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A fuel saving revolution?

The rise of electric taxiing

The leading international magazine for the manufacturing and MRO sectors of commercial aviation
Boeing 737 family
Selecting an MRO
software solution
Wiring systems
and aircraft safety
Monitoring the
health of engines
August - September 2013 Issue 125
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Jason Holland:
Hannah Davies:
Alex Derber, Bernard Fitzsimons, Chris Kjelgaard,
Nick Rice
Phil Hine:
Alan Samuel:
Front cover: the WheelTug electric taxiing
system is tested.
August - September 2013 Issue: 125
4. A round-up of the latest news,
contracts, products and people
14. In my opinion: Frank Stevens, director
of engineering, Republic Airways Holdings
A look at engineering strategies, market trends
and future outlook.
20. Aviation focus: Europe
MRO recovery in Europe remains slow, but the
global nature of the business means companies
are still winning contracts across the world. A
number of challenges remain, while consolida-
tion continues to shape the future market
42. Aircraft primers
Here, Hannah Davies talks to four primer
manufacturers and one MRO company to ex-
plore product development and application
48. Engine health and efficiency
Engine OEMs, MROs and independent spe-
cialists alike are working to refine their ability
to interpret engine operating data and proac-
tively address potential problems, reports
Bernard Fitzsimons.
30. Electric taxiing
The expensive, time-consuming and noisy
process of taxiing commercial aircraft to and from
runways is about to see a revolution and the
new business of electric taxiing will see a David-
and-Goliath competitive match-up. Chris Kjel
gaard reports.
36. Accelerating new technologies
A new applied research centre in Virginia is fos-
tering breakthroughs in surface engineering
and manufacturing systems and speeding
developments into manufacturing, says James
Whitton, Chromalloy program manager for the
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufac-
86. FAA AD biweekly summary listings
78. Maintenance software systems
With a number of airlines and MRO companies
requiring MRO software for the first time or
needing to upgrade to a new system, the com-
mercial aviation maintenance software sector is
currently a growth area. But what are the most
important factors to consider when making this
choice? Jason Holland investigates.
54. Rotable repairs
The component maintenance market has un-
dergone significant change, as scores of serv-
iceable parts are recovered from aircraft retired
at ever-younger ages, and independent repair
stations begin to brush up against component
manufacturers that also want a slice of the af-
60. Boeing 737 maintenance
Boeings 737 is an integral part of the aviation
industry and a popular aircraft type for both
MROs and operators. Hannah Davies looks at
maintenance procedures and issues, future de-
mand and the OEMs GoldCare programme.
68. Wired for safety
The integrity of any aircrafts wiring system is
vital for safe flying. Once overlooked with tragic
consequences, wiring harnesses and connectors
now receive the crucial attention and mainte-
nance they warrant, says Nick Rice.
74. CF34 maintenance
The CF34 MRO market is in a state of flux as
the more than 20-year-old CF34-3 approaches
its twilight years. Alex Derber reports.
Michael A Oakes Jason Holland Hannah Davies Alex Derber Sam Orrin
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4 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
TAP Maintenance and Engineering
Brazil has received Embraer Author-
ized Service Centre status, following
certification from the European Avia-
tion Safety Agency for all mainte-
nance levels on all Embraer E-Jets
Rockwell Collins has achieved Federal
Aviation Administration certification
for its next-generation Traffic Alert
and Collision Avoidance (TCAS II) traf-
fic computer TTR-2100 system.
TIMCO Aerosystems has been issued
an air agency certificate for its North
Carolina facilities, allowing it to oper-
ate as an approved repair station with
a limited accessory rating by the Fed-
eral Aviation Administration.
Inmarsat announced the first flight
of a Chinese airliner equipped with
passenger Wi-Fi, having supplied
SwiftBroadband to Air China via a
local distributor, MCN. The flight
took place on July 3, 2013, using an
A330 flying from Beijing to
Bombardier Aerospace opened a new
regional support office and parts
depot in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The company said the office and
depot would anchor regional support
capabilities for Bombardier business
and commercial aircraft customers in
GA Telesis commenced the dismantle-
ment of three Boeing aircraft: one
777-200ER (Trent 800) formerly of
Malaysia Airlines; one 767-200ER
(CF6-80A) formerly of American Air-
lines; and one 757-200 (PW2000) for-
merly of United Airlines.
US Airways installed Gogo Wi-Fi on its
fleet of 270 A319, A320, A321 and
E-190 aircraft, along with 58 E-170
and E-175 aircraft operated by Repub-
lic Airlines as US Airways Express.
Lufthansa Technik Budapest in-
creased its operational area by leas-
ing a further 2,000m
of warehouse
space from Budapest Airport, which
will help the MRO cope with the in-
creasing business demand in the
Terrafugia has unveiled the Transition, a vehicle
that is a road-worthy car one minute and a private
jet the next.
The Transition flew its first public demonstration
in August at the EAA AirVenture convention at
Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The crossbreed vehicle, which
runs on premium unleaded automotive gasoline,
uses a steering wheel, gas and brake pedals on the
ground and rudder pedals in flight. The same en-
gine powers both the propeller in flight and the rear
wheels while on the ground.
At a cost of $279,000 the first customers will be flying (or driving) theirs as early as 2015. The
company also unveiled a second offering, the TF-X, a 200 mph hybrid electric flying car with a
range of 500 miles. Its folding wings carry twin 600hp electric motors pods, which extend for-
ward after takeoff and fold back down for cruise flight. During the cruise, the electric motors
and a 300hp engine take over.
Its small enough to fit in a garage and unlike the Tran-
sition, can take off from a vertical position.
According to Terrafugia, operating a TF-X would be
safer than driving a modern car. But, if anything un-
toward does happen, the vehicle is equipped with its
own parachute and it can automatically land itself at
the nearest airport or even non-approved landing
While Terrafugia admitted that there are many technical, regulatory, and usage challenges it has
to overcome, it believes the hybrid vehicles could deliver significant economic benefits, time
savings and reduce congestion.
It said that during initial discussions, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had shown a
willingness to consider innovative technologies and regulatory solutions that are in the public
Photos from
For better health, it pays to
see a specialist.
Boeing Airplane Health Management (AHM) provides comprehensive monitoring and analysis of airplane performance to
ensure efcient maintenance operations. Utilizing advanced analytics, AHM software anticipates and detects component failure,
immediately alerting Maintenance, Operations and executive functions and recommending fact-based solutions. The result is a
healthy eet that spends less time on the ground and more time in the air. AHM, designed for the digital airline.
6 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
AJW completed the part-out of an
A319 purchased from Latin American
airline Avianca. The 850 parts recov-
ered have already been certified and
added to AJWs inventory reserves
for sale, exchange and loan.
Sims Metal Management sold its in-
terest in Metal Management Aero-
space to ELG Utica Alloys.
Indonesian MRO PT Garuda Mainte-
nance Facility (GMF) AeroAsia re-
ceived European Aviation Safety
Agency (EASA) approval. GMF is now
certified by EASA as an aircraft main-
tenance training organisation is in
compliance with the requirements of
Section A of Annex IV (Part 147) of
Regulation No 2042/2003.
US-based Parametric Technology ac-
quired Israeli company Enigma for an
undisclosed amount. Enigma devel-
ops maintenance management soft-
ware for a number of industries
including aviation, while Parametrics
software focuses on the design, de-
velopment and production of engi-
neering products.
AJW Technique has been granted Di-
rectorate General of Civil Aviation
(DGCA) Type Certificate Approval by
the DGCA Indonesia, coming three
months after the opening of its com-
ponent repair and overhaul facility in
United Airlines fitted one of its 737-
800 aircraft with the new split scimitar
winglet, taking its maiden test flight
on July 16 in Everett, Washington.
Werner Aero Services began a tear
down of one of its A319 aircraft,
which was last operated by TAM; the
teardown process takes place in Ari-
zona and was expected to be com-
pleted in August.
Meggitt Sensing Systems and KDP
Electronic Systems have confirmed a
new distribution relationship; KDP
will now act as the UK distributor for
the Meggitt Sensorex product line.
Smart4Aviation Group has opened its
new subsidiary, Smart4Aviation Flight
GA Telesis has acquired a Bombardier Q400 inventory of new overhauled, serviceable rotable
and expendable material with a value of $15m, which is available for immediate purchase. All of
the components have been warehoused at GA Telesis Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US distribution
centre. GA Telesis is now also capable of supporting spare engine needs of Q400 operators. The
OEM has been doing a great job at supporting airlines operating the Q400 platform. It is our
intention to supplement their component programmes, by providing this additive support so-
lution, said Paul Lochab, SVP of global sales.
Airbus and RT-Biotekhprom (Rostec Group) have signed a co-operation agreement to launch
an analysis of Russian feedstock, to evaluate the development and commercialisation of sus-
tainable fuels in aviation. The partnership is aimed at assessing suitable feedstocks to comply
with ecological, economic and social sustainability criteria; the study aims to complete a full
sustainability analysis by Q4 2014. The project will help us to improve the understanding of
aviation biofuels commercialisation in Russia, identify the opportunities and challenges, and
evaluate the possibility of social, economic, market and technology change and its cost, obstacles
and challenges, said Sergey Kraevoj, general director, RT-Biotekhprom.
Airbus and VSMPO-AVISMA have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a strategic
collaboration, covering the development, processing and recycling of titanium material utilised
for all Airbus aircraft programmes. This agreement is a new milestone in our cooperation it
is not only support of Airbus production needs, but also joint development of advanced mate-
rials, alloys and processes for the current and potential projects of Airbus, said Mikhail Vo-
evodin, president and CEO of VSMPO-AVISMA.
Rockwell Collins is to purchase Arinc from The Carlyle Group for $1.39bn. The acquisition is in-
tended to enhance Rockwell Collins aviation information management solutions by adding
Arincs groundbased navigational networks and services.
It marks a further shift from government contracts to the commercial sector for Rockwell Collins,
with commercial work now representing 54 per cent of the companys business. The shift has
been largely necessitated by cutbacks in US defence spending.
Strategically, this acquisition is a natural fit for Rockwell Collins, commented CEO and presi-
dent Kelly Ortberg. It accelerates our strategy to develop comprehensive information manage-
ment solutions by building on our existing information-enabled products and systems and
Arincs groundbased networks and services to further expand our opportunities beyond the
The acquisition brings Rockwell Collins out of the cockpit, and extends its reach significantly,
with Arinc broadly touching the entire aviation eco-system, including pilots, operators, main-
tenance, passengers, controllers, regulators, security, and airport operations, according to the
companies. Ortberg, who only became CEO on August 1, added that he expected Rockwell
Collins to benefit from greater earnings consistency throughout the commercial aviation busi-
ness cycle.
For its part, Arinc believes the marriage of the two companies offerings will give customers a
unique new service. Rockwell Collins expertise in managing information on-board the aircraft,
coupled with our innovative and reliable air to ground communications services, will be instru-
mental in providing new integrated information management solutions for our customers, ex-
plained chairman and CEO John Belcher.
The definitive agreement is still dependent upon receipt of regulatory approvals and other cus-
tomary conditions, but at $1.39bn represents the largest aerospace deal in the US so far in 2013.
At MTU Maintenance, we believe in streamlined, cost-effective results. We are the worlds
largest independent engine service provider, combining the benets of state-of-the-art
technologies, decades of expertise, customized maintenance solutions and process
excellence. MTUs extensive MRO portfolio now also includes the GE90 Growth. Dedicated
to support you.
MTU Maintaining
your power
ll r


Etihad Airways has signed an agree-
ment with International Aero Engines
(IAE) to upgrade its current and fu-
ture fleet of 35 V2500 engine-pow-
ered A320 aircraft to V2500
SelectTwo engine standard.
GA Innovation China, the joint venture
between GA Telesis and Air China,
began its first commercial aircraft
teardown project involving a 747-400
aircraft acquired from Air China.
MRO provider Aeroman has started
operations with the Airbus Managed
Inventory (AMI) service. The company
has implemented AMI an auto-
mated system that replenishes high-
usage and non-repairable Airbus parts
into its supply chain process.
Lufthansa Technik Logistik Services
(LTLS) is to take over responsibility for
SuperJet Internationals warehouse
operations in Fort Lauderdale, US.
The move enhances the companies
co-operation, with LTLS already sup-
plementing SuperJets spares distri-
bution centre in Frankfurt.
Airbus has achieved initial European
Aviation Safety Agency certification
of its Runway Overrun Prevention Sys-
tem technology on A320ceo-family
Boeing is expanding its flight training
support for customers of the 787
Dreamliner with an additional 787
full-flight simulator (FFS) at its flight
services campus in London, UK. The
new FFS, which joins two other 787
FFSs currently used in London, will be
ready for training in Q1 2014.
Avtrade Dubai has moved its offices
to the Gold Tower in Jumeirah Lake
Towers, located in New Dubai.
Sunwing Airlines is to retrofit its fleet
of 737-800s with Aviation Partners
Boeing Split Scimitar winglets. The
airline said that when applied to the
aircrafts existing blended winglets,
the Split Scimitar upgrade would add
strengthened spars, aerodynamic
curved tips, and a large ventral fin,
which is expected to improve per-
formance and decrease fuel burn by
approximately seven per cent.
Since 9/11 authorities have progressively headed off potential attacks on passenger aircraft: locks
are now installed on cockpit doors; fluids are banned from hand luggage; shoes must be re-
moved; and some aircraft even have systems to counter heat-seeking missiles.
Other threats, though, are harder to foil. Much has been made of the distraction caused by hand-
held laser pointers aimed from the ground at cockpit windows, but there has been surprisingly
little in the press about the dangers of global positioning system (GPS) jamming and spoofing.
According to the Economist, every day near Londons Stock Exchange GPS signals go down for
a short window, affecting everything from car navigation devices to the time stamps on financial
The culprit is believed to be a delivery driver using an $80 dashboard device to stop management
tracking his movements; while that would not have the range to interfere with aircraft, more ex-
pensive (though still affordable) jammers could.
North Korea uses truck-mounted jammers to annoy the South and these are reported to have
disrupted GPS systems on more than 1,000 passenger aircraft in 2012. Although no serious inci-
dents happened as a result, some experts have predicted dire consequences if terrorists or rogue
states chose to target individual aircraft with GPS spoofers.
These devices send false location data to receivers, and in conjunction with retail computers
and an antenna they can be used to actually take control of GPS-reliant vehicles.
University of Texas assistant professor Todd Humphreys recently used a $3,000 spoofer to re-
motely commandeer a 210-foot yacht in the Mediterranean, steering the ship off course without
the captains knowledge.
This experiment is applicable to other semi-autonomous vehicles, such as aircraft, which are
now operated, in part, by autopilot systems, said Humphreys.
Luckily for airlines, Humphreys who had the consent of the ships owner claims to own
the worlds most powerful civil GPS spoofer. Unfortunately, he adds the qualification, that I
know about.
8 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey (LTAA) has
been integrated into the Lufthansa Technik
Design Organisation, where minor design
changes and repairs will be approved. The
integration process was initialised in 2011,
and AERO Alzey aims to improve its com-
petitiveness in the regional engine main-
tenance market.
The qualification tests of the A320neo
engine bleed air system have started with
development testing at equipment level
at Liebherr-Aerospaces test centre in
Toulouse, France. Performance testing of
the pre-cooler and bleed valves is cur-
rently being carried out; the system com-
ponents are undergoing various tests
that will demonstrate their performance
and reliability under operating condi-
9 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Solar Impulse, the aircraft powered by solar energy, has successfully
flown across the US. The journey took place in six legs, covering
more than 3,500 miles in a total flight time of 105 hours, 41 minutes,
with the aim of proving the reliability and efficiency of clean tech-
nologies and renewable energies. The aircraft became the first
solar-powered plane to fly day and night across the US without
using a single drop of fuel.
Boeing is facing a $2.75m fine from the US Department of Trans-
portations (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) over al-
legedly failing to maintain the safety of its 777 fleet. In September
2008, Boeing realised it had used non-conforming fasteners on its
777s. The following month, the FAA requested that within 20 work-
ing days Boeing send a response to its investigation into the matter.
The DOT claims Boeing has repeatedly failed to meet objectives
and missed deadlines resulting from the investigation, finally set-
ting a plan to address the problem two years later in November
2010. Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct
quality problems in a timely manner, said the FAAs administrator,
Michael Huerta. Although Boeing has stopped using the fasteners,
the aircraft faced underlying manufacturing issues as a result of
their use, the FAA said.
Aero Maintenance Group (AMG) subsidiary, AMG Flite Compo-
nents (Flite), has entered into a radome support and repair part-
nership with Spirit Airlines in support of the carriers fleet of over
50 A320 family aircraft. The multi-year partnership places spare
radomes at the airlines key maintenance locations and provides
minor repair to full overhaul services for all Spirit radomes.
10 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Revima, Bronzavia sign repair
Revima has signed a partnership agreement
with Bronzavia Industrie, further develop-
ing its sheet metal activity. The MRO will
now become a repair station for engine noz-
zles installed on ATR regional aircraft;
under the contract Revima will use parts
made by Bronzavia Industrie.
