date. Add cushion days to any work scope, especially unscheduled or nonroutine tasks. That includes previously quoted downtimes for a cockpit upgrade. As a rule of thumb, treat the ‘task-time’ relationship, between routine inspection and repair work, and all non-routine effort, as an exponential impact. To understand impact, as the number of separately quoted items in a cockpit upgrade increases, there will need to be additional effort. This includes greater access, time spent on wire routing, and personnel, working in the same space at the same time. Try to picture your aircraft in a hangar for a 30-day major inspection, without other work underway. Then envisage a similar situation with the addition of sheet metal mechanics and wiring technicians scrambling to complete a cockpit upgrade at the same time. 34 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

Furthermore, consider the additional impact of an interior re-rag or replacement, along with new external paint, or the addition of winglets. These are huge buckets of time with tasks to juggle within a fixed downtime window. Plan everything carefully, using creative planning tools such as Gantt charts. Bundling activities can save on overall downtime (where each task is treated independently), but you do not want to overdo it. Attempting downtime consolidation for several non-routine operations can quickly stretch to overtake the sum of several MRO trips, to accomplish the same work-scope. An approved quote for a cockpit upgrade should include manhours and downtime. However, standard quotes are often adapted from templates that do not consider the impact of combining the quoted upgrade with other major tasks. The manhours may stay the same, but the downtime will extend. This occurs because you can only accomplish some tasks when you have access, or when the aircraft can be powered, taken off jacks, moved out of the paint shop, and so on. In practice, both man hours and downtime will increase, because the dynamics of the overall shop visit will differ, as you parallel and combine effort, within a condensed period.

In Summary…

Routine maintenance is well understood and therefore predictable. Non-routine, unscheduled work is mostly unpredictable, including repairs resulting from routine inspections. Because cockpit upgrades are often combined with routine inspections, their quoted hours may fall short of what they turn out to be. This is a result of combining different trades in the same tight spaces, during the same downtime. Product delivery is crucial to coordinating shop visits. So is the scheduling of any off-site effort. The decision for selecting and completing each of the available cockpit upgrades during routine maintenance is based on its complexity, requirement, and product availability. If downtime is limited, look at provisioning, as opposed to full implementation. When planning for, and scheduling, a routine major inspection consider all the options open to you. Take the time to evaluate the sensibility of simultaneously upgrading the interior, paint, avionics, engines, winglets and more. After all, this could be a one-time opportunity to execute an efficient aircraft maintenance and upgrade event, where both you and the MRO shop may benefit. T

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MRO ANDRE FODOR With a focused approach on global excellence and creativity, Andre Fodor has managed flight operations for the U.N. and Flight Options as well as being a senior demonstration pilot and instructor for Embraer Aircraft. He is the Aviation Director for his current employer.

Three Signs it’s Time for a New Cabin System Are you sure your cabin electronics system is doing what it should? If you have a period of maintenance downtime due for your business jet, Andre Fodor shares three tell-tale signs that it could be time to add a cabin electronics upgrade to the MRO work…

ou would usually bet your bottom dollar the principal’s kids would be thrilled to fly in the corporate jet on vacation. Leaving the wintry, gloomy weather behind, sun and fun aboard a chartered yacht awaited at their Caribbean destination. Instead of smiling faces, though, our principal was met with the opposite… The older jet was equipped with Swift BroadBand (SBB). Nearly twenty years ago, SBB was at the top of the technological-tree in Business Aviation, providing connectivity worldwide at very high costs, per megabyte. Two decades later it still has some value, especially for the exchange of short text messages during an Atlantic crossing. But today, with multiple data-hungry, high-bandwidth devices simultaneously connected, SBB can’t handle the data stream, slowing drastically (if it works at all). Now, SBB is virtually obsolete having been replaced in modern aircraft by Ka- and Ku-band satellite systems.


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The principal’s kids and wife were frustrated with the older set-up. They are accustomed to, and dependent on, high-speed connectivity to stay in touch with their friends, access social media, and shop online. Without a system able to cater for those needs, they felt trapped inside a flying tube for the duration of the flight. Adding to their frustration, our older entertainment system only provided limited distraction from their boredom, with one DVD player and low resolution screens. Of course, for flight departments today there will be early tell-tale signs that the business jet’s cabin systems are becoming obsolete. In this case those signs were two unhappy kids, and a frustrated spouse. With over eighteen years of my career spent in fractional ownership management, I’ve learned several valuable lessons. Experience has taught me that beyond unhappy children and spouses, there


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are other indicators that act as early warning signs that it’s time to upgrade your cabin systems. Here are three of them:

1) Lack of Product Support

Technologies have life spans. There comes a time when the supply of electronic and mechanical components becomes depleted, and there is no longer the financial incentive for the original equipment manufacturer to continue making replacement parts. The technical expertise relating to a specific platform, including how to repair and maintain it, will start to dwindle as manufacturers and MRO centers turn their focus to newer, more popular technologies. The chances of finding yourself in a situation where a system is no longer repairable, with a high cost of replacement, could be a sobering reality. It’s important to read the signs early. If support is starting to dwindle, and expertise is becoming more difficult


to source, these signs should trigger a planning process for the eventual replacement of your current system, timed to coincide with the next major inspection or overhaul.

