MRO Special Industry Guide Vol III

Page 8

MRO.qxp_Finance 25/01/2022 15:23 Page 1


STCs: Understanding the Key to a Successful Upgrade What should aircraft owners understand about Supplemental Type Certificates when planning to modify or upgrade their jets? How should existing STCs be understood and planned around? Dave Higdon provides insights…


hough complex to understand and highly technical in nature, it’s worth aircraft owners and operators taking the time to fully research Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs) to understand their implications for a planned upgrade. STCs are issued by the US Federal Aviation Authority and come in all kinds of flavors – from those covering airframe modifications, to those allowing reconfiguration within the interior, to those allowing the aircraft to employ different performance limitations (such as an increase in gross operating weight). This can also allow a change of powerplant to achieve a longer Time Between Overhaul (TBO), better range or climb specifications, and/or reduced fuel consumption, etc — so there is a wide variety of STCs available. Decoding the language used to promote the STC can be a challenge, since some of the terms are common to other types of work on the airplane, while others are exclusive to a particular STC. Almost universally, however, aircraft STCs exist to correct a deficiency or improve an aspect 8 Vol 26 Issue 2 2022 AVBUYER MAGAZINE

of the aircraft’s performance and/or function, so it’s in the aircraft owner’s interest to learn their language. Understanding an STC’s language is vital to identifying which one is best for achieving the desired goal, whether that’s improved performance, reduced fuel flow, longer TBO periods, or simply saving money when compared to undergoing an engine overhaul. Currently, Blackhawk Aerospace is an industry leader in developing STC packages for Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PT6A-powered turboprop engines, while STCs also exist for Falcon jet engine upgrades, and Beechjet 400As. Such upgrades (and their related STCs) typically include more than a new engine, however, covering cowling, engine trend-monitoring, and new engine gauges. And, at a time when passenger safety is at the forefront of everybody’s mind in relation to Covid19 transmission, Duncan Aviation, together with Dassault Aviation, recently developed STCs and installation packages for the Aviation Clean Air