Regulators approve GEs Avio
General Electric (GE) has been granted an-
titrust approval for its $4.3bn takeover of
Avios AeroEngine division. The Federal
Trade Commission approval comes follow-
ing the European Commission approval ear-
lier in July. Avio which supplies GE with
components manufactures parts for en-
gines, including low-pressure turbine sys-
tems, accessory gearboxes, geared systems
and combustors. As part of the approval, GE
guaranteed it will not hinder Avios supply
of an accessory gearbox to rival Pratt &
Whitney for its PW1100G engine.
AirKenya Express goes live with
Pentagon 2000SQL
AirKenya Express has completed the im-
plementation of Pentagon 2000 Softwares
Pentagon 2000SQL aviation software sys-
tem. The integrated solution aims to help
the airline with its global support capabil-
ities and includes functionality for f leet
management, f light operations, aircraft
recordkeeping, aircraft heavy mainte-
nance, component repairs and materials
Boeing picks AerDatas STREAM
AerData has been selected to provide its
STREAM record management solution to
Boeing to support the GoldCare pro-
gramme for airline fleet maintenance. The
software provider will scan the aircraft
technical records and make them avail-
able to Boeing personnel supporting
Comlux named GE authorised
service centre
GE Aviation has named Comlux as an au-
thorised service centre for its CF34-3 en-
gines that power the Bombardier Challenger
series. Under the agreement, Comlux will
perform line maintenance inspections and
routine installed engine maintenance, in-
cluding removal and replacement of en-
gines and engine components. Comlux
opened a new completions and mainte-
nance centre in Indianapolis, Indiana which
along with the authorised service agreement
with GE will enable CF34-3 operators to re-
ceive engine service and support.
ATR and Atlantic Air Industries (AAI) have signed an agreement making AAI a new member
of the OEMs network of partner maintenance centres. AAI, which has a maintenance sta-
tion at Toulouse-Francazal airport, specialises in heavy maintenance of ATRs airframes and
works in line with the aircraft manufacturers quality standards.
Honeywells performance materials and technologies business group is to invest more than
$200m at its four production facilities in Louisiana, supported by Louisiana Economic De-
velopment, which includes both state and local tax incentives. The investment will support
its global operations and allow the company to produce new products to support refining
processes that produce fuels and petrochemicals, as well as advanced materials that are en-
vironmentally friendly and energy efficient. An additional $1bn may be invested in its
Louisiana operations over the next 10 years for a series of projects ranging from the produc-
tion of next-generation products to the maintenance and improvement of current produc-
tion processes.
European Aeronautic, Defence & Space (EADS) is to rebrand itself simply as Airbus. It is
using its most familiar brand name to highlight its core business of developing commercial
aircraft. The company will be comprised of three divisions: commercial aircraft, helicopters
and a combined defence and space arm. EADS CEO, Tom Enders, commented: What we
are unveiling today is an evolution, not a revolution. Its the next logical step in the devel-
opment of our company. He added that the move to combine defence and space will take
costs out, increase profitability and improve our market position.
The global in-f light entertainment and connectivity
market is expected to grow as airlines try to differen-
tiate and gain a competitive advantage and as demand
for air transport increases, according to a new report
from Frost & Sullivan. The report, Global In-flight En-
tertainment Market Assessment, says the market will
witness strong consolidation as in-f light entertain-
ment and connectivity suppliers aim to create a one-stop shop for customised content
solutions. It says the market earned revenues of $2.08bn in 2012 and estimates this to
more than double to $5.27bn in 2020 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.8
per cent (2011-2020).
11 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Airbus has completed the first A350
XWB cabin virtual flight; the vir-
tual flight is used to test cabin sys-
tems and equipment maturity at
entry-into-service, confirming the
operability and allowing the OEM
to access human factors in conditions as close to reality as possible. The five-hour test was
carried out in Hamburg using Cabin 0 a ground-based representative section of A350
XWB fuselage which features the cabin systems found on the real aircraft. Two airline pilots,
eight cabin crew and 129 passengers were involved in the virtual flight and tested flight
phases such as boarding, meal service, stowing luggage, and various systems including LED
lighting and intercom.
Sunrise Airways of Haiti has established an 8,000ft
MRO facility at Cibao International
Airport (STI) in Santiago, Dominican Republic. The facility has the capacity to accommo-
date three of the airlines Jetstream 32 EP aircraft as well as components; more than 2,200
line items are now stored either in Santiago or at the Sunrise headquarters in Port-au-Prince.
In order for us to grow and achieve our goal of uniting the Western Caribbean with im-
proved regional air service, having our own maintenance facility is a must, said Philippe
Bayard, president, Sunrise Airways. Bayard added that the Santiago facility carries all the
necessary approvals from the Office National de lAviation Civile (OFNAC).
VietJetAir has signed a technical co-operation agreement with Lufthansa Technik (LHT).
The MRO will provide VietJetAir with solutions in technology, maintenance services, tech-
nical maintenance and consulting for technical projects, technical training for staff and
other consulting services. The aim is to collaboratively create the platform, facilities and
technical staff with top-rated domestic and international quality standards at VietJetAir.
The airline, meanwhile, says it will support LHT in providing rapid access to the large mar-
kets in Asia.
AJW Group and Aviation Technical Services (ATS) have signed a Memorandum of Under-
standing (MOU) to form a strategic alliance. ATS will gain access to AJWs Boeing and Airbus
component inventories, as well as an expanded scope of component repair capabilities pro-
vided by AJW Technique. AJW will be able to offer expanded PBH solutions, benefiting from
the range of services offered by ATS Components and repair services. This partnership will
see two of the largest and most experienced companies in the industry working together to
deliver innovative solutions for our joint customers, said Matt Yerbic, ATS president and CEO.
MTU Maintenance has completed the 1,500th overhaul
of a General Electric CF6-80 engine at its maintenance
location and centre of competence for medium to large
aircraft engines in Hannover. The engine has been deliv-
ered to MTU customer US Airways; the two companies
have recently signed a five-year contract for the mainte-
nance of the airlines CF34-10E6 engines.
Honeywells 131-9 Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) has reached 100m hours of service, becoming
the second of its APUs to surpass the 100m hours mark across more than 7,500 narrowbody
aircraft such as the 737 and A319, A320 and A321 models. The 131-9 model APU has proved
to be highly reliable, fuel-efficient and quiet in the millions of hours of flight service
recorded to date, said Jim Fusaro, VP, marketing and product management, Honeywell
ALN expands to Fiji and Papua
New Guinea
Aviation Logistics Network (ALN) has ex-
panded to Fiji and Papua New Guinea as a
result of a strategic partnership with CT
Freight Services, an independent forward-
ing and logistics network in Australasia
which has offices in Australia, New Zealand,
Fiji and Papua New Guinea. New Guinea
and Fiji are niche areas with a need for a
continual flow of aerospace parts required
to keep the aircraft on the islands supplied;
as such we are ideally placed, being both at
Port Moresby and in Fiji, to serve the supply
chain needs of any and every aircraft type
flying into and out of the Island, com-
mented Clive Thomas, CEO, CT Freight.
Fokker opens Singapore compo-
nent shop
Fokker Services has received approval from
EASA and the FAA for its new component
repair shop in Singapore; the new shop fo-
cuses on regional aircraft and serves its cus-
tomers with avionics, hydraulics and
limited structure component maintenance.
Fokker Services opened its new facility in
Singapore in February 2012.
Doors on at MAELs new hangar
Monarch Aircraft Engineering (MAEL) has
made progress in the construction of its
new 110,000sq-ft maintenance facility at
Birmingham Airport, UK. Construction
work on the hangar is under way, with the
doors now being installed. The installation
of the doors marks the point where MAEL
has 74 working days before the facility be-
comes fully operational.
AAR to open Louisiana facility
AAR is set to open its sixth North American
aircraft MRO facility in Lake Charles,
Louisiana at Chennault International Airport
Authority. AAR will occupy approximately
520,000ft2 of MRO service and administra-
tive space at the facility; the new location will
be capable of supporting maintenance oper-
ations for all widebody aircraft and will also
be able to accommodate the A380, with ex-
pansion currently underway.
12 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Morgan Thermal Ceramics has announced the
availability of Cerox fired refractory shapes,
offered in a range of material compositions,
including many specifically used for the
manufacture of rotating and non-rotating airplane
components and automotive turbochargers.
Dense, hard, and chemically stable, Cerox fired
refractory shapes offer resistance to chemical
attack from acids, slags, and gases to produce the
cleaner, contaminant-free metal desired by end
users in aerospace and automotive steel foundries.
SR Technics has won a contract with Finnair
for the provision of heavy maintenance checks,
including paint work on two of the airlines A320s.
The tasks will be conducted at the MROs centre of
excellence for narrowbody aircraft maintenance in
Malta; the first aircraft has already been inducted.
The new deal follows the 10-year contract already in
place with SR Technics, signed in July 2012, for
CFM56 engine maintenance, plus integrated
component services support for the airlines Airbus
and Embraer fleet.
CAE has won contracts with both Etihad
Airways and China Eastern Airlines for nine full
flight simulators (FFSs) and nine flight training
devices. The new contracts are valued at more than
C$230m at list prices. Etihad has ordered seven
FFSs, seven flight training devices, update services
and an exclusive 10-year agreement for training
equipment and services. The FFSs are CAE 7000
Series models and include three 787 FFSs, two A320
FFSs, an A380 FFS and an A350 FFS. China Eastern
has signed for a 737-800 FFS and a 777-300ER FFS,
as well as CAE 7000 series models.
Falko Regional Aircraft, an asset management
company, has selected Commsofts Open Aviation
Strategic Engineering System (OASES) to support
its portfolio of leased aircraft.
Mesa Air has awarded AAR a six-year extension
of an agreement to provide supply chain services;
the contract will now continue until 2021. The
extension covers maintenance and repair services
for the Phoenix-based regional airlines existing
fleet of CRJ 700/900, as well as nine additional
Pegasus Airlines has selected CFM
Internationals LEAP-1A engine to power its new
fleet of 75 firm and 25 option A320neo/A321neo
aircraft. The aircraft order was first announced in
December 2012 and the airline is scheduled to begin
taking delivery of the aircraft in 2016.
Emirates has awarded AerData a contract that
will see the airline adopt the STREAM (Secure
Technical Records for Electronic Asset
Management) records management solution.
Under the five-year contract, Emirates will benefit
from the web-based solution that is used by
airlines, lessors and MROs to manage scanned
aircraft and engine records, further assisting the
industrys aim to be a paperless environment.
SR Technics has won two new contracts with
easyJet to provide line maintenance services on the
airlines entire fleet of A319 and A320 Swiss
registered aircraft. With a three-year contract
extension for Geneva and a new three-year contract
for Basel, SR Technics will support a total of 22
aircraft in the region.
Luxembourgs Luxair has awarded KLM UK
Engineering a contract to carry out heavy
maintenance checks on two 737NGs.
UTC Aerospace Systems Aerostructures has
won a contract with Canadian carrier Sunwing
Airlines to service nacelle components for its fleet
of 737 aircraft. Under the five-year contract, UTC
will perform maintenance, repair and overhaul of
the carriers inlets, fan cowls and small components
for the CFM56-7 engines that power Sunwings fleet
of 24 737-800 aircraft at its Alabama service centre
in Foley.
Precision Conversions has won a contract
from Air China Cargo, a joint venture between Air
China and Cathay Pacific Airways, to provide the
company with a total of four full 15-cargo position
757-200PCFs. The first aircraft was inducted for
modification at the Taikoo Aircraft Engineering
maintenance facility in Xiamen on July 31. The
second aircraft will commence modification in
November, with the remaining two aircraft being
placed in production slots for early 2014.
WestJets regional carrier, WestJet Encore, has
signed a Total Component Support deal with
Lufthansa Technik to provide component repair
and pool access support for its new and growing
fleet of Q400s.
Monarch Aircraft Engineering has won a
contract with Spanish airline Privilege Style to
provide line maintenance technical handling to the
carrier. The contract covers the airlines 757 aircraft
based at Manchester Airport.
Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey has won a
contract with Arkia Israeli Airlines to provide
engine repair and overhaul services to the carriers
fleet of CF34-10E powered E-190 aircraft.
Meggitt Sensing Systems
has launched the Endevco
model 7298 triaxial variable
capacitance accelerometer
designed for highly
accurate measurement of
low-frequency events.
Typical applications require measurement of
whole-body motion in three mutually orthogonal
directions immediately following a shock or in the
presence of severe vibrational inputs. With its
exceptional bandwidth, precision accuracy and
high shock survivability, the Endevco model 7298 is
ideal for use in, amongst other applications,
aircraft flight and flutter testing. Endevco model
7298 is available in six models, ranging from 2 to
Snap-on Industrial has launched two digital
borescopes, the BK6500 and BK8000. The
company says the products are significant
advances in digital inspection and wireless digital
video scopes, allowing professional users to see
and record inaccessible areas in greater detail than
ever before.
Surrey NanoSystems has
announced its new super black
coating, a breakthrough it says
stems from its patented process
for manufacturing carbon
nanotubes at low temperatures. The
coating can be applied to optical
instruments for space applications, to reduce
reflections and increase sensitivity. The technology
allows the company to fabricate super-black
coatings on space-qualified lightweight aluminium
components. The company says the black coating
material sets a new record for the lowest
reflectance in the infrared spectrum on materials
such as aluminium, with a total hemispherical
reflectance of less than 0.15 per cent across the
mid-infrared wavelength region.
Spectrolinehas launched the OPTI-LUX 365, a LED
leak detection flashlight that provides UV light for
optimal fluorescent dye response, which is suitable
for all aviation fluid system applications. It has an
inspection range of up to 25ft (7.6m) and provides
four hours of continuous inspection between
[ MTU Aero Engines has ex-
tended Rainer Martens con-
tract as COO; the contract
renewal is for a term of five
years, commencing on April 15,
2014. Martens led the com-
panys turbine blade/vane pro-
duction centre from 1997-2001
and then joined Airbus as pro-
duction manager at its plant in
Bremen, he later re-joined MTU
and has been a member of the board of manage-
ment since April 15, 2006.
[ Ed Dolanski has been named president and CEO
of Aviall. Dolanski, who joined the company as SVP
in 2007, most recently served as COO, a role that he
was promoted to in 2010. Prior to joining Aviall he
worked with Raytheon for seven years.
[ Rockwell Collins has appointed company president
Kelly Ortberg to the additional role of CEO, effec-
tive immediately. Ortberg joined the company in
1987, becoming president in 2012; he has previ-
ously served as EVP and COO of government sys-
13 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Japan Airlines has signed a general terms
agreement with AJW Aviation to provide spares
support across its fleet and subsidiary airlines. AJW
will support the airlines fleet of Boeing aircraft
from its Singapore-based facility.
Airline Services Components has won a
contract with Thomson Airways to provide
maintenance support on the Messier-Bugatti-Dowty
wheels and electrically actuated brake equipment
installed on the airlines fleet of 787 Dreamliners.
Industria de Turbo Propulsores has won a
contract with Rolls-Royce to become its supplier
of low pressure turbines for two new engines: the
Trent XWB-97 for the A350-1000 and the Trent 1000
for all 787 models.
BAE Systems Regional Aircraft is now offering
brake maintenance support for the Jetstream 41
regional turboprop airliner and has secured its first
customer for the new services with a contract from
Sky Express of Greece.
MSI Aircraft Maintenance Services
International and Reheat International have
signed an agreement to jointly repair aircraft galley
equipment, such as ovens, coffee makers, water
heaters and boilers at MSIs Dubai repair facility
located in Jebel Ali.
[ Nexcelle, the joint venture between GE Aviation
and Aircelle (Safran), has named Michel Abella as
its new president. He has over 40 years experience
in the industry and was most recently director of
programmes at the company.
[ Franck Terner has been named president of Air
France KLM Engineering & Maintenance; he is also
a member of the Air France KLM group executive
committee. Terner joined Air France in 1988 as a
production engineer and has since held various
leadership roles. As part of on-going leadership
changes within the company, Air France KLM has
also named Anne Brachet as president of Air
France Industries (AFI), replacing Terner; prior to her
new position Brachet was SVP engineering and air-
frame for AFI.
[ Claude Poulain has been named chairman and
CEO of PowerJet, replacing Jacques Desclaux.
Poulain began his career in 1981 at Snecmas
Genevilliers plant as financial controller, later joining
CFM International. His most recent positions in-
clude Snecma SVP commercial strategy for com-
mercial engines and services and SVP marketing &
sales at PowerJet.
[ Spairliners has appointed Sven-Uve Hueschler as
managing and financial director, replacing Andre
Schulte-Bisping. The company also named Fabrice
Dumas as head of sales and marketing; he joined
the company on July 1 this year.
[ Aviation IT company Smart4Aviation has ap-
pointed Ivo Hop as its first CFO; a role he began on
July 1. Hop, an international tax lawyer, will manage
the financial wellbeing of the company and prior to
this position he worked at Meeuwsen Ten Hoopen.