2) Loss of Revenue

It’s a well-known fact that charter and fractional ownership customers are becoming more sophisticated in their transportation needs. If your aircraft is available for charter when you are not using it, you may be aware that inadequate internet is a deal-breaker for many prospective customers. If you have seen a reduction in charter revenue recently, this could be a sign that it’s time to assess the cabin’s connectivity and/or entertainment systems. Before customers commit to a charter contract, they tend to ask if the aircraft is equipped with highspeed internet, streaming applications, high-definition screens and other technologies. They

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“Before customers commit to a charter contract, they tend to ask if the aircraft is equipped with high-speed internet...” will potentially pay more for aircraft equipped with these operational enhancements. Moreover, to help avoid the expensive streaming of movies, consider having an extensive onboard movie library (as offered by Gogo Business Aviation or Collins Aerospace) that can be accessed easily through the CMS or passenger’s PEDs. These will provide a rich source of entertainment without the need to expensively stream it via the WiFi.

3) Loss of Productivity

The entrepreneur and business professional uses the business jet to maximize their time. Travel time between destinations, even when it’s only for leisure, is well spent when a cabin is properly lit, equipped and connected. Airplanes should essentially offer an extension of the amenities its passengers can enjoy in the office, at home, and even within their cars. Transferability of comforts into the cabin of your jet should not be a pleasant surprise, but more of an expectation. If a period of downtime for an inspection or overhaul is approaching, ask yourself – and your passengers – whether those expectations are being met. If not, then you may have an early warning sign that it’s time to plan an upgrade into the downtime.

The Importance of Balance

As airplanes get older, there becomes a balance between the jet’s residual value and the cost of a possible upgrade to its cabin electronics. Moreover, although our primary focus is the cabin electronics, 38 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

it would be short-sighted to discard the cockpit avionics systems and other airframe needs. A wise way to measure the value of a cabin electronics upgrade would be to assess how long your principal plans to keep the airplane before selling it. If you are able to translate that into years (or, better still, estimated flight hours based on the average number of hours annually flown by the jet), you will have a good basis to estimate the cost of the upgrade, and how you will depreciate the cost. Consider any ‘soft’ benefits that might help balance these costs. For example, the installation of a Ka- or Ku-band system might bring tangible benefits to the passengers, who may be able to conduct meetings, or trade stocks while flying. Try to place an hourly value on this, and use it to offset the installation costs. Because of the high price to upgrade, and the downtime involved, consider what else needs doing during the timeframe. Is it time to refurbish the cabin now that the interior is being removed? Could the aircraft benefit from fresh paint? When upgrading, the sky is the limit, but take plenty of time to research, discuss and understand what your choices are, and how they will integrate into the jet. After all, you’re bringing valuable lifestyle upgrades to the passengers, translating into more aircraft usage and longevity of operation. That’s good news for us all. Just keep an eye out for the early signs, allowing yourself plenty of time to be proactive in the upgrade, rather than reactive when the complaints start pouring in that the antiquated cabin electronics are “on the blink” again. T

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Cut Refurbishment Costs Without Cutting Quality Is an upcoming MRO event presenting an opportunity to refurbish your business jet’s cabin? What are the industry’s tips on cutting the cost of refurbishment without compromising quality? Gerrard Cowan asks the experts.

abin refurbishments cover everything from carpets to cabinetry, with a wide range of options available depending on requirements. While the precise package will naturally differ by customer, industry experts point to a number of approaches to cutting costs, based on clearly discerning between ‘need’ and ‘want’. The most important requirement at the outset, as with any major project, is “to have a very clear understanding of what you want to do”, says Thomas Chatfield, CEO of Camber Aviation Management ( This involves an assessment of the aircraft’s current condition, before developing a clear vision of operator needs for the future. This can be a challenging task. Many owners develop a sense that their aircraft’s cabin needs to be refurbished as a result of uncomfortable seating, for example, but they aren’t clear on how precisely to go about it, according to Chatfield. It is therefore vital to seek a range of external advice, including refurbishment specialists and designers. Such conversations can have surprising effects, according to Chatfield. For example, the experts might advise that an aircraft is actually too large or too small for the anticipated


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need, or that some of the seating should be removed to make room for a bedroom (in the case of larger jets, including Businessliners). This ”fact-finding” process will cover a range of practical considerations that the operator may not have considered – for example, the amount of storage needed for baggage or coats. It will even consider whether passengers plan to wear shoes on board, which can impact the choice of flooring.