[ United Technologies has named Nicole Haughey
as VP, corporate strategy and development; she suc-
ceeds Matthew Brombery who has been named
president, Pratt & Whitney aftermarket. Haughey
was previously a managing partner at Vertical Re-
search Partners, a firm that she co-founded in 2009.
[ AJW Aviation has promoted Deepak Sharma to
overall company technical director of AJW Group
and a position on the board. Sharma has worked as
technical director at the company since 2008. The
company also appointed Ruslan Nurislamov as VP
business development, becoming responsible for
Russia and CIS regions.
AAR has been awarded a multi-year inventory
support deal with European regional airline Flybe.
Under the contract AAR will support Flybes
operational needs for wheels and brakes inventory for
its Q400 fleet. AAR will also house an additional pool
of wheels and brakes inventory in its Amsterdam
warehouse to further support the airline.
Aviation Partners Boeing has received an
order from TUI Travel for 737-800 Split Scimitar
AAR has won a five-year contract with
ExpressJet Airlines to provide landing gear
overhaul services to its fleet of 104 Embraer
ERJ-145XR aircraft. Under the contract AAR will
perform gear overhauls in a dedicated regional
aircraft product area at its 180,000sq-ft landing gear
services MRO facility in Miami.
Trax has won a contract with Caribbean
Airlines for the provision of its MRO ERP
software. Caribbean will implement X, the latest
version of Trax Maintenance which includes 20
modules to cater to various aspects of aircraft
Fokker Aerostructures has won a contract
with Airbus for the development and
manufacturing of the outboard flap for the
A350-1000, the largest variant of the A350 XWB
family. Outboard flaps increase the surface area as
well as the camber of the wing during take-off and
landing. Fokker has already begun development
activities in collaboration with the aircraft OEM in
Bremen with the first hardware set for delivery in
Brazil-based TAM Executiva has selected
Vector Aerospace and its subsidiary, SECA, to
perform engine repairs, hot section inspections,
testing, modification, overhaul services and parts
distribution for PT6A and JT15D series engines as
well as repairs, major periodic inspection, testing,
modification, core zone inspection services for
TFE731 series engines.
AirAsia X has extended its contract with Air
France KLM Engineering & Maintenance for
component support for its fleet of A330s and A340s.
The initial contract covered one leased aircraft, but
this has been extended twice in order to support
the expansion of the Malaysian carrier and now
includes 25 new A330s and two new A340s.
Hong Kong-based Aerosapience has signed a
contract with Volartic to adopt its aviation
maintenance software, Alkym Management and
Control System; the IT company will provide
authorised sales representation and implementation
support for Alkym.
Aerosource has won a five year contact with
Bombardier Aerospaces Component Repair and
Overhaul team based in Wichita, Kansas, covering
aftermarket repair and overhaul of air driven
generators, integrated drive generators and APU
generators for Bombardier CRJ and Challenger
Tigerair Australia has signed an agreement
with Vistair to use its cloud-based document
management system DocuNet and its notices
management portal CrewNet.
14 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
What is your background in the industry and
how has it benefited you in your present
I started my aviation career in the US Navy as
a combat support engineer. After I completed my
military career, I obtained my Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) Airframe and Powerplant
license and went to work for a regional airline as a
mechanic. I worked my way through the ranks and
eventually ended my role as a maintenance man-
ager. At the time I was going back to school at
night and obtained my degree in Aviation Main-
tenance Technology. I transitioned my role into a
technical support specialist and supported the en-
gineering side of the company. From this point I
changed several positions from regional to cargo
airlines on the engineering side of the industry.
After the airline I was with closed its doors I
opened a small aerospace engineering firm and
spent three years in the private sector. I eventually
decided to get back into the air carrier side and
took a job with Republic Airways Holdings as the
director of engineering for all four carriers; Shut-
tle America, Chautauqua Airlines, Republic Air-
lines and Frontier Airlines. Through the
operational separation of Frontier and Republic
Airways Holdings, I chose to stay with the Repub-
lic side of the business because I believe in the
company. My beginnings on the floor have sup-
ported me through my role in management to un-
Frank Stevens is director of engineering at Republic Airways Holdings, an Indiana-based airline holding
company that owns Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines and Shuttle America. He
entered the aviation industry with the US Navy and is an active member of many industry committees
and working groups, in addition to fulfilling his duties at the holding company. Here, he reveals
engineering strategies, market trends and his vision for the company.
In my opinion:
Frank Stevens,
director of
derstand from the bottom up what it is like to be
in this industry.
As director of engineering for Republic Air-
ways Holdings, how do you manage your re-
sponsibilities and what does the role entail?
I am placed in a shared services role for the
three airlines that we support; Shuttle America,
Chautauqua Airlines and Republic Airlines. This
role also places my department in the middle of
all aircraft acquisitions, sales, and/or leases from
a technical perspective for the holding company.
My direct role is to provide leadership to the en-
gineering, reliability, maintenance programmes,
and technical fleet management sections of the
Pratt & Whitney.
The shortest distance to profitable operation is your direct line to Pratt & Whitney services.
Call us. We respond. With lower costs and uncompromising service. Innovative parts repair
instead of replacement, when its the best option. A broad portfolio of services and innovations,
right where and when you need them. Take a look at todays Pratt & Whitney services at Providing dependable services and customer-focused value.
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16 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
company. I support my employees in their roles.
My leadership style is to teach them to fish. I
also tell new candidates to my organisation that
I only hire leaders. Everyone has a role and al-
though mine is at the top of the department, I
cannot do it without everyone pulling.
Engineering is the beginning and the end of
all data that is used to maintain or operate an air-
craft or component. If we are wrong on the front
end, others will fail and we will get it right back
in the end. So, I am responsible for making it
right the first time.
How would you describe the companys engi-
neering and maintenance strategy?
Our strategy is customer focused. We have
grown from a Mom and Pop airline to a super-re-
gional and this has caused communication issues
with our internal customers. We want our strat-
egy to focus on fixing issues long term and not
the daily fire. Our customers should come to us
for the long term fix to their issues and expect
that when we have completed a task it will last.
What is your personal vision for Republic
Airways Holdings, in terms of its engineer-
ing strategy?
We are focusing on automation and aircraft
health from a proactive approach. As a large or-
ganisation that is spread out from coast to coast
and flying within much of North America and
the Caribbean, communication is a hurdle. In
this case we want to get out of a world where
email requests can get lost and actions delayed
due to over-tasked frontline employees. To do
this we are focusing efforts on developing or
adopting software that will allow management to
review requests, assign requests, and measure
performance. This matrix is based on a simple ef-
fort to provide service to the airlines we work for
and keep the airplanes moving more efficiently.
I find employees with specific skill sets that can
attack inefficiencies with technology and past ex-
periences. Empowering the engineers and man-
agers to build a process or a procedure from the
bottom up gives them a pride factor and a sense
of gratitude when a programme succeeds.
How much maintenance is done in-house,
and how much is outsourced? What are the
main factors influencing your decisions on
who to use for maintenance?
Republic Airways Holdings does a mixture of
in-house and outsourced maintenance for our
ever growing fleet. Our executive team does a
great job of balancing cost, efficiency, and part-
ner agreements to make the decision that meets
our overall corporate goal.
What are the main challenges, from your per-
spective, of entering into lease agreements?
What major trends do you see in this area?
I believe that all parties involved in a lease are
looking to reduce the amount of cash they output
or what is being spent on the lease and its ulti-
mate return. Leases are structured to support the
next operators and to reduce the amount of work
required when the subsequent lease is agreed
upon. The main challenges with leases, from a
technical perspective, are predicting the aircraft,
engine, and landing gear health at the time of the
return. These items get opened up and inspected
right before a lease return and a negative finding
can cause a massive delay or a big hit on the bot-
tom line.
In order to provide effective support do you
think it is important for engineers to under-
stand lease negotiations?
Absolutely! As I learn each time the team
works on a lease agreement, whether it is a lease
in or a lease out, there is always a gotcha that
we did not see coming. While maintaining the
fleet engineers have to understand that outcome
to their actions, as it relates to return of leases.
This can be anything from planning/timing en-
gine shop visits to Parts Manufacturer Approval
(PMA) or Designated Engineering Representa-
tive (DER) parts usages.
Do the airlines under your supervision use
PMA parts do they accept them in mainte-
nance processes and will you accept and
work with them on leased aircraft?
Our company uses a mixture of power by the
hour, pooling parts agreements, and flat rate re-
pair agreements, as well as straight out repairs
and purchasing. We do not allow PMA parts for
any of the units that we have third party agree-
ments on. On parts that we own or manage the
repair processes on, yes we accept PMA, when it
can be demonstrated that no level of safety or re-
liability will be lost.
We have a method of internal PMA review
and approval that runs the candidate PMA
through materials, engineering, reliability, and
maintenance programmes for input and recom-
mendation to our customer airlines. Ultimately
our airlines have to take on the responsibility and
approval for the PMA, but my department is the
reviewing arm and takes the workload off the air-
line to be as informed on the decision as possible.
What do you think the major trends are in
the PMA parts business?
Group PMAing. PMA warehouses have begun
to realise that once they get in the door with an
airline they have a better chance of getting more
in the door. I see many PMA approvals come
across my desk and I have to slow things down
and ask our folks, why do we want to approve for
use this PMA?, Is the OEM unit a bad one? Is
the OEM unit costing too much money? Why do
we want to take a gamble?. I feel that PMA com-
panies have determined that smaller PMA com-
ponents for sale in large quantities are the way to
go. Why spend a lot of money to PMA a complex
item when you can spend smaller amounts on
simple PMA and sell them by the thousands?
17 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
What do you think Republic Airways Hold-
ings offers customers that its competitors
First I have to define who our customers are:
major airlines operating in the United States. Yes,
ultimately the flying public are our customers,
but directly it is our partners in the industry;
Delta, American, US Airways, United and so on.
We offer the most flexible corporate structure
and the most comfortable large regional aircraft
in the market. Our executive team is great at de-
veloping the corporate goals and fleet plans to
meet the market in front of us. We speak to our
customers and try to partner with them to de-
velop their goals as well as ours.
What kind of year has 2013 been for Republic
Airways Holdings in terms of general out-
look, trends and challenges? And looking
specifically at the maintenance and engi-
neering operations?
This year has been a year of learning and
growth. We are adding to our fleet again with the
E-175s for American Airlines and the Bombardier
Q400 for Uniteds operations. We are also learn-
ing from past experiences to maintain a positive
outlook on the future. I look at our fleet and our
maintenance organisation as a huge chess match;
we have super thinkers making all the moves to
best support the ultimate corporate goal. We
maintain flexibility at all levels and realise that
last minute changes are not due to a lack of plan-
ning, but an ability to adapt the plan to the
changing market.
What do you see as the main challenges of
your own role, looking ahead?
Communication and documentation. As we
build a better orb of information for our main-
tainers and vendors alike, getting data and infor-
mation to these customers in the proper format
and in a single click location is what I want to
overcome. Right now we have data scattered
throughout the system and I want to focus on in-
formation in a single location, in the right format
and in appropriate amounts.
You sit on multiple aircraft industry steering
committees and chair several technical
working groups. What is the scope of these,
how useful are they, and what have been
some of the achievements resulting from
Being such an active member in this industry
is tough but rewarding. My full time job is to sup-
port my company and do whatever it takes to
keep the economic machine moving through
technical support, while at the same time keep-
ing my employees, and their families, happy. I
also have a responsibility to the industry to pro-
vide feedback and be involved with others out-
side my work space. I enjoy the challenges that
my day to day job provides, but most enjoy get-
ting out of my office and meeting others in the
industry and learning from them. Sitting on and
chairing several working groups at a time helps
me gather and deliver knowledge to everyone
that I come into contact with. I truly believe the
old adage knowledge is power with a twist
...but you cannot keep it to yourself! Industry
leaders must learn to share experiences and fos-
ter new thought processes.
What would you say has been your finest
hour as director of engineering to date?
I place a lot of pride in my employees working
life and strive to make sure that they come to
work because they want to make a difference. I
do not want my employees to come to work for
the pay check or because they cant get a job
somewhere else. I want the work environment to
be safe, enjoyable and repeatable. I spend a lot of
time doing simple things like thanking my em-
ployees. So, to get this in return from my employ-
ees is my finest hour. Each year I ask my
employees to complete an anonymous survey.
The results of these surveys are collected, re-
viewed and presented to the employees every
year. In the past year I have had several employ-
ees pull me aside and tell me thank you, it shows
that you care; it is a simple thank you, but it goes
both ways in appreciation.
You can hear from and meet Frank this October
15-17 at the MRO Networks Airline Engineering
& Maintenance: North America and Aircraft &
Engine Lease Management Americas confer-
ences in Montreal, Canada.
Other major operators, including American
Airlines, United Airlines and Atlas Air, as well as a
range of suppliers, including Air France Industries,
KLM E&M, Airbus, Boeing, MTU Maintenance
Canada and many more, will be discussing the
hottest topics across maintenance, engineering
and leasing in the region.
For more information and to book your place as a
delegate visit:
As a large organisation that is spread out from coast to coast
and flying within much of North America and the Caribbean,
communication is a hurdle.
20 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
eaturing a wide range of aviation compa-
nies operating at all levels of the supply
chain, Europe is certainly one of the
most highly developed aviation markets in the
world. Looking at the whole spectrum of main-
tenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), Chris
Doan, chairman and CEO at TeamSAI, says
that Western Europe is expected to surpass
North America as the largest region for MRO
spend by 2023. Despite growing to the largest
single regional market, Western Europe will
lose market share, going from 25 per cent
($13.6bn) in 2013 to 22 per cent ($16.1bn) by the
end of 2023, he says. Western Europe is a ma-
MRO recovery in Europe remains slow, but the global nature of the business means companies are still
winning contracts across the world. A number of challenges remain, while consolidation continues to
shape the future market space.
Aviation focus:
ture market, and the loss in market share can
largely be explained by the fast growth of
emerging regions.
Despite the large size of the MRO market,
problems persist. Europe is lagging most of the
world in terms of MRO recovery. Its the emerg-
ing markets that are driving MRO growth at the
moment and Europe, being both a mature avia-
tion market and an area with its own economic
problems, is as a result reporting weaker MRO
growth in the low single digits, reports Richard
Brown, a principal consultant at ICF SH&E.
Nevertheless, larger MRO companies such as
Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Main-
22 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
tenance (AFI KLM E&M), Lufthansa Technik,
MTU, Sabena technics and SR Technics remain
industry powerhouses thanks to their ability to
continue to win, particularly, component and en-
gine maintenance contracts from operators
across the world. European MROs are world
leaders in component and engine maintenance.
While home grown European airline MRO spend
might currently be depressed, the European
MROs are out winning contracts across the
world. Theyve always been leaders in serving
maintenance markets outside their home coun-
tries, so in this sense its business as usual, ob-
serves Brown.
Indeed, Europe has been the home of the
broad component support offering since the
1990s, with components from multiple ATA
chapters combined into a single MRO contract,
often on a f light hour basis, and components
normally shipped back to Europe for mainte-
nance. A number of such contracts are won by
European MRO companies on a regular basis.
However, one part of the world that has so far
proved largely elusive is the US. Brown says
that because of the large f leets there, compa-
nies find the concept expensive, and so prefer
to purchase on more traditional contracts.
Europe also remains a major provider of en-
gine overhauls, with a wide variety of OEMs and
independent suppliers offering world class over-
haul capability. This leadership position in en-
gine overhaul is set to continue, according to
The major difficulty for European MROs right
now is to find ways to stay competitive in an in-
creasingly price sensitive market place. They
should focus on areas where they have competi-
tive advantage and, where relevant, seek partner-
ships with OEMs that are looking for licensed
service centres and offer excellent customer sup-
port, advises Brown. If they can do this and
its no easy task they will be well positioned
for growth over the next decade.
While home grown European airline MRO spend might currently be depressed, the European MROs
are out winning contracts across the world.
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The MRO market is also in a period of ratio-
nalisation. Sbastien Weber, director marketing
product support development at AFI KLM E&M,
confirms that productivity and cost saving
measures at the companys European facilities
will help to strengthen AFI KLM E&Ms position
in the component and engine support market. In
the meantime, we will develop our worldwide
MRO network, in order to increase our proximity
to our customers.
Weber says that the MRO industry as a whole
is in a state of contrasted and fragile growth.
There is still an appetite for the MRO business,
but the MRO customers the airline commu-
nity are increasingly looking for cost reduc-
tions and are therefore asking the MRO suppliers
to bear more risks and lower their prices, he says.
This pressure, along with the necessity to be
closer to the market, is leading some MRO play-
ers to open new facilities or establish partner-
ships or joint ventures in regions with sustainable
air transport growth.
Challenges and opportunities
European MROs are currently facing a variety
of challenges. Excess capacity remains in many
MRO categories at the moment particularly
airframe and engine maintenance, and this
means that pricing remains tough. There just
arent very many new contracts being signed at
the moment and so when theres a maintenance
campaign its usually highly competitive and the
tendering airline increasingly selects the lowest
cost option, which may not favour the European
MRO, says Brown.
Meanwhile, European airlines with in-house
MROs are being forced to make tough decisions
as to whether to perform maintenance in-house
or to outsource to a competitive and poten-
tially cheaper third party provider. Conse-
quently, what might be good for the airlines costs
might not be good for their in-house MRO, says
Europe has been the home of the broad component support offering since the 1990s.
25 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Brown. So, weve seen changes in buying behav-
iour particularly as airlines take delivery of new
aircraft models and dont in-source MRO. Exam-
ples cited include British Airways outsourcing
support for the A380 with Airbus under their
flight hour services programme, and Japan Air-
lines (JAL) signing a 787 rotable support deal
with Lufthansa Technik.
Larger MROs in Europe are also finding op-
portunities to partner with OEMs for new tech-
nology platforms where OEMs dont wish to add
bricks and mortar, according to Brown. Exam-
ples of this include UTC Aerospace Systems sign-
ing agreements with Lufthansa Technik to
support 787 components.
Mick Adams, managing director at Monarch
Aircraft Engineering (MAEL), agrees that form-
ing closer ties with OEMs will be essential for Eu-
ropean MROs, looking longer term. As a credible
organisation with over four decades of good
standing we have developed excellent business
relationships with many OEMs, he says. Another
challenge is in the recruitment of technicians
and engineers. MAEL is also investing in the fu-
ture to ensure we have sufficient engineering and
maintenance staff and as a result we have en-
rolled over 700 apprentices in to our industry
leading apprenticeship scheme, which is now in
its 41st year, says Adams.
Of course, many of the larger MROs would
be considered Western European, and there
are major differences between the markets in
When theres a maintenance campaign its usually highly
competitive and the tendering airline increasingly selects the
lowest cost option, which may not favour the European MRO.
Richard Brown, principal consultant, ICF SH&E
26 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
the East and West of Europe. The labour ad-
vantage of performing maintenance in Eastern
Europe at the expense of Western Europe, once
a fairly significant factor, has been slowly erod-
ing as wages continue to rise in the East.
While Eastern Europe remains popular for
narrowbody airframe maintenance, companies
there face stiff competition from the mainte-
nance growth areas of Malta, Turkey, the Middle
East and to a smaller extent North Africa, ex-
plains Brown. Eastern European airline growth
has been outpaced by the Middle East, which
prefers to perform maintenance in-region.
Given the sluggish economies in Western Eu-
rope, MROs based in countries such as Spain,
Portugal and Ireland will continue to offer very
competitive MRO offerings to airlines that
might have previously migrated work to Eastern
The European MRO industry has also been af-
fected by airline consolidation. It often provides
airlines the opportunity to evaluate their mainte-
nance support approach, which could in theory
mean companies exiting loss making in-house
maintenance and seeking solutions from a com-
petitive third-party market. The reality is often
more complex as recent mergers havent, at least
from an outside perspective, necessarily generated
Larger MROs in Europe are also finding opportunities to partner with OEMs for new technology
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28 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
optimal maintenance savings or a radical re-eval-
uation of what is core and non-core, says Brown.
He has though, for example, seen changes
within the Lufthansa Group affecting subsidiary
airlines such as Austrian Airlines, while the sale
of BMI to British Airways (BA) provided the lat-
ter company with the opportunity to integrate
BMI aircraft within its maintenance programmes
therefore allowing the closure of BMIs engi-
neering facility at East Midlands Airport.
The merger of Air France and KLM in 2004
has seen their respective MRO companies inte-
grate, with the aim of tackling duplication and
maximising maintenance efficiency savings. The
more recent merger of British Airways and Iberia
has initiated the same process. Brown notes that
in such cases there are a number of challenges:
unionised labour; the fact that many in-house
MROs are viewed as cost centres rather than
profit centres; and mergers across countries have
political considerations that mean what might
work on paper wouldnt be considered in reality.
True savings take time to realise, he notes, but
the introduction of new aircraft models usually
allows such a change in behaviour.
Jose Luis Quirs, commercial and business
development SVP at Iberia Maintenance, says
his company is still focused on the co-ordina-
tion of MRO activities with BA Engineering.
After the merger of British Airways and Iberia
in 2011, both MROs are dedicating special at-
tention to maximise the benefits of the merger
through the achievement of cost and revenue
synergies, he says. There are up to eight work-
ing groups, covering from rationalisation of in-
ventory to joint sales, with specific targets that
will bring savings to the group, but will also
help to consolidate one of the biggest MROs in
the world, by associating British Airways Engi-
neering and Iberia Maintenance capabilities
and operations.
Operating in the Eurozone means there is al-
ways pressure to keep costs low and to maximise
Consolidation in the European MRO space will continue as
airlines seek to deal with fewer, larger, suppliers.
Richard Brown, principal consultant, ICF SH&E
Western Europe is expected to surpass North America as the largest region for MRO spend by 2023.
29 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
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cost efficiency, so both British Airways Engineer-
ing and Iberia Maintenance emphasise the need
to maximise the benefits of their collaboration.
Our relationship offers more mutual benefits to
each side. For instance, by working in partnership
we can maximise the use of our inventory, pay
only when we consume stock, increase volume in
our workshops, ensure better reliability, and keep
our cost-base down. Together we are better
equipped to deal with external pressures coming
out of the Eurozone, says a BA spokesperson.
Another impact of airline consolidation is
that the newly combined airline has greater bar-
gaining power when tendering maintenance con-
tracts. An airline such as United, combining
Continental, is able to issue tenders to MRO ven-
dors which are even larger in scale than before,
says Brown. Therefore, if these go to the OEM
or other large scale vendors the impact on smaller
suppliers could be great.
Brown also notes the impact of fast-growing
airlines, such as Etihad, partnering or taking eq-
uity stakes in airlines in Europe and what this
might mean for maintenance approaches. He
says that when Etihad took part ownership of Air
Berlin, some MRO work shifted to Mubadala
owned SR Technics and ADAT, while the airlines
787 order was changed to the 787-9 to match the
order from Etihad. Owners such as Etihad arent
silent investors, he remarks.
The consolidation trend looks set to continue.
It might still be said that there are too many legacy
flag carrier airlines in Europe, many of which re-
tain MRO capability. The loss making airlines,
and their loss making in-house MROs, are usually
government-owned political footballs which cause
problems for profit seeking airlines. Well see ei-
ther these airlines failing (as with Malev) or being
acquired by another airline, says Brown.
Over time, then, there will be fewer airlines
in Europe but those that remain will be larger.
This directly impacts the MRO market. Eu-
rope already has a number of large MROs
some independent and some owned by air-
lines that compete vigorously in the mar-
ket. These will likely remain and the smaller
independent MROs will find it tougher to sur-
vive, especially in a more OEM-centric MRO
environment. Consolidation in the European
MRO space will therefore continue as airlines
seek to deal with fewer, larger, suppliers, con-
cludes Brown.
30 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
hroughout the history of technological
development, small companies have often
proved more adept at translating new
ideas quickly into workable technologies than
have long-established industry giants. Apple and
Microsoft, long industry giants themselves,
started as two tiny outfits taking on the behe-
moths of their business (IBM being one) and
winning hands down. Facebook and Google are
two more recent examples.
Now something similar may be about to hap-
pen in the commercial aviation business. Until a
few years ago, the airline industry didnt really be-
lieve that a better, cheaper, quieter way could be
found to get aircraft to and from runways than by
having aircraft taxi for miles under the power of
their engines.
As long as fuel was cheap, labour costs werent
high and environmental concerns werent promi-
nent in airline thinking, taxiing using engine
power remained an acceptable procedure. And as
long as airlines didnt mind taxiing aircraft stand-
ing still for minutes while other aircraft backed
out ahead and blocked the taxiway as they
started their engines, pushing back from the gate
with the help of a diesel or electric tug remained
standard practice.
But from the early years of this century, as
economic forces bore down upon the airline in-
dustry and fuel and labour costs kept increasing,
some began to think there might be a cheaper
and more environmentally friendly way for
aircraft to taxi. The first sign of this came when
airlines adopted the concept of single-engine
taxiing. This allowed airlines to cut fuel costs by
using just one engine to taxi an aircraft, lighting
the aircrafts other engine(s) only when it was in
the holding line just before take-off and shut-
ting down all but one engine to taxi in from the
runway after landing.
The benefits of electric taxiing
By then, a few visionaries could see that if
there were a reliable way to have an aircraft taxi
to and from the runway electrically, with all en-
gines except its auxiliary power unit (APU)
shut down, airlines could realise considerable
savings. These would not only come in fuel
costs, but also in turnaround time, in reduced
brake wear pilots need to keep brakes ap-
plied against taxi thrust to keep a stationary
aircraft from moving and even in obtaining
earlier take-off times. (At Heathrow, for in-
stance, an aircraft could taxi electrically to the
runway at 5:45 a.m. without breaking the
overnight noise curfew and then take off ex-
actly at 6:00 a.m., when the curfew ended.
Today, under engine power, an aircraft can only
begin taxiing at 6:00 a.m.)
The expensive, time-consuming and noisy process of taxiing
commercial aircraft to and from runways is about to see a revolution
and the new business of electric taxiing will see a
David-and-Goliath competitive match-up. Chris Kjelgaard reports.
Taxi fair
Direct and indirect labour costs such as
those associated with the cost of employing a tug
driver and insuring ramp workers against per-
sonal injury could plummet too. There would
also be environmental benefits: lower emissions
of CO2 and oxides of nitrogen in and around the
airport and much less jet noise.
While an electric taxiing solution could prove
economically useful and would be environmen-
tally beneficial if applied to widebody aircraft,
there was a much more compelling case for it on
narrowbodies such as the Airbus A320 and Boe-
ing 737 families.
Widebodies primarily operate medium- and
long-haul sectors and may have hour-to-cycle ra-
tios as high as seven or eight. In practice, this
means they spend most of their time in the air
and on average may only make 1.5 to two take-
offs and landings a day. Although they burn more
fuel than narrowbodies while taxiing, there are
also technological challenges associated with de-
veloping electrical motors powerful enough to
taxi, say, a Boeing 747-400 or an Airbus A380.
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Narrowbodies, by contrast, average a ratio of
about 1.5 flight hours per flight cycle, which in
practice means they often perform seven or eight
take-offs and landings a day. Accordingly, nar-
rowbodies, regional jets and regional turboprops
spend a high proportion of their total operating
time taxiing to and from runways. There are also
many thousands of them in service.
Enter WheelTug. Although a small company,
WheelTug has been the trailblazer of the electric
taxiing business since it first demonstrated its
electrically driven nosewheel concept in 2005 on
a Boeing 767. Its electric taxiing system uses a
sealed electric motor located inside the nose-
wheel. The motor is driven by the aircrafts APU
and the power from the APU is applied by cus-
tom-made electronic control equipment con-
trolled from the flight deck. In developing the
system, WheelTug has generated more than 80
patents, which have been issued or are pending
in various international jurisdictions.
In the eight years since 2005, WheelTug has
answered almost all the performance challenges
thrown at it, including demonstrating a taxi-
speed capability of 20-25 knots. The only chal-
lenge it has not answered completely, admits
WheelTug CEO Isaiah Cox, is that in certain
weather and ground conditions the nosewheel-
driven system does not gain enough traction to
taxi an aircraft. This will only happen about three
per cent of the time, he estimates. The prospect
leaves him unconcerned, since WheelTugs busi-
ness model will not involve airlines purchasing
electrically driven nosewheels for their aircraft
but instead calls for them to pay WheelTug an
agreed proportion of the operational savings they
achieve using the equipment.
The biggest potential economic benefit
touted by WheelTug is not the 80 per cent reduc-
tion in fuel burn it says its APU-driven system
would offer when compared with single-engine
taxiing, nor the time saved when pushing back
without the use of a tug and not starting the air-
crafts engines up on the outer part of the ramp.
Instead, Cox says the biggest benefit would come
from what the company calls the WheelTug
This is the systems ability to allow a narrow-
body aircraft to taxi in between two aircraft at
nearby gates and then turn sideways 90 degrees
in its own nosewheel radius. According to
WheelTug, if a narrowbody were brought up to a
two-bridge widebody gate (or two adjacent nar-
rowbody gates) its passenger load could be dis-
embarked through both doors and its next
passenger load could also be boarded through
both doors.
Once ready for dispatch, the narrowbody
would simply turn again through 90 degrees and
move away under electric power. All this would
slash the time needed for disembarking and
boarding, potentially generating enough addi-
tional time during the day for the aircraft to com-
plete an additional revenue flight. WheelTug es-
timates the Twist could produce a time-based
saving of as much as $1,000 per flight cycle.
During the past eight years WheelTug has ac-
quired an impressive list of risk-sharing industry
partners, demonstrated its nosewheel-electric-
motor on Boeing 737s successfully in a variety of
ground conditions (including ice and snow) and
most importantly garnered a provisional
orderbook of installations for nearly 600 aircraft.
Ernest Arvai, a partner in the AirInsight group of
consulting firms, thinks WheelTug may also have
provisional deals for several hundred more air-
craft lined up for conversion into letters of intent
within the next few months.
When we started in 2004, everything was an
insurmountable challenge so they said. We
have addressed each of those issues, says Cox.
He and others (including Arvai) believe Wheel-
Tugs electrically driven nosewheel which em-
ploys an advanced electric motor less than 5in
(12.5cm) wide represents the simplest and
least technologically ambitious solution for the
potentially huge electric taxiing market. Wheel-
Tugs electric motor is sealed and doesnt use
cooling, because an aircrafts nosewheel isnt
used for braking and so generates very little heat
and has very few sensors compared with
the main landing gear bogeys.
The simplicity of WheelTugs system should
also make it easy to install. Using a new nose-
Wheeltugs system allows a narrowbody aircraft to taxi in between two aircraft at nearby gates and then turn sideways 90 degrees in its own nosewheel radius.
33 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
wheel developed by industry partner Parker
Aerospace, WheelTug estimates it would take
just two overnight stops to install its system,
plus two shifts for the landing gear swap. Simi-
larly, it would take just two shifts to remove the
The unit will not be on the aircrafts master
minimum equipment list which means the
aircraft can be dispatched with its WheelTug in-
operative and its connection to the aircrafts
data system will be minimal and read-only. The
systems other components will be maintenance-
free unless flagged and inspections of the nose-
wheel unit will be accomplished during tire
changes, according to WheelTug.
Green Taxi disappears
But while WheelTug was first out of the
blocks and all things being equal will be
first to market with its electric taxiing system (it
plans to begin retrofitting customer aircraft in
the fourth quarter of 2014), it will not be alone
there. Throughout the past few years, several
other electric taxiing projects using a variety
of different approaches have undergone devel-
opment and trialling.
One potential competitor pulled out of the
race in January. This APU-driven project em-
ployed two liquid-cooled electric motors one
on a wheel in each of an A320-family jets two
main landing gear units and was jointly devel-
oped by US company L3 Communications and
UK firm Crane Aerospace. The system, called
Green Taxi, was ground-trialled by Lufthansa
Technik in 2011 using a Lufthansa A320.
Although on the face of it the trial worked, L3s
decision to use liquid-cooled electric motors for its
design probably proved the projects undoing. Air-
bus subsequently indicated that to reduce design
complexity it preferred any main-gear-attached
electric taxiing systems to be air-cooled. This made
sense in view of their close proximity to the air-
crafts air-cooled main landing gear brakes.
A320-family aircraft have sufficient space in
their main landing gear wheels to accommodate
an electric taxiing system. This is all the more so
because the A320 family was originally designed
to be fitted with steel brakes and nowadays most
new examples are fitted with carbon brakes,
which have a much higher heat sink capability.
But, according to Arvai, the proximity of the
brakes and their heat sinks to the electric motors
of any main-gear electric taxiing system creates
significant technological challenges.
These challenges include providing sufficient
cooling to the taxiing systems motors; ensuring
that the electric taxiing system isnt damaged by
the shock of the main gear impacting the runway
on landing; and in adding further complexity and
weight to this part of the aircraft. All this is likely
to create certification difficulties.
The Electric Green Taxiing
Nevertheless, working through an equal joint
venture, Honeywell and Safrans Messier-
Bugatti-Dowty unit have adopted a main-landing
gear location for their Electric Green Taxiing Sys-
tem (EGTS), which also uses APU power. This
drives two electric motors, one in a wheel on each
main landing gear bogey on an Airbus narrow-
body, through clutches and reduction gearboxes.
The MLG location provides redundancy only
one of the two electric motors needs to be oper-
ational to taxi the aircraft and greater ground
traction than a nosewheel location, as well as
more space for the motor, EGTS claims.