Knowing Where to be Careful

While customers “can save money all over the place, there are some things that you should be careful of”, Chatfield advises. For example, the type of leather used to make driving gloves might appear highly appealing, “but it’s not made to be sat on; it’s going to stretch, it’s going to get all kinds of folds”. A more durable, supple leather could actually be cheaper “and retain its beautiful finish much longer”, he adds. Such considerations will also be driven by the nature of the aircraft’s role. For example, “if you’re a charter operator, don’t go putting silk carpets in your plane”, Chatfield says, since these will quickly become worn. Instead, opt for an attractive, well-designed wool carpet, which is more durable, and much easier to clean. He also


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recommends operators should consider acquiring a second carpet at the same time as the first, having it trimmed and fitted before placing it in storage. This means that if one of the sections needs to be replaced for cleaning, for example, it can be done quickly, minimizing potential downtime and revenue loss.

Have a Firm Budget in Mind

Because every customer has a different goal in mind for their refurbishment, as well as differing missions for their aircraft, it can be challenging to point to specific ways of reducing costs, explains Meghan Welch, director of paint and interior sales at Elliott Aviation ( However, all customers should have a firm budget in mind from the outset, she says, before working with a specialist like Elliott to define more precise cost-cutting measures. Welch says it can often pay to adopt an ‘a la carte’ approach, where the refurbishment center works closely with the jet owner or operator “to pick and prioritize what they want to accomplish”. For example, it could be cost-effective in the long-run to opt for LED lighting, as this can cut down on upkeep costs. And such decisions will be impacted by any plans to sell the

aircraft on. If a cabin is being refurbished with an eye to its resale value, it could be worth opting for paint schemes and furnishings with the widest possible appeal, rather than unique designs, Welch explained.

Refinish Instead of Replace

Brian Thomas, director of aircraft refurbishment at Executive Aircraft Interiors (, says the biggest way to save on cost is to refinish, rather than replace, in both leather and cabinetry. For example, owners could opt for leather refinishing instead of leather reupholstery, “giving the appearance of a like-new seat and extending the life of the seat by a year or more, depending on the aircraft’s usage”. Likewise, wood can be refinished instead of replacing the veneer, which is more expensive. “Many times, we can refinish the woodwork, and even change the tone of the wood to give it a completely different look without reveneering the cabinetry, saving time and money,” Thomas shares. Aircraft carpet is notoriously expensive, he adds, but ‘stock’ carpets could be a good option, rather than a custom carpet. This can reduce the lead-time, while such stock carpets “have improved greatly over the years”.

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Camber aviation management provides a

wide range of business jet refurbishment and Completion solutions. (photo Courtesy of unique airCraft)

“High-quality design doesn’t have to equate to high expense...”

Overall, though, the biggest way for an owner or operator to save money is to work with a specialist interior company, he argues.

Planning, Planning and Planning

According to Nate Klenke, Completions and Modifications Sales Manager at Duncan Aviation (, there is a number of approaches that operators can take to minimize the cost of cabin refurbishments, though “the top three

photo Courtesy of dunCan aviation

GERRARD COWAN is a freelance journalist who focuses on aerospace, defense and finance. He can be found on Twitter @GerrardCowan

42 Vol 25 Issue 7 2021 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

are planning and planning, followed by planning”. Given the lead time on parts and materials and the time needed to complete any required engineering for modifications or new system installations, operators must think about the scope of the work and plan well in advance to maximize efficiencies, minimize the cost of aircraft downtime, and ensure a detailed plan is in place. Klenke also suggests that operators

and their refurbishment partners gather pre-project aircraft survey data and measurements, allowing for work on certain interior components to begin before an aircraft arrives for the refurbishment. Overall, working with an experienced MRO facility with expertise in integrating design requests with FAA/EASA requirements, along with well-established relationships with the aircraft OEM and other key attributes, is vital, he adds. Klenke encourages clients to ensure they are purchasing high-quality materials. While this may cost more up-front, “the reward in longevity, appearance, and passenger experience that cannot be replicated with lesser-quality materials”, which can cost more in the long run when maintenance, repair and early replacement are factored. Overall, Klenke emphasized the importance of working with a professional designer early in the process. While there could be some minor changes down the track, the bulk of the design work will be complete, making it much easier to meet critical production milestones. “High-quality design doesn’t have to equate to high expense,” he concludes.

make more informed refurbishment deCisions with

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MRO 7 JULY21.qxp_Finance 22/06/2021 14:51 Page 2 NATE KLENKE


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. matthew-harris-avbuyer/

Duncan Aviation Modifications & Design Sales Manager, has more than 25 years of knowledge and experience in design, aircraft paint, interior completions and modifications, and fabrication.