EGTS target taxi speed is at least 20 knots for
a fully loaded narrowbody, a figure that the 50-
plus airlines we are in discussions with about the
Our development approach includes testing for endurance,
environmental performance, power-quality electromechanical
integration, vibration, performance, electromagnetic
interference, and weight testing in various capacities and
Brian Wenig, vice president EGTS program, Honeywell Aerospace
Honeywell and Messier-Bugatti-Dowty have adopted a main-landing gear location for their Electric Green Taxiing System (EGTS), which uses APU power.
34 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
system have told us would be required in order
to meet their operational parameters, says Brian
Wenig, vice president EGTS program for Hon-
eywell Aerospace.
The partners announced EGTS at the 2011
Paris Air Show and demonstrated it publicly at
the same show two years later. EGTS draws upon
Honeywells experience in avionics, electric
power systems and APU integration, while Safran
brings its electric power systems and landing gear
systems expertise to the venture. The pairing is
powerful: Honeywell is by far the largest manu-
facturer of commercial aircraft APUs in the
world, while Messier-Bugatti-Dowty is the largest
manufacturer of landing gears.
EGTS 2013 test, using an A320, represented
the industrys most advanced demonstration of
an e-taxi system to date, says Wenig. Our devel-
opment approach includes testing for endurance,
environmental [performance], power-quality
electromechanical integration, vibration, per-
formance, electromagnetic [interference], [and]
weight testing in various capacities and environ-
ments, at 13 major sites worldwide.
Although EGTS officially will lag WheelTug
to market by well over a year (Honeywell and
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty expect to make the sys-
tem available in 2016, initially for forward-fit or-
ders, with retrofits offered soon afterwards),
EGTS seems to have come a long way in a short
time. Air France and EasyJet are on board to test
the system operationally.
The EGTS programme has mobilised more
than 200 engineers at [13] locations, and the com-
ponent-system and aircraft-testing programme
has accumulated more than 3,000 hours of on-
ground manoeuvres on seven bespoke testing
benches as well as on our A320, says Wenig.
Since the aircrafts first move in April, the EGTS
on-board has logged over 160 kilometres (100
miles) of rolling tests. These tests evaluate the
system in various load configurations and run-
way conditions, through a complex series of ma-
noeuvres such as pushback, tight turns and
U-turns, according to varying specifications of
acceleration and speed.
Wenig adds: With this first testing phase
complete, the next major milestone is to con-
duct these same manoeuvres with the aircraft at
maximum take-off weight. We expect to begin
full-scale development in 2014 ahead of market
entry in 2016. We have not experienced any major
development challenges and the programme re-
mains on track.
That said, Arvai thinks EGTS may yet face sig-
nificant cooling issues which may necessitate
Messier-Bugatti-Dowty redesigning the main
landing gear wheels for any EGTS-fitted A320-
family jet.
Lufthansa Techniks research
With Green Taxi now gone, Lufthansa Technik
is at a crossroads. The German giant is involved
in testing a fuel-cell-powered, nosewheel-based
system developed by DLR, the German Aerospace
Center. Lufthansa Technik is also testing a system
called TaxiBot, a diesel-electric-powered aircraft
tug fitting closely around the nosewheel. TaxiBot
developed by Israels IAI pushes an aircraft
back normally but then the driver hands over con-
trol electronically to the pilots of the aircraft. The
pilots steer the tug (now actively taxiing the air-
craft) to a location near the runway before start-
ing the aircrafts engines, de-coupling the tug and
passing control back to the driver.
Another project in which Lufthansa Technik
is involved is the quaintly named eSchlepper, a
four-wheel-drive, lithium-battery-powered ve-
hicle for towing widebodies over distances of up
to seven kilometres (4.35 miles) for mainte-
nance hangar operations. Normally recharged
from the ground electricity supply, an eSchlep-
per can also be recharged during long-distance
towing operations by an onboard diesel genera-
tor. A big fan of what it calls electromobility,
Lufthansa Group in the form of its LSG Sky
Chefs catering subsidiary is also working
with partners to develop an electrical-hoist ve-
hicle. The hoist and vehicle will both be electri-
cally powered.
EGTS and WheelTugs business
Wenig says EGTS business case measures its
calculated savings against single-engine taxiing
operations a deliberately conservative ap-
During the past eight years, WheelTug has garnered a provisional orderbook of installations for nearly 600 aircraft.
35 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
proach which has earned credibility with
prospective airline customers. The partners es-
timate EGTS could save between two and four
per cent of per-cycle fuel burn, offering airlines
savings of as much as $200,000 per aircraft per
However, EGTS has not publicly quantified
the savings it expects the system to offer in
terms of emissions savings, reduced mainte-
nance costs on engines and brakes and lower
ground-handling costs. Savings could also
come through faster turnarounds like
WheelTug, EGTS could do the Twist, although
needing more complex braking and taxiing
control to do so and reduced noise on the
Unlike EGTS, WheelTug has quantified every
aspect of its business case publicly and believes
that its system will save as much as $2m per year
per aircraft. WheelTug is betting its entire busi-
ness model on the savings its customers achieve,
since the company plans to generate its revenues
by means of airline customers handing over an
agreed percentage of the savings they achieve
using the WheelTug taxiing system. Because it
doesnt seek money up front, such a pricing
scheme could level the playing field for Wheel-
Tug against EGTS.
However, Arvai thinks WheelTugs innovative
business model might create problems. Some air-
line customers might come to resent handing
over savings they make as a result of their own
operational improvements and efficiencies,
using their own people and their own techniques,
even though WheelTug may be the main en-
abling technology. Arvai believes a taxi-by-the-
hour model is more likely to eventually become
the standard pricing model for the new industry
and that EGTS may well offer such pricing.
Tough competition ahead?
While Arvai believes WheelTug has a genuine
advantage over EGTS in the simplicity of its sys-
tem and its potential timing to market, neverthe-
less he feels the company could face significant
market challenges because of its relatively small
size. One challenge is the fact that Honeywell
controls some 85 per cent of the market for com-
mercial aircraft APUs and that Safran has such a
massive presence as a landing gear manufacturer.
Should these companies wish to exercise their
muscle say, by Honeywell offering preferential
power-by-the-hour APU maintenance rates to
customers choosing EGTS rather than Wheel-
Tug, or by Safran increasing its landing gear
maintenance fees if WheelTug is installed
then this could present problems for the smaller
company. Another risk is that they might use
their massive financial power to price WheelTug
out of the market or even buy it up completely.
The smaller guy may have a better mouse-
trap, but will he eventually get swallowed? Arvai
asks. Can he survive, playing with the big guys?
Honeywell and Safran have the economic power.
Another issue for both electric taxi pro-
grammes, but possibly more difficult for Wheel-
Tug than for EGTS is that each competitor
must obtain detailed engineering and design
data from Airbus and Boeing in order to be able
to certificate their systems. Its inability to date to
acquire Boeings engineering data for the 737NG
and 737 MAX nose landing gear and wheel is the
reason that WheelTug hasnt converted any let-
ters of intent to firm orders: it cant yet guarantee
any of its customers firm installation slot dates,
because it cant guarantee its certification date.
Pointing out that neither Airbus nor Boeing
ever hand over such data cheaply, Arvai notes
that both of the two huge airframers have long
and close relationships with both Honeywell and
Safran, which are among their biggest Tier 1 sup-
pliers. The airframers dont have such deep rela-
tionships with WheelTug.
For WheelTug the key is getting a critical
mass of customers to scream at Boeing and/or
Airbus to demand the airframers hand over to
WheelTug their design engineering data, says
Arvai. Assuming they do, WheelTug is set for an
interesting few years, particularly if EGTS also
fulfils its potential.
Air France and EasyJet are on board to test the EGTS system operationally.
The smaller guy may have a better mousetrap, but will he
eventually get swallowed?
Ernest Arvai, partner, AirInsight
36 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
n a global business environment in which
speed to market, reduced cost and improved
quality translate to competitive advantages,
a new applied research centre in Virginia is fos-
tering breakthroughs in surface engineering and
manufacturing systems and speeding devel-
opments into manufacturing.
From human factor improvements for the
production floor to digital manufacturing tech-
niques and advanced surface and coating appli-
cations, developments are under way at the
Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufac-
turing (CCAM) near Richmond, on the Cross-
Utilising a collaborative R&D environment, a new applied research centre in Virginia is fostering
breakthroughs in surface engineering and manufacturing systems and speeding developments into
manufacturing. James Whitton, Chromalloy program manager for the Commonwealth Center for
Advanced Manufacturing and director of operations there, reports on the success of the shared
approach as well as new and future developments.
Accelerating new
technologies into
pointe campus of the Rolls-Royce component
manufacturing plant.
CCAM, a public/private applied research cen-
tre, is sponsoring R&D with industry partners
and the states leading research universities. The
developments are resulting in production-ready
manufacturing techniques to be used by Rolls-
Royce, Siemens, Aerojet, Chromalloy and other
CCAM member companies.
The applied research centre is unique in its
collaboration between industry and the states
research universities. The CCAM mission is to ac-
celerate new technologies into commercialisa-
Winner 2011
Best Aviation
Logistics Provider
38 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
How Rolls-Royce and industry partners meet industry demand through applied research centres
To meet industry demand for new production processes and developments while training future workers, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced
Manufacturing (CCAM) is one of seven collaborative research facilities worldwide in a network in which power system manufacturer Rolls-Royce par-
A leader in the manufacture of civil and military aero engines, marine propulsion systems and power generation systems, Rolls-Royce partners with
industry, governments and universities to accelerate technology development through a global network of applied research centres in the UK, one in
the US and one in Singapore.
CCAM, the newest applied research centre in which Rolls-Royce participates, was completed in 2012 and officially opened in 2013. As a hub for advanced
manufacturing in the US and a site for R&D, CCAM operates independently with a board of directors appointed by the seven organising industry
member companies and Virginias leading universities. All of the modern technology centres in which the engine manufacturer participates serve
Rolls-Royce, the other participating member companies, partner universities and the communities.
CCAM is located at the 1,000 acre Rolls-Royce campus at Crosspointe, Virginia, where aircraft engine components are manufactured, assembled and
tested. Rolls-Royce donated the land for CCAM.
As a CCAM founding member, Rolls-Royce contributed to the centres $30m development and construction costs and with the other industry members,
is a beneficiary of the centres research breakthroughs. Each industry member will transfer the breakthrough technologies developed in the CCAM
labs directly to their manufacturing operations.
CCAM student interns from the partner universities, who gain hands-on experience while working at the research centre, are able to evolve their roles
and expertise into permanent engineering and technical positions at the member companies.
The success behind applied research centres in addition to the collaboration across industries, government and universities is the focus on highly
technical manufacturing areas where new developments are required by industry.
CCAM is dedicated to new surface technologies, which are among the field of additive manufacturing, and new manufacturing systems for factories.
Other applied research centres in which Rolls-Royce participates focus on key manufacturing areas:
I Composites (National Composites Research Centre, South Wales, UK)
I Surface conditioning processes (Process Technology Research Centre, Singapore)
I Forging and forming (Advanced Forming Research Centre, Glasgow, UK)
I Automation, fixturing, joining manufacturing (Technology Centre, Ansty, UK)
I Machining and measurement (Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield, UK)
I Manufacturing technology, training and accreditation (Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre, Sheffield and Manchester, UK)
True to the charter of state-of-the-art applied research facilities for cross-industry, community and academic collaboration, the centres are dedicated
to the rapid commercial application of R&D.
Rolls-Royce completed a new advanced manufacturing plant in Virginia. The new Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing is located nearby, on the same campus.
39 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
tion and reduce costs associated with manufac-
turing through shared facilities and personnel,
and share pre-competitive research among mem-
bers and its university partners.
In the process, the centre also provides for the
training of the next generation of engineers and
technical workers in advanced manufacturing
Collaboration and partnership
CCAM was conceived in conjunction with
the development of the Crosspointe site, based
on a model that has been successful in the UK
for the last decade, by power system manufac-
turer Rolls-Royce. The company, which had just
completed a new component factory (see side-
bar), donated the land for the centre after the
applied research facilitys charter was estab-
lished and gained financial support from the
states Economic Development Authority and
the Virginia Tobacco Commission, which
viewed it as a boon to the regions economic
growth. Additional support came from the fed-
eral government and Virginias three research
universities the University of Virginia, Vir-
ginia Tech and Virginia State University each
of which signed on early with funding, intellec-
tual rigour and the innovation provided by aca-
demic researchers.
Governor Tim Kaine had been instrumental
in attracting Rolls-Royce to Virginia prior to
2009. In 2010, when Governor Bob McDonnell
took office, he became an ardent supporter view-
ing CCAM as a catalyst for industrial develop-
ment. McDonnell placed economic development
and jobs high on his agenda and saw CCAM as a
stimulus for accelerating technology develop-
ment and commercialisation and revitalising
the regions business infrastructure.
For Rolls-Royce and the industry members,
the collaborative nature of CCAM would offer
highly specialised solutions and developments to
address the challenges facing the industrial man-
CCAM incorporated in May 2010 with the
support of the regions top manufacturing
leaders, who became organising industry
members. In doing so they committed generic
research funding and in return would share in
the results and intellectual property. Partner
companies can also conduct their own directed
research in the privacy of specially designated,
proprietary labs and unique software data sys-
Members of the CCAM now number more
than 15, including aerospace, defence, consumer
electronics, automotive, shipbuilding transporta-
tion and industrial software companies. To the
companies that participate, CCAM offers low
R&D costs due to the collaborative environment,
facilities and personnel. The companies share
pre-competitive research findings. Research is
conducted in 10 labs, which include a metrology
centre, characterisation labs and a 3D visualisa-
tion room. The 62,000ft
centre also has a
open high bay with industry scale
The CCAM research team includes industry
and academic experts and a chief technology
officer, principal scientists and technologists,
project team leaders in manufacturing systems
and a small army of undergraduate and grad-
uate students. In 2013, when the CCAM facility
opened its doors, more than 35 university in-
40 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
terns and graduate research assistants were
working on research projects alongside indus-
try and academic experts on priority develop-
Intellectual property
In contrast to typical consortium based agree-
ments where it is common for the academic bod-
ies to control dissemination of the resulting
intellectual property, CCAM is decidedly differ-
ent. At the higher levels of membership commit-
ment, companies split their dues between
generic and directed research. For projects en-
gaged under generic research, IP is retained by
CCAM and licensed to the eligible members at
no cost. Directed research is defined and initi-
ated by individual members and the IP resides
with the members directing the research, not
Given the IP structure, it is possible for mul-
tiple members within a common supply chain to
join in a directed effort and all benefit, leveraging
their research dollars. Similarly, a single member
may choose to utilise the directed research op-
tion as an extension of their internal R&D, while
gaining the benefits of the CCAM facilities, re-
searchers and member universities. Benefits of
generic research are shared amongst all eligible
members across diverse industry backgrounds,
further demonstrating the leverage of collabora-
tive research.
New developments
Active research at the CCAM facility was ini-
tiated in early 2013, including both generic and
directed research projects. The centres technol-
ogy steering committee evaluates R&D topics for
the generic research and ensures that the portfo-
lio of active projects support all the member
companies. R&D topics for directed research are
determined by the member companies sponsor-
ing the research.
Current projects address industrial manufac-
turing challenges in the area of adaptive machin-
ing, surface preparation, human factors,
multi-modal part inspection and surface charac-
terisation and identification. Examples include:
I Machining of thermally sprayed abrad-
able coatings This project will develop ro-
bust and repeatable machining processes
which will save on machining time and ma-
terial usage and improve coating properties
for CCAM members. Benefits are expected to
impact those members who produce the
equipment and tooling as well as members
who specialise in providing the products or
services related to abradable coating applica-
I Characterisation of human performance
utilising continuous motion data An
extension of a previous project on human fac-
tors, this venture expands on the use of rap-
idly developing sensing technology common
in devices such as gaming consoles (Microsoft
Kinect) and applies it to common issues rele-
vant to manufacturing. The goal is to learn
from the interactions between humans and
the products and processing steps within a
manufacturing environment.
Today and tomorrow
CCAM continues to add member companies
that seek a collaborative R&D environment and
facility, with diverse industry and academic part-
ners at its core. In early 2013, CCAM received an-
other infusion of state funding a $100,000
grant from the Commonwealth Research Com-
mercialization Funds Center for Innovative
Technology Matching Funds Program, for R&D
in abrasive blasting processes.
In June, NASA Langley Research Center, a
long-time pioneer in innovations in aeronautics
and space exploration, announced it will become
a CCAM member.
Given the green light by the Virginia univer-
sities, member companies and the state, CCAM
is on its way to claiming a permanent identity as
the regions industrial development showcase.
CCAM continues to add member companies that seek a
collaborative R&D environment and facility, with diverse
industry and academic partners at its core.
Researchers staff the new Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The centre has a 16,000
open high bay with industry scale equipment.
Increasing time on wing. Putting customers frst. That`s what Kelly Aviation Center is known
for. Now, with expanded in-house repair capability, we`re providing customers across the
globe with unmatched MRO service for ten engine lines - including the CF6, CF34,
and CFM56 families. With 1.5 million square feet of advanced technology, deeper parts
repair, and a highly skilled international team, we offer even greater capacity to meet
customers` scheduling requirements, assure quality, and reduce costs. To learn more about
Kelly Aviation Center in San Antonio, a Lockheed Martin affliate, and Kelly Aviation Center
Montreal, a Lockheed Martin Canada division, visit our website or give us a call.
42 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
primer promotes adhesion, says Julie
Voisin, product manager at Sherwin-
Williams Aerospace Coatings, when
explaining how a primer creates a bond between
the substrate and the topcoat. A topcoat is de-
signed to act as a line of defence against environ-
mental elements but it isnt necessarily designed
to adhere and hold on directly to a composite or
aluminium, so the primer is the bond that links
it all together.
Indeed the topcoat is what makes an aircraft
aesthetically attractive and an operators unique
livery is what sets its fleet apart from competi-
tors. However, pre-treatments a thin layer
such as soap that goes onto the substrate before
the primer and primers also play a vital role
in an airframes coating, by protecting it from
Aircraft are pushed to the limits on a daily basis, tested against the harshest of environmental factors,
so paints and coatings must provide sufficient protection. Primers play an important role in this. Here,
Hannah Davies talks to four primer manufacturers and one MRO company to explore product
development, application techniques and future outlook.
Aircraft primers
corrosion, wear and tear, debris, heat and UV ex-
Product development
In recent years coatings and paints manufactur-
ers have developed their products to support the
growing demand for increased corrosion protec-
tion. Each operator wants its aircraft to be as robust
as possible and the number one thing is that every-
body wants to protect their assets, says Voisin. Hav-
ing a primer that offers low VOCs (volatile organic
compounds), simple application processes, corro-
sion protection and durability is vital.
The primary goal for manufacturers is to meet
customer demand as well as eliminate the hexa-
valent chrome, says Phong Lai, director of sales
and marketing. Offering a solution that gets rid
43 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
The primer must have good adhesion with the surface and
corrosion inhibiting properties.
Rne van der Hof, process engineer coatings specialist, AFI KLM E&M
of this harmful substance, which is apparent in
original primer systems, has quickly become a
goal of all OEMs, as long as performance is not
According to Air France Industries KLM En-
gineering & Maintenance (AFI KLM E&M),
chrome-free and low VOC paint schemes are less
harmful to both the environment and humans.
Therefore coatings manufacturers such as Ak-
zoNobel, Mankiewicz, PPG Aerospace and Sher-
win-Williams now offer a variety of primers that
help improve the sectors footprint, as well as
combat the extreme factors of the environment.
The main goal is to prevent corrosion, says Rne
van der Hof, process engineer coatings special-
ist, AFI KLM E&M.
Legacy products that utilise solvent-borne
technologies, where strontium chromate is the
corrosion inhibition technology used have pre-
viously been the industry standard in ensuring
aircraft durability, says Mark Cancilla, global
platform director aerospace coatings, PPG Aero-
space. New technologies include corrosion in-
hibitors that do not utilise chrome, and reduce
the VOC levels of the primer products, as well as
include improved efficiencies in application, he
adds, and its these solutions that are proving
popular with operators.
Similarly, AkzoNobel focuses on the intro-
duction of next generation, environmentally
progressive products such as chrome-free and
low VOC exterior primers, says Michela Fusco,
marketing segment manager at the company.
One of the companys latest additions to its ex-
terior primers portfolio is its Aerodur LV 2114,
an environmentally sound and corrosion resist-
ant direct to metal primer (DTM), which pro-
vides ease of application and time savings as it
eliminates the need to use traditional chrome-
containing wash-primer or sol-gel surface pre-
treatments. The product provides necessary
adhesion and corrosion resistance to meet the
stringent specification requirements of AMS
3095A, notes Fusco. The primer must have
good adhesion with the surface and corrosion in-
hibiting properties, agrees AFI KLM E&Ms Van
der Hof.
AkzoNobel also prides itself on its complete
offering of primers for the needs of aircraft main-
tenance, including structural and repair primers,
says Fusco. Its chrome-free primer, Aerodur 2100
MgRP, which utilises magnesium technology to
give equal or superior corrosion resistance com-
pared to existing chromate containing primers,
has recently qualified according to AMS 3095A of-
fering a totally chrome-free exterior system for air-
craft maintenance. Its these products that pave the
44 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
The primer sector is extremely proactive with its product development.
way towards a greener sector and most impor-
tantly, for operators, tackle corrosion.
According to Fusco, the design features and
requirements of aerospace primers are very
complicated and AkzoNobels experience al-
lows it to offer customers products that combat
stresses like rain erosion, huge temperature dif-
ferences, chemical resistance and environmen-
tal stresses.
PPG has also been developing new DTM ma-
terials that will give clear benefits to the industry
through reduced weight and ease of application,
says Cancilla. PPG focuses its product develop-
ment on continuous improvement of field per-
formance, durability and corrosion resistance,
with more environmentally friendly materials,
improved application robustness, and lighter-
weight materials, says Cancilla.
More recently PPG has introduced chrome-
free solutions such as its pre-treatment Deso-
gal and eproxy primer Desoprime. Desoprime,
which has now been in the industry for two
years and is used on all 737NGs in production,
has passed both OEM and AMS specifications,
says Cancilla. And since PPG acquired specialty
coatings company Deft in April this year, it can
now utilise the Deft product line, which uses
waterborne technologies within many of the
products, helping to reduce VOC levels, notes
Sherwin-Williams also focuses on product de-
velopment in order to offer more corrosion-resis-
tant, protective products designed for a variety of
substrates: steel, aluminium, fiberglass, compos-
ite materials and magnesium. As the industry is
going through adaptation we have to work to
keep our technology up to date and fresh and be
prepared to offer customers options when they
are ready, explains Voisin. Sherwin-Williams
range also provides the painter with a choice of
environmentally supportive primers such as its
chrome-free epoxy primer, epoxy primer surface
and urethane primer.
Mankiewicz offers customers two systems; a
chrome-free epoxy primer, which can be directly
applied over conversion coatings, and for struc-
tural coatings it offers a water-based epoxy
primer. Lai explains how Mankiewicz has devel-
oped a system called a non-chromate base
coat/clear coat that allows the chrome-free
primer to be directly applied over a non-chro-
mate conversion system, offering airlines a com-
pletely green system.
The primer systems that have been, and are
being, developed by OEMs allow operators to
enjoy a greener footprint, weight reduction, and
ultimately reduced costs. However, reducing the
weight of a primer when the thickness has to be
20-25 microns, according to Lai, presents some
challenges, meaning OEMs have to adopt tough
45 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Sherwin-Williams Aerospace
proudly introduces the

paint system that saves time
and money imagine being
able to cut as much as 30%
from your painting process
time and eliminating
most bake cycles. Meeting
SAE AMS 3095 certications,
it provides the superior
appearance and durability that
the aviation industry expects
from Sherwin-Williams.
Preparation for omni epoxy primer application.
strategies and continue to innovate in order to
meet customers demands and expectations.
Cancilla describes PPG as taking an aggres-
sive path in its development activity with re-
gards to reducing the weight of its primers,
highlighting its Aerocron electrocoat system as
one of its key products in this movement. Aero-
cron is designed to maximise corrosion with the
use of non-chromate corrosion inhibitors, and
the application process by design, will minimise
the film thickness needed to protect the part, he
adds, allowing for a reduction in weight.
A common demand from operators is for
primers to maintain minimum thickness to allow
for weight reduction while providing a distinctive
topcoat appearance. Weight means fuel con-
sumption, and fuel consumption means higher
operating costs, and with all the new product de-
velopments that are in the pipeline weight re-
duction is on the radar screen all the time, says
With the introduction of DTM primers it
looks as though the industry is getting closer to
a light-weight solution, but with the focus still
being on chrome-free primer technology, per-
haps there is still more to learn in relation to ap-
plying chrome-free primers directly to metal, and
some challenges to face.
Fusco notes this is an area for further product
development and AkzoNobel has begun develop-
ing chrome-free DTM primers. PPG and Deft
have already started developing new materials
that will be designed to apply directly to metal
surfaces without the use of chromated corrosion
inhibitors, says Cancilla.
Working with composites
The aviation industry has had to adapt to
working with advanced composites and this has
presented the coatings business with various
challenges; most notably OEMs and MROs have
had to develop new application techniques and
approaches when working with composites, as
opposed to aluminium substrates.
Different rules apply with composites and
non-composites, agrees Voisin, in that a primers
role changes depending on its applied surface.
On an aluminium substrate the primer protects
against corrosion and when used on composite
materials, instead of protecting corrosion, a
primer would fill in the weave of the composite
in preparation to receive the top coat finish. You
are still putting down a similar process but they
are doing two different things, she explains.
Adhesion is different when working with an
alloy, comments Lai, agreeing that a primer has
to be altered when working with composites, in
order for it to stick. Other requirements also
change when working with composites due to the
no corrosion factor. Mankiewicz, for example,
conducts additional tests to assess factors such
as salt spray and UV exposure.
While composites offer environmental and fi-
nancial benefits there are some challenges when
46 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
New technologies include corrosion inhibitors that do not
utilise chrome, and reduce the VOC levels of the primer
products, as well as include improved efficiencies in
Mark Cancilla, global platform director aerospace coatings, PPG Aerospace
According to Air France Industries KLM Engineering & Maintenance, chrome-free and low VOC paint schemes are less harmful to both the environment and
it comes to working with such advanced materi-
als. Due to the different chromate capability of
the composite surfaces, defects can sometimes
occur and micro pinholes can be found, says Lai,
meaning that the primer has to have the function-
ality to highlight the defect areas, allowing it to
be fixed before protective layers are applied.
In addition, the mould used when working
with composites utilises a lot of release agents
to prevent any composite getting stuck in it, ex-
plains Lai, but this release agent is prone to sur-
face contamination. And if the operator doesnt
complete the process correctly from start to fin-
ish it can become very labour intensive.
While there may be changes to consider when
developing the primers, AFI KLM E&Ms Van der
Hof states that there is no difference regarding the
application of a primer in relation to the surface.
According to AkzoNobel, chrome-free
primers are already accepted for work on compos-
ites; PPG has developed a chrome-free primer sys-
tem, Desoprime CF/CA7501, which is on use on
the 787 and will likely be used on future compos-
ite aircraft.
Application processes
An operator must ensure that it has the correct
solutions and processes in place to keep AOG
(Aircraft on Ground) situations and downtimes
to a minimum. Therefore, having the best, most
effective primer systems in use and application
techniques and processes in place is paramount.
Aircraft coatings are applied by spraying and,
in recent years, such techniques have advanced
and according to AFI KLM E&M high pressure
electrostatic spraying has been adopted. In
order to work with the new chrome-free technol-
ogy there have been some changes of materials
and processes with regards to pre-treatment
products, says Van der Hof, and most paint-
sprayers have had to adapt to new products when
they spray it for the first couple of times.
PPG approaches customer downtimes in three
different ways, according to Cancilla. The company
reviews product performance and new technolo-
gies to help support continuous improvement in
product service life. Secondly, it focuses on the ro-
bustness of its application processes through its
development process, called Secure Launch,
which allows technical personnel to develop the
application process while PPG develops new prod-
ucts. Additional investment is also placed in a sub-
stantial, global technical service organisation that
is comprised of skilled and experienced workers
who support its customers in the application of
PPG products at their facilities, says Cancilla.
With regards to primers, the effect on down-
times is pretty much non-measurable says
Mankiewiczs Lai, as all primers have the same
thickness requirements ranging from 20-25 mi-
crons and all dry pretty much the same, em-
phasising that there is miniscule difference
between products. However, Lai does note that
some products require 30 minutes induction time,
47 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
so once they are mixed together they have to reset
for that duration to allow for the reaction to start.
Other products do not, so the big difference in
time is application after the protective layer.
To the maintenance market the process of ap-
plying a primer is different to that of the OEMs
process, and some companies dont have the con-
trolled environments that others might. This can
create quite a challenge for the primer, accord-
ing to Lai, as it has to be as easy to apply in an
environment ranging from 60 degrees Fahren-
heit all the way up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
The coatings business can help improve
downtimes and application processes by making
it easier to apply coatings, with less drying time,
according to Van der Hof. He says that this is
very difficult as its always a balance between
several coating properties such as levelling and
drying time.
Future outlook
It is abundantly clear that this particular sec-
tor of the industry is extremely proactive with its
product development, with each primer manu-
facturer innovating in order to deliver increased
value to the industry, says Cancilla.
AkzoNobel, for instance, is currently working
on introducing a new chrome free primer, Aero-
dur 2111 to the maintenance market. The prod-
uct, which is in the final stages of the OEM
approval process, has been successfully applied
on a few commercial aircraft, according to Fusco.
And so far, the introduction of the product to the
paint shop has been very positive, and painters
are enthusiastic about its ease of application.
Fusco adds that after drying, the product looks
and feels very smooth, even on places where the
application is normally very difficult.
However, the acceptance and trust of chrome-
free primers is going to be a step to overcome, Ak-
zoNobel comments that it has increased
mechanistic understanding thanks to advanced
techniques for corrosion assessment in order to
help build on the trust of chrome-free systems.
Moving away from chrome containing primers is
not an easy step in a conservative industry, she adds.
AkzoNobel does believe that a phased ap-
proach should be adopted to help build trust in
chrome-free technology as working more inten-
sively with customers and stakeholders in the in-
dustry would be the way forward for a successful
Voisin agrees that the sector is still going
through an adaptation of chrome free primer
technology. She sees Sherwin-Williams as being
at the forefront of the development with five dif-
ferent products that vary in performance and type
of technology, catering to its customers varied
needs, whether its fast dry time, Skydrol resist-
ance or urethane or epoxy technology that they re-
Sherwin-Williams plans to focus on three
main areas within the sector to encourage reduc-
tion: weight of final product applied, cost of ap-
plication (from processing time to the cost of a
can of paint) and environmental impact.
Similarly, PPG says it is committed to advancing
the performance of its products, with the company
continuing to focus on improvements in applica-
tion efficiency, corrosion protection levels, and
minimum film thickness, according to Cancilla.
In addition to challenges presented by
chrome-free primers, Voisin sees the evolution
of composite substrates as playing a bigger role
in future developments. She explains that where
composites previously made up a small fraction
of the total aircraft substrate, there are new air-
craft being developed that feature a majority of
composite structure. As a result, the roles of
primers will change and increase in usage.
Going forward, Mankiewicz wants its prod-
ucts to perform to help the environment and also
perform to the regulations required in Europe.
Due to different regulations all over the world the
OEM hopes to develop a universal product,
which abides by global regulations and minimises
any challenges that various regulations present.
Its clear that a primer manufacturers main
aim is to produce solutions that offer corrosion
protection, as well as reducing the impact on the
environment as far as possible. The recent devel-
opments that have been seen within the coatings
business are definitely encouraging and the steady
pace of innovation seems likely to continue.
48 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
ngine condition monitoring (ECM), also
known as engine health or trend monitor-
ing (EHM or ETM), involves recording en-
gine operating parameters, identifying
significant departures from expected values and
analysing the data to diagnose the cause. The
process, in the words of Roll-Royce technical op-
erations manager David Kenning, helps predict
possible events, averting potentially costly or sig-
nificant technical issues, as well as ensuring
maintenance is efficiently scheduled and pre-
venting unnecessary maintenance.
The practice is of growing benefit to both op-
erators and OEMs, according to GE Aviation. The
manufacturer consolidated its support activities
in 2006, moving the diagnostics platform from
the engineering department and combining it
with the existing customer support activities to
form a new GE Aviation Operations Center at its
Cincinnati headquarters. We wanted to get the
diagnostics platform closer to the customers, ex-
plains Steve Subit, the centres director.
Between Cincinnati, a second centre in Shang-
hai and a third operated by Snecma in France to
support CFM56s in Europe, the Middle East and
Africa, he says GE Aviation is currently monitor-
ing close to 30,000 GE, CFM and Engine Alliance
engines, compared with 2,000 when the diagnos-
tic programme started in 1996. Customers increas-
ingly rely on the system to manage their fleets and
to meet their regulatory requirements as well as for
ETOPS margin monitoring, he says. And an order
of magnitude growth in the engine parameters
available with newer engines has enabled the com-
pany to effectively double its detection capability
while increasing accuracy by around 40 per cent.
We view it as a collaborative partnership with
the airlines, Subit says. We run their data
through our ever-developing analytics platform
to provide insights to them and us on how we can
more pro-actively manage their engine reliability
and their cost of ownership.
GEs newest engines produce more data in a
year than the entire fleet produced for the first
10 years. Now were getting really into the world
of big data and its definitely important that our
IT technology keeps pace with that, he notes.
The company has been investing in the infra-
structure to accept and process data, and the an-
alytic ability to extract more from that data.
There is support both from parent GEs soft-
ware centre of excellence and a new digital serv-
ices and solutions division in GE Aviations own
IT organisation. GE Aviations purchase last year
of flight operations data analyst Austin Digital,
moreover, brought expertise in data acquisition,
processing and analysis. That has added value to
GE Aviations Fuel & Carbon Solutions business,
Subit says: Now were looking to leverage that to
fleet data analysis.