How to Refurbish a Jet for the Long-Term Did you hear about the Gulfstream GIV refurbishment that looks as good today as it did 14 years ago? Duncan Aviation’s Nate Klenke walks Matt Harris through the cabin sharing this aircraft's story, and offers tips to extend the life of your own jet’s paint and interior…


ack in 2007, a Gulfstream GIV arrived at Duncan Aviation’s refurbishment facility for new paint and a cabin make-over. While the results were stunning at the time – the aircraft was due to go on Static Display at that year’s NBAA Convention in Atlanta – few could have envisaged the work looking quite as fresh as it does 14 years later. Though Nate Klenke, Sales Manager for Modifications at Duncan Aviation, spoke with AvBuyer for around 30 minutes, he assures us he could easily spend a couple more hours discussing the refurbishment, which he says has been one of the most memorable projects he has worked on, largely

due to the aircraft ownership and management team involved in creating the vision for such an outstanding project. At that time, Klenke was working on the design team for Duncan Aviation and recalls some of the initial challenges that needed to be overcome to ensure a successful result. “Original designs for the exterior paint included a faded pattern, but working with fades can be a challenge and add extra cost to the long-term maintenance,” he explains. Instead, a paint scheme far more personalized to the aircraft was devised, and its Registration Number proved to be the solution. “We came up with the idea

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to take the registration number of the airplane, incorporating it into a complex series of stripes through continuous thinning of the font to create the illusion of a fade without the inherent challenges of a true colorchanging fade. “This method, combined with the darker base-color, provided a solution that met the intent of the original concept,” Klenke says.

Inspired by a Bracelet

Meanwhile, the highly creative exterior was matched with an interior inspired by the Cartier Love bracelet. For this, Duncan Aviation worked with Connecticut-based designer Havilande Whitcomb, founder of Aviation Aesthetics, who remained involved in the project from start to finish. “Havilande collaborated with Duncan Aviation designers to pick the majority of the materials, to ensure they met aviation regulations,” Klenke recalls. And while some parts of the old interior were reused, many of the elements were replaced entirely. “We used a combination of twotone veneer on the cabinets and partitions with highlights of carbon fiber and plated metal inlay across the entire length of the aircraft interior.” The lower side-wall covering was made up from 90 shagreen skins, which posed their own challenge in their raw state. “Each hide inherently came to us

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with irregular shapes and holes where the eyes once were that needed to be considered as we planned for the application. “We had to cut the stingray hides into a shape we could use efficiently to cover the interior panel,” Klenke explains, “but not with traditional tools, such as scissors, because of the bony cartilage present in the hides. “Our solution was to use our water jet. Who would have guessed water – the life substance of the creature that supplied the hides – would be the solution used to transform its beauty into the timeless finish for the interior of this aircraft.” Once cut, Duncan Aviation technicians took all of the skins, laid them out, and ordered them in color gradation with the intent to provide a coordinated appearance throughout the cabin. The effort was well worthwhile, for its visual appeal and also its durability. “Over the years,” Klenke notes, “the sidewalls have held up remarkably well against the regular traffic aircraft interiors are exposed to.” Another challenge that turned into an opportunity lay in the PSU grab-rail design. The design included carbon graphite grab rails to coordinate with



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the carbon graphite details for the drink-rails and cabin tables. The tubes that were commercially available at the time were only available in 42-inch lengths, so, “we created ‘couplers’ and a series of plated details, strategically located in each section of the cabin, inspired by the bracelet,” Klenke notes. “This both enhanced the design and accommodated the restrictions of the parts available.” Elsewhere in the cabin, customized cup holders with integrated monitor receptacles were fabricated, and a customized lift was created for the TV located on the credenza, so it could be raised or lowered and hidden from sight when not in use. This mechanism represented an industry-first in an airplane interior, and includes an integrated lid.