The advent in recent years of digital engine con-
trols substantially improved the ability to capture
Engine OEMs, MROs and independent specialists alike are working
to refine their ability to interpret engine operating data and
proactively address potential problems, reports Bernard Fitzsimons.
Engine health
and efficiency
data, he says, and the GEnx goes a step further by
capturing data at a higher rate rather than just a few
snapshots during the flight. Web-based access
means customers, in turn, get 24/7 access to the
same monitoring tools that we have, and they get the
advantage of having the latest performance models
based on what weve learned about our fleet.
The prime parameters are exhaust gas temper-
ature (EGT) and core speeds, says Subit. We also
use fuel flow, which tends to be a little noisier than
the other two, it has a little bit more scattering.
Others depend on the engine installation. Pres-
sures are considered, and newer engines provide
compressor discharge temperatures and the inter-
stage temperature between the low pressure and
high pressure systems. Vibration indications from
both high and low pressure spools are monitored,
along with oil pressure and chips in the lubrica-
tion system.
Parameter watch
Rolls-Royce uses EHM as part of its Total-
Care services to track the performance of thou-
50 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
sands of engines on around 5.5 million flights an-
nually from operations centres in Derby, Indi-
anapolis and Dahlewitz in Germany. The Derby
centre monitors and analyses more than 50,000
hours of data each day.
The main engine parameters, shaft speeds
and turbine gas temperature (TGT), are used to
give a clear view of the overall health of the en-
gine, says technical operations manager David
Kenning. Pressure and temperature sensors fit-
ted in the Trent engines gas path enable the per-
formance of each of the main modules fan,
intermediate and high-pressure compressors,
and the high, intermediate and low-pressure tur-
bines to be calculated.
The sensors are fitted between all modules, ex-
cept where the temperature is too high for reliable
measurements to be made. Vibration sensors
provide valuable information on the condition of
all the rotating components, he adds. An elec-
tronic magnetic chip detector is fitted to trap any
debris in the oil system that may have been caused
by unusual wear to bearings or gears.
Other sensors are used to assess the health of
the fuel system (pump, metering valve and filter);
the oil system (pump and filter); the cooling air
system and the nacelle ventilation. As engine op-
eration can vary significantly between flights be-
cause of local temperatures or pilot selection of
reduced thrust, data from the aircraft to provide
thrust setting, ambient conditions and bleed ex-
traction status is also used.
The data is acquired by an aircraft condition
monitoring system (ACMS) which captures snap-
shots during takeoff and climb and in cruise, where
the sensor data is captured and collected into a
short report. If there are unusual conditions, such
as an engine exceeding its TGT limits during take-
off, it generates an event report containing a short
history of key parameters to support rapid and ef-
fective trouble-shooting of the problem. Finally, a
summary report produced at the end of the flight
captures information such as maximum condi-
tions experienced during the flight and power re-
ductions selected during takeoff and climb.
The ACMS reports are then transmitted to the
ground using the ACARS data link over either
VHF radio or satellite link while the aircraft is in
flight. Analysis is by a Rolls-Royce company spe-
cialising in EHM analysis, Optimized Systems and
Solutions (OSyS). The snapshot data is trended so
that subtle changes in condition from one flight
to another can be detected. OSyS uses automated
algorithms based on neural networks to compare
the trended data in real time with what is expected
under the conditions in which the engine is flying,
fusing multiple sensor information to provide
more reliable detection capability.
Significant deviations from normal operating
conditions are confirmed by an OSyS analyst
based in the operations centre, then sent to the
aircraft operator and logged by the Rolls-Royce
technical help desk. Trended data, as well as data
from other ACMS reports, is uploaded onto the
Rolls-Royce Aeromanager website, so aircraft op-
erators can view the health of their engine fleet.
The EHM signature will typically highlight a
change in an engine characteristic. Rolls-Royce
engineers then work with the OSyS analysts to
assess the most likely physical cause of a partic-
ular signature, how an operator can confirm this
and how urgently the issue needs to be ad-
dressed. If an issue affecting the aircraft opera-
tion is confirmed, the operations centre will
respond by dispatching field service engineers
and replacement parts, or scheduling a service.
As the single biggest fleet manager in the
world and the largest procurer of engine overhaul
services, Rolls-Royce says it generates economies
that can be passed on to customers. During the
recession, the company adds, aircraft covered by
TotalCare largely maintained their flying levels,
whereas those not covered by the service were
impacted more significantly. Over the past three
years, it says, fleet disruption has been reduced
by 30 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
MRO approach
Lufthansa Technik uses both the GE diagnos-
tics tool and Intel Decision Solutions Trend An-
alytics Module, which it co-developed with Intel.
Its ECM forms part of an integrated product, says
Sebastian Giljohann, director innovation man-
agement aircraft maintenance with LHT Frank-
furt: Our output format depends on the engine
type and which ECM system we use.
The company, accordingly, does not provide
charts for operators to do their own ECM. Our
competence is the intelligent interpretation of
the trend data and other relevant information to
consistent recommendations, says Giljohann.
The near future should see LHT able to connect
other related information with the current data
to give an improved recommendation and also
offer an ECM system with both new functions
and a wider variety of recommendations.
The accumulation of historic data and mainte-
nance findings also helps, he explains: The larger
the amount of empiric information, the better the
recommendation. The collected experience over
more than 10 years of ECM and contact with the
shops and hangar staff ensure a closed feedback
loop and enables us to learn what the real cause
Lufthansa Technik trend charts showing deviation of normalised exhaust gas temperature from baseline (delEGTR@N1R, left), deviation of normalised fuel flow
from baseline (delFFR@N1R, right) and deviation of normalised N2 shaft speed from baseline (delN2R@N1R, centre).
Gain an insight into airline maintenance strategy and fleet requirements
Learn about core maintenance challenges for independent MRO shops
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52 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
was and whether an alert was justified. I think this
is a key competence of our ECM product.
For the future, he adds, one key competence
for the technological development of an ECM
system is knowing what data is relevant to give a
useful recommendation, and knowing about the
combination and processing of that data in algo-
rithms to recognise wear earlier.
Earlier alerts
GE Aviation, too, aims to get findings to the
customer fast. Subit says his system can process
the data it receives within about 20 minutes: Any
alerts triggered by the algorithms are available for
review by our monitoring team and the customer
shortly thereafter. Within an hour were typically
able to make a determination and if necessary pro-
vide the customer notification on recommended
actions that need to be taken before the next flight
or at the next scheduled maintenance opportu-
nity, depending on the urgency of what we see in
the signal and the type of load were detecting.
A notification report to the customer sum-
marises what weve seen, a description of the sus-
pected root cause and a list of recommended actions
which typically include reviewing their mainte-
nance records for something that could explain the
shift or specific inspections per the manual.
The diagnostics tool is also central to under-
standing emerging field issues and developing fixes
for them, though the speed of implementation
varies. If we have an issue where we think we can
isolate it based on a couple of observations and find
that signature, we can typically put a new alert in
place within a few weeks. If its an issue then that
the diagnostics analysis and hardware condition in-
dicate is going to require some kind of design
change then naturally that can take months.
Airlines are already using the diagnostic system
to help manage field issue containment pro-
grammes until hardware solutions or maintenance
opportunities (or both) are available, says Subit:
They use diagnostics to help monitor the progres-
sion of an issue within the hardware in the engine
until they can put the solution in place. They also
use the diagnostic tools to optimise time on wing,
removals and on-wing maintenance scheduling.
The big thing that diagnostics delivers for
our operators is event avoidance, he says. Being
able to see the signals of a pending mode that
could cause distress to the engine before it results
in higher or incremental shop visit cost.
Automated analysis
MTU Maintenance is in the process of imple-
menting automated diagnostic analyses based on
the extensive knowledge it has accumulated. And
it is gradually combining multiple sources of data
from operational performance monitoring,
line-maintenance troubleshooting, hardware
condition assessment during shop visits and ad-
vanced testing with its advanced workscoping
capability to create an expert system for engine
health management.
The MTUPlus ETM platform developed by
MTU Maintenance uses performance data col-
lected both electronically via satellite and man-
ually via email to draw a performance sheet,
taking into account several crucial parameters. If
there are shifts within the values the system alerts
the MTU engineers, who analyse these shifts and
give customers the appropriate recommenda-
tions for corrective action.
Unlike OEM solutions, MTU Maintenance
provides one platform for all engines types, says
Dr Uwe Zachau, director industrial engineering
at MTU Maintenance: This means less training
for the engineers handling the ETM, but cus-
tomers also benefit from a less complicated sys-
tem and can have all engines in their fleet
monitored at once. Other advantages include
engine performance analysis and management,
automated alerts and reports, and individual
alert levels. Customers are free to combine differ-
ent engine parameters that allow the detection
of engine failure and to freely adjust the level of
sensitivity, a capability that MTU says is particu-
larly useful for airlines operating older fleets.
The ETM tool can also be used for perform-
ance management. Monitoring EGT deteriora-
tion, for example, can indicate the best time for
a water wash. A water wash will not significantly
improve engine performance while EGT remains
relatively stable, but could do so if the tempera-
ture increased significantly. Maintenance work
can be planned much more efficiently and in
greater detail, avoiding unexpected costs for the
One challenge in ECM is limited instrumen-
tation and transmission of data: Zachau suggests
that airlines could ask the manufacturers for
more reliable and flexible data transfer solutions
for future aircraft with error correction and data
transmission during all flight phases. In the
meantime, additional monitoring kits are avail-
able for some in-service engines. The additional
instrumentation can improve the observability
and differentiation of engine faults.
On some aircraft, airlines could reduce meas-
urement uncertainty caused by non-stabilised
operating conditions at takeoff by modifying the
snapshot logics to increase the stabilisation time.
Some line maintenance actions by the airline in-
fluence the engine performance and thus ECM
trends. A direct interface between the airlines
maintenance record system and the ECM tool
would optimise the information exchange from
the airlines line maintenance to the monitoring
engineer, Zachau suggests.
On-board solutions are being considered for
upcoming ECM applications, he adds. A separate
unit in the aircraft would handle the data reduc-
tion and analysis, with only the results being
transferred to the ground station. He says this ap-
proach could solve many issues connected to the
transfer of data, enabling a significant increase
in the amount of input data as well as increasing
the monitoring frequency: As a future vision, the
integration of condition monitoring into the en-
gine control could provide benefits for an opti-
mised operation of the engine in terms of engine
This example from EZECM's EMMPowered software shows the master actuator in the failsafe position.
Although this is LPC-related it is the typical trend indication for high compressor inefficiency. Note the
step increase in EGT accompanied by a more subtle increase in N2 rpm but a step decrease in PS3/PT2. In
this particular case the loss of low compressor pressure caused by the opening of the 2.5 master actuator
resulted in the engine increasing N2 speed by adding extra fuel, which increased the EGT. After the 2.5
master actuator was replaced the trends returned to normal.
53 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
fuel burn, engine life and engine maintenance
Independent view
One of the big advantages of having an
ECM programme is that you can determine
what needs to be repaired, says Jerry Sullivan,
president of independent specialist EZECM.
So instead of getting a $1.2m repair bill it might
be $450,000 because you know up front what
needs to be fixed, youve planned for the engine
removal and have spares lined up. Parts in an
emergency are a lot more expensive than if you
plan ahead.
Now in its 20th year of operation, EZECMs
EMMPowered software was written originally
for the IAE V2500-A1s and A5 engines, he says,
but has evolved from there to handle every major
jet aero-engine for operators large and small all
over the world. We were one of the first software
programmes that actually used N1 as the basis for
all of the other flight parameters, he recalls.
Back in the 1990s most of the OEMs were still
using engine pressure ratios, which require a lot
of smoothing because of the wide fluctuations
you get from an EPR-based programme. So by the
time they smooth out all the data you dont really
see what the trends are trying to tell you.
A big advantage of EMMPowered, Sullivan
explains, is that the output is in a uniform for-
mat whatever the engine. And where many op-
erators log the data purely to meet regulatory
requirements, the smart ones actually listen to
what were telling them. They plan engine re-
movals based on what the EGT margins look
like, and they use our information for trouble-
EZECM generates monthly reports that in-
clude all the trending information and charts.
Sometimes we get into vibration analysis, some
is mandated through airworthiness directives,
some people just want to know, he says. But
well actually make a call on an engine. If we see
something wrong well issue an alert and tell
them how to troubleshoot the engine.
One problem with flight hour agreements,
Sullivan believes, is that they conceal the cost of
ECM: A lot of clients think its free, but of course
its not, and sometimes clients would be better
off paying for ECM and then building their own
reserves for the future repairs than entering into
flight hour agreements.
ECM is not only useful for predicting when an
engine will come off or what kind of problems it
has, he adds, but also to assess the results of a
shop visit. A new engine is supposed to have a
certain fuel flow trend line, maybe a certain EGT
trend line. Lets say the EGT margin is 60 degrees,
you can watch it go from zero to 60 in a five year
span, but if an engine comes out of the shop and
its already at 40 degrees, youve only got 20 de-
grees worth of margin and youre supposed to
have 60 for a new repair. So after the fact is just
as important as before the fact.
Diagnostic advances
GE Aviation, says Subit, continues to refine its
models and analytic capabilities. The GEnx is fit-
ted with an engine monitoring unit that records
data at higher frequencies than the traditional
snapshot data of takeoff, climb and cruise, so
were able to get data throughout the full flight
That has been a real boon to us, says
Lorenzo Escriche, manager of EHM systems de-
velopment and a member of the new digital serv-
ices and solutions division. It really does solve
issues much quicker. There are some things we
dont understand, but once we look at the data it
becomes clear whats happening, were able to ex-
plain it to ourselves and the customers.
The company is also trying to get more out
of the data it receives by leveraging anomaly
detection analytics platforms from other parts
of GE. Were taking those analytic platforms
and working them into the use of our data to
help us see more and see it more accurately, he
Results so far, after two years studying one en-
gine model in an off-line environment, are prom-
ising, he says: Weve been able to identify failure
modes earlier, in some cases a few days to a week
earlier than what we see with our current mod-
els. Escriche adds: Weve been using them to
look at larger data sets that we dont have access
to in our diagnostic centre today.
The next step, adds Subit, is a new-generation
diagnostics system incorporating these advanced
analytic capabilities. Well be supplementing
the physics-based models that we have now that
were constantly working to refine with advanced
analytical capabilities, all with the goal of being
able to see more and see it earlier, he says.
Rather than just trending to limits were looking
for when the behaviour of the subsystem is start-
ing to show a change, and how is that affecting
the availability of the engine and our ability to
provide more advanced notice to the customers.
Thats really what its all about, telling the cus-
tomers with confidence that were seeing some-
thing sooner so that they can plan better for it.
V2500 malfunctioning PT2/TT2 probe detected by EZECM's EMMPowered software. The sharp decrease
in EGT and increase in N2 rpm and PS3/PT2 ratio are indicators of a blocked HPT nozzle guide vane area.
Borescope in this case was not necessary and the answer was found on the DMU Take Off Report. The
TT2 for both engines and the TAT recorded for the aircraft showed a significant difference in the TT2
recorded for the problem engine. The TT2/PT2 probe was replaced and the trends returned to the trend
line defined by the black dots established before the trend shift. The erroneous TT2 not only resulted in
an error in the electronic engine control scheduling of the engine but also caused an error in correcting
the parameters for trending.
One key competence for the technological development of
an ECM system is knowing what data is relevant to give a
useful recommendation, and knowing about the combination
and processing of that data in algorithms to recognise wear
Sebastian Giljohann, director innovation management aircraft maintenance,
LHT Frankfurt
54 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
ast year component maintenance com-
prised about a fifth of the $50bn commer-
cial aviation maintenance market, and the
lions share of that work was done on rotables.
Among the different classes of aircraft compo-
nent, rotables are those with periodic service in-
tervals, meaning they need to be replaced or
repaired after specified periods. Examples in-
clude pumps, actuators, valves, gyroscopes, land-
ing gear and radar systems.
Some of these items have hard time limits,
which define their maximum service intervals;
others can stay flying longer if they meet certain
conditions. Such on-condition parts provide a
degree of flexibility for aircraft operators but at
the expense of predictable maintenance costs
and schedule visibility.
Once an airline or other operator identifies a
part approaching its scheduled service date, it
will order a replacement or procure the relevant
item from its own stock, though the latter option
is rarer nowadays since it is cheaper for operators
to use joint parts pool and just-in-time delivery
than manage and hold their own costly invento-
The removed and unserviceable part is then
routed for repair or overhaul to an authorised re-
pair station, which will evaluate its condition and
conduct the necessary work. Once deemed serv-
iceable the rotable is held in stock and is available
for another operator who belongs to the joint
parts pool.