Cabin Walk-Around

The net effect of the refurbishment was, and still is, dazzling. Passengers entering the airplane move through the entrance, past a forward lavatory that was also installed during the refurbishment, and into the main cabin area. At the front of the cabin, a four place VIP club-seating arrangement




showcases the selection of customized leather used for the cabin make-over. Moving further down the cabin, a mid-cabin divan sporting a durable light blue mohair-covered divan is positioned on the left, opposite two facing seats to the right. And towards the rear of the cabin, the credenza faces a conference grouping of seats arranged in a club-four configuration. An aft galley and lavatory complete the cabin layout. For Klenke, the stand-out feature of the project was the opportunity it gave Duncan Aviation to explore new machining capabilities to create the various elements. “The use of materials was not typical,” he reflects. “The Cartier bracelet concept, creating customized couplers, the credenza top, the new technology and equipment – these were things we hadn’t been able to do easily before.” “The details and design we created as a team brought the entire design together,” Klenke says. “It’s the only one like it in the world.”

Standing the Test of Time


To achieve the standard that was ultimately required by the Gulfstream GIV’s owner, Klenke says that working with an independent designer was a huge benefit. “It exposed us to some great idea-sharing.” The end result has been described as ‘timeless’. If truth be told, an aircraft

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whether you’re refurbishing your home or the business jet, the principle is the same: Don’t base your choices on what’s hot now – just focus on making good selections.”

Refurbishing With Durability in Mind…

interior lasting 14 years in such good condition is almost unheard of, so it’s rare to find an example that has stood the test of time in this condition. Yet, Klenke shares some important factors for aircraft owners to consider when they’re refurbishing with the longerterm in mind. “Havilande understands trends relating to material selections; what stands the test of time, what will likely remain on-trend, or what could go out of fashion. In terms of the timelessness of this jet’s cabin, maybe we got a little lucky – but we have got to give Havilande credit for understanding trends with her material selections.” While the aircraft owner can always expect to have a big say in the materials and colors used in their jet’s cabin refurbishment, Klenke points to this particular cabin as a good example of not getting carried away. “Fortunately, Cartier bracelets extend through time,” he smiles. “Most importantly, the details we used on this Gulfstream GIV were not based around trends of the time, but on good design principles, and understanding the owner’s expectations,” he adds. “Just look at some of the homerefurbishment choices – will white cabinets still be fashionable in luxury kitchens ten or fifteen years from now, or will we see a return to oak panelling? It’s hard to predict – but

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While defining a refurbishment’s longevity is subjective, bearing some relation to how the aircraft is used and how many passengers are travelling on board, for example, there are elements to this project that have definitely contributed to the interior looking as good as it does today. “This Gulfstream GIV has seen some limited charter use, so it’s seen a fair amount of flying time over the years,” Klenke shares. “This is where ownership and care of an aircraft is important. Keep it clean. Do regular adjustments to seating where you see the leather stretching.” Material quality is also really important. “You may think you can save money through a lesser-grade product, but the finish may stretch, or rub off more quickly,” he warns. “Use quality materials, spend a little bit more in the shorter-term to help with the longevity of your cabin refurbishment.”



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You can also work with your MRO shop to help ensure the interior can be more easily removed during future inspections (for example, here the GIV’s PSUs are designed with components that help align the panels for a perfect fit yet articulate to allow the pieces to be removed for access easily to minimize damage. “If an interior is difficult to remove then you’re likely to see more wearand-tear on the various pieces over time, and you won’t get longevity out of your interior,” Klenke warns.

How to Extend the Life of Your Cabin Interior

However good the workmanship and materials are, though, the interior of this Gulfstream GIV also demonstrates the consistently excellent care and diligence of its owner. For operators wanting to maximize the life of a new cabin refurbishment, Klenke offers these five practical tips: 1) Clean and condition the cabin after every flight. 2) Hangar the aircraft. If your jet is sitting on a ramp for long periods of time, exposed to the elements, it will wear harder than a jet kept in a hangar.






Close the window shades when not in use to help prevent ultraviolet rays from spoiling the cabin’s fabrics and materials, causing discoloration and fading. Consider having a spare carpet – especially where the aircraft will be made available for charter. With spare carpets, you can swap one with the other while you properly clean them regularly. Keep short accounts. If a thread comes loose on a seat, address it before it becomes a bigger problem. If a seat covering is stretching and becomes baggy, have it adjusted before it develops a fold, creating more permanent damage to the finish and necessitating more costly repairs or potentially an entirely new cover.

“Think of what your yard would look like if you did nothing to maintain the beauty after the sod was first placed,” Klenke summarizes. “The beauty of the lawn is the result of repeated watering, fertilizing and mowing. “Think of what your yard would look like without routine maintenance. “The paint and interior on your aircraft is no different,” he concludes. T


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