In addition, the joint parts pool may contain
rotables that are harvested from retired airframes
MRO companies sit at one end of a rotables supply chain that has evolved considerably in the past
decade due to innovations in parts pooling, logistics and inventory management technology. Yet the
component maintenance market has also undergone significant change, as scores of serviceable parts
are recovered from aircraft retired at ever-younger ages, and independent repair stations begin to brush
up against component manufacturers that also want a slice of the aftermarket.
Rotable repairs
and engines designated for part-out. Prior to en-
tering the joint parts pool, these harvested rota-
bles are returned to airworthiness after
undergoing an inspection, repair as necessary,
and bench testing.
Parts surplus
With new aircraft production rates on the rise
and fuel costs still high, aircraft are being
squeezed from active service and into the scrap
and part-out market earlier in their lives. This has
flooded the market with serviceable compo-
nents, driving down the repair and replacement
costs of older parts.
At Florida-based GA Telesis which repairs
components on most major aircraft and engine
lines a distribution division is ever-alert to en-
56 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
gine or aircraft dismantling opportunities that
will yield valuable components. Its repair arm
gives distribution managers overhaul estimates
and those managers then raise repair orders for
airworthiness certification. On average, in-de-
mand rotables are prised-off old aircraft and into
the repair shop within 30 days of part-out com-
mencing, and GA Telesis aims to then sell or ex-
change each unit within four months of overhaul.
As stated above, many of GA Telesis service-
able rotables will be exchanged via parts pools,
the popularity of which has skyrocketed in the
last decade. The basic premise is that its cheaper
and more efficient for a group of airlines (or other
users of aircraft parts) to draw from a shared pool
of components than keep individual inventories
full of items gathering dust.
The joint pool concept is also popular with
rotable repair shops, as Russell Bonnell, presi-
dent of MRO business units at GA Telesis ex-
plains: One of the methods our parent company
uses to increase global rotable inventory avail-
ability is inventory pooling. As [our parent] in-
creases existing support contracts the inventory
typically increases along with the contracts. We
benefit from these contracts directly as we are
contracted to perform the repair or overhaul of
the product being supported.
OEM relationships
How maintenance shops deal with the man-
ufacturers of the components they repair is an
evolving tale. Twenty years ago, it was mainly the
engine companies which actively sought a promi-
nent position in the aftermarket. Now, though,
many smaller OEMs of niche components and
subassemblies are making their presence felt in
the territory of independent MROs, sometimes
by restricting access to maintenance manuals,
testing software, spare parts and other intellec-
tual property.
Other advances have been made by medium
to large-sized component OEMs offering com-
prehensive service contracts, often at the point of
sale, of the type that have historically made bet-
ter sense for complex equipment like engines,
where operators sought to forego the hassle of
dealing with different companies for the repair of
each part of a powerplant. Kellstrom reports that
the improved reliability of modern avionics has
brought many avionics OEMs into the aftermar-
ket, since the longer service intervals can justify
long-term contracts.
Lower-tier manufacturers often dont possess
the necessary MRO capabilities to justify costly
support contracts, so many have pursued bolt-on
acquisitions to enhance their service offerings.
One example is Ametek, an electrical instru-
ments supplier that bought two Florida repair
stations Aero Components International and
Avtech Avionics and Instruments in late 2012.
Both of the acquired businesses extend our port-
folio of MRO services with ACI adding fuel repair
capabilities and Avtech broadening our expertise
in next generation avionics, stated Ametek
chairman and CEO Frank Hermance at the time.
The impact of such purchases is to change the
nature of the MRO market. Whereas Avtech and
Aero Components would previously have com-
peted on a level field with other MROs, as well as
with each other, under an OEM umbrella they
could gain distinct advantages such as preferen-
tial access to parts and data.
We are always seeking solid participatory re-
lationships with the OEMs on which we repair
their components and gain access to proprietary
information, says Dave Bailey, director of repair
operations at the High Tech Avionics & Acces-
sories (HTAA), a wholly owned subsidiary of
Kellstrom Defense Aerospace.
Working together
At its Miramar, Florida facility, HTAA per-
forms repairs and overhauls on a wide array of
avionics and other rotables for Boeing and Airbus
aircraft, including, but not limited to: air data
and flight management computers; CDUs; land-
ing gear, wheels and brakes; primary display pan-
els; hydraulic and pneumatic valves; cockpit
recorders; fuses; radar systems; and cabin pres-
sure controls.
Such a range of electrical and mechanical
repair capabilities obviously brings the com-
pany into contact with many OEMs, who also
embrace the opportunity to sell their piece
parts and see HTAA as supporting their product
At Florida-based GA Telesis a distribution division is ever-alert to engine or aircraft dismantling opportunities that will yield valuable components.
58 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
out in service, according to Bailey. Often this
is the case for older equipment that the manu-
facturer finds it uneconomical to support, and
thus prefers a third party to do the legwork. For
instance, testing software and equipment re-
strictions by manufacturers mean that only
they can service the newest laser gyroscopes,
leaving the support of older gyros to third-party
repair stations.
At GA Telesis, Bonnell supports the theory
that the greatest opportunities for independent
OEMs lie in older or so-called legacy equip-
ment, where OEMs tend to vacate the aftermar-
ket, as opposed to new generation components
for which the manufacturers are actively pursu-
ing support contracts.
While the OEMs may wish to support the
full market, as resources tighten, they respon-
sibly place focus on where future revenue
growth lies, typically areas represented within
the new generation product lines, thus leaving
behind legacy product, licensing out or selling
off these product lines, he says. The feeling I
am getting is OEMs are being more protective
of newer generation product, namely product
data support and spares from the independent
MRO market.
In general, though, GA Telesis maintains
good relationships with the manufacturers,
which it relies on to replace any products con-
sumed in the repair cycle and for technical data
support. The OEMs also benefit because GA
Telesis feeds overhauled rotables back into the
supply pools that the manufacturers aftermarket
support business relies upon. Indeed, 15 per cent
of the MROs customers are the OEMs. Informa-
tion flows the other way, too, as Bonnell explains:
We provide the OEMs with field data identify-
ing premature or unusual failures which may
help them with their prescribed methods of
trend analysis, which could be used for future
product improvements.
Such improvements, of course, are not always
strictly in an MROs interest, as better reliability
could mean less maintenance work. On the other
hand, terrible reliability might lead an airline to
change its maintenance provider, meaning zero
work. It is important our salespeople along with
our quality and engineering groups sell partner-
ships with the common goal of improved relia-
bility, comments Bonnell.
New technologies and
To stay ahead of the OEMs, independent
rotable repair shops must of course maintain
market-leading standards of quality, safety and
efficiency. This means periodic investment in
equipment, tooling and processes such as lean
manufacturing. HTAA, for instance, is currently
adopting a systematic approach to safety man-
agement as part of its quality programme.
GA Telesis, meanwhile, has spent heavily in
the past year updating its hardware. Changes in-
clude: new automated generator, hydraulic pump
and engine starter test stands with improved re-
liability and lower testing times; an additional
composites paint booth; new infra-red technol-
ogy that reduces the risk of discovering honey-
comb delamination after the cure process; new
production software for materials and labour
management; and, soon, the introduction of
soda blasting in the composites shop, which
should cut the hours needed to clean, degrease
and strip paint.
Such advances and the reductions to turn-
around time that they offer should prove vital
in maintaining independent MRO shops place
in todays dynamic and multi-faceted rotable re-
pairs market.
We are always seeking solid participatory relationships with
the OEMs on which we repair their components and gain
access to proprietary information.
Dave Bailey, director of repair operations, High Tech Avionics & Accessories
Kellstrom specialises in the airborne equipment segments of the global aviation services aftermarket.
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60 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
irst taking to the skies in 1968, the 737 fam-
ily of aircraft has now become Boeings
most famous, growing into a nine-strong
series. The single-aisle aircraft, which was first
developed as a lower cost alternative to the
OEMs earlier models, has received acclaim from
MROs and operators for being a reliable aircraft
to work with.
The Next Generation 737 (737 NG), compris-
ing the -600, -700, -800, and -900ER, has quickly
become the model of the moment, and now with
the 737 MAX in the development stages set for
delivery from 2017 theres no doubting that the
OEM is on a vigorous path of innovation.
The 737 family
There were 3,000 737 Classics (which com-
prise the -300, -400, and -500 types) operating
when the 737 NG was being developed, explains
Km Ali, director maintenance economics, Boe-
ing. From the earlier models successes and fail-
ures, the OEM developed the 737 NG series. The
wing of the 737 NG is completely new and is
based upon the success of the 757 and 777 wings;
it has an integral machined ribs and corrosion
resistant materials, says Ali.
As expected, MROs have had to make addi-
tional investments with the introduction of the
NG. One area is avionics, notes Chris Jessup, senior
vice president, airframe and engineering services
at AAR. Out of all aircraft that AAR is supporting
the 737 family has the lowest capital expenditure
requirements on an annual basis, he says, describ-
ing the 737 as one of the easiest fleets to maintain
and support and be able to forecast trends.
Similarly, Aviation Technical Services (ATS) re-
gards the 737 as one of its core competencies,
having worked with the aircraft for forty years.
However, Rob Tilson, VP of sales and marketing,
sees the difference in age and technology as being
a cost differential between the classics and NG.
The difference in the two is that you see less
man hour demand, says Mick Adams, managing
director at Monarch Aircraft Engineering
(MAEL), adding that the real challenge when
working on a NG compared to a Classic is having
engineers qualified on legacy fleets who can also
transition to support new technology fleets. The
newer fleets might have less man hours but
could be no less demanding in the need for skills
and qualifications, he explains.
Boeings 737 is an integral part of the aviation industry and a
popular aircraft type for both MROs and operators. Hannah Davies
looks at maintenance procedures and issues, future demand and the
OEMs GoldCare programme.
Boeing 737
The Next Generation 737 design builds upon
the successful 737 family of airplanes and then
takes it a step further with design for damage tol-
erance and durability, says Ali. However, there
are a lot of tooling transfers from the Classic
model to the NG, and a lot of adaptability among
the different generations. Yet, MROs appear to be
in agreement that in relation to MRO work the
737 is a relatively easy platform to maintain, as
Jessup puts it.
In addition, the 737 NG spends two fewer
days per year in a hangar than comparable air-
planes, meaning an additional profit opportunity
of $600,000 per year, according to Boeing. The
OEM also claims that the aircrafts dispatch reli-
ability is the highest in the industry, and cur-
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62 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
rently averages at 99.7 per cent using the in-
dustry standard calculation. This means that
only 3.3 flights get delayed due to technical rea-
sons for every 1,000 flights, or an airplane gets
into technical flight disruption after two months
of operation, notes Ali.
Since the NG model was introduced to the
market it has had a few tweaks, most notably
being the upgrade on the earlier models, with the
addition of blended winglets. Winglets are wing-
tip devices that aim to provide several benefits to
operators, the main one being a reduction in fuel
burn. According to Boeing, the winglets can re-
duce fuel burn by 3.5 to 4 per cent on missions
greater than 3,000 nautical miles (depending on
the airlines routes etc).
Other improvements include the new wing
on the 737NG that has a dual-slotted flap system
with 30 per cent fewer parts and titanium tracks,
which means no corrosion and easier mainte-
nance, according to Boeing.
A common expectation from carriers and
MROs when a new model of aircraft enters the
market is to benefit from a reduction in opera-
tional costs, if not immediately then certainly in
the long run. According to Boeing, cash operat-
ing costs for the 737-800 are lower than previous
With only six per cent of the total mainte-
nance cost being claimed by airframe mainte-
nance the 737 NG is presenting itself as a very
financially attractive model. Boeing planned for
the 737 NG to have 15 per cent lower airframe
maintenance costs compared to the Classics, but
with further improvements in component reli-
ability and check intervals the airframe mainte-
nance cost it is actually closer to 20 per cent,
according to Ali, versus comparable single aisle
Maintaining the 737
Boeing describes the 737 as a good friend of
maintenance teams at airlines and MROs due to
the excellent quality of the product itself. The
OEM largely thanks a change in philosophy of
the Maintenance Planning Document (MPD) for
the aircrafts good reputation when it comes to
maintenance. The MPD has moved away from the
past practice of letter checks at specific intervals
and instead focuses on each task having its own
optimum interval and its own driving parameter
months, flight hours or landing cycles.
According to Boeing, the change in the MPD
has resulted in an immensely flexible mainte-
nance programme, which an airline can package
according to its own airplane utilisation pattern.
The 737 is a very robust and highly reliable
airplane, says Jessup, describing the aircraft as
being core to its network. The MRO spends on
average over one million man hours annually on
the 737 family and works with its customers to
help them modify their programmes by analysing
the reliability data and trends to help them keep
costs down while maintaining reliability.
All narrowbody manufacturers have a
unique set of requirements related to mainte-
nance, according to ATS Tilson, commenting
that avionics and technology develops with each
new version of the 737, which forces MROs to
MAEL, which offers base maintenance, com-
ponent support, part M, technical services, de-
sign, modifications, programmes and repairs for
the 737, sees a number of different approaches to
how maintenance can be planned for the 737 from
operator to operator. Some customers choose
maintenance plans by letter check and calendar
whereas some prefer to have their maintenance
by flying hour rate and cycle, Adams explains. As
a result the MRO has seen an increasing demand
for equalised/phased maintenance, where large
packages of work are broken into smaller ele-
ments and worked across the year.
Indeed, maintenance schedules depend on
the individual requirements of customers;
Lufthansa Technik (LHT), which also provides
full MRO services, line maintenance, base main-
tenance, engine overhaul and component serv-
ices for the 737, offers its customers customised
maintenance programmes. These can vary from
block checks to phased concepts, according to a
short range fleet maintenance specialist at LHT.
Although the movement from traditional let-
ter checks to task-based maintenance is not re-
liability driven, claims LHT, the concept allows
an MRO to define more efficient work packages
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and to make better use of natural ground time,
which increases aircraft availability.
Aside from developing tailored maintenance
programmes for each customer, an MRO also has
to protect its reputation and address any safety or
maintenance issues immediately. An Airworthi-
ness Directive (AD) was issued in November 2003
Flight Standards Information Bulletin for Air-
worthiness (FSAW 03-10B) reporting scribe
marks along fuselage skin lap joints, butt joints,
and other areas of several aircraft caused by the
use of sharp tools during paint and sealant re-
The problems with scribe marks have not
been a widespread issue for the 737NG as only a
limited number of airplanes in the fleet are af-
fected by mandatory inspections and the find-
ings to date have been insignificant, says Boeing.
AARs Jessup attributes increased awareness
among customers, maintenance organisations
and technicians as the main reason behind the
reduction of scribe marks.
Boeing also acknowledges common in-service
issues with the 737 NG family as being pneu-
matic system (bleed air) reliability, thrust re-
verser indications and engine starting
component reliability. Boeing states that it is
working closely with the suppliers of these sys-
tems and components to develop design
changes to improve reliability for both produc-
tion and the in-service fleet.
Due to these maintenance issues and other
contributing factors aircraft arrive for mainte-
nance in different conditions, some come in for
checks in a reasonably good condition, says
Adams, whereas some have corrosion around
the wet areas, toilets, galleys and door thresh-
olds. However, MAEL doesnt see anything out
of the ordinary and to be expected when under-
taking heavy maintenance on these aircraft.
When we see corrosion, its primarily in the
interior cabin wet areas, E&E areas and baggage
bin compartments, says Jessup, when discussing
maintenance issues for the 737. AAR states that
corrosion findings are becoming less severe and
more manageable due to improved maintenance
programmes such as the installation of moisture
barriers under lavatory and galley areas.
The Next Generation 737 design builds upon the successful
737 family of airplanes and then takes it a step further with
design for damage tolerance and durability.
Km Ali, director maintenance economics, Boeing
The Next-Generation 737 final assembly line in Renton, Washington.
65 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
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However, Boeing says that corrosion is not a
major issue for the Next-Generation 737 fleet,
but it did make several design changes for the in-
stallation of wet area cabin floor panels and cargo
hold floors earlier on in the programme, where
with the introduction of gel tape, the structure is
kept free from moisture.
The general consensus among MROs is that
they are prepared when it comes to working with
composites but agree that the ever-increasing use
of them has resulted in necessary further invest-
ment. Tilson says ATS has adapted to new op-
portunities to support this area in the airframe
and components businesses.
While composite materials are not new, the
aviation industry is engaging in more composite
structures, according to AAR, inclusive of inspec-
tion and repair, as the 787 and other new air-
frames enter into service.
MAEL has its own composite facilities and an
in-depth knowledge of composites with both
base maintenance repairs and line maintenance
support, says Adams. When working with com-
posite materials the inspection methods are
born out of non-destructive testing (NDT) and
MAEL has the in-house capability for these tech-
niques. Adams describes the MRO as having a
really good relationship with suppliers who can
support it if need be and MAEL is regularly
called to support operators in various areas to
provide in line maintenance where there might
be NDT required.
With the increased use of composites on 737
platforms, MROs have had to adapt their services
in order to provide suitable component support,
on-wing composite repairs and processes. How-
ever, Boeing says that when working with com-
posites there should be little difference in
inspection techniques.
The increased use of composites will reduce
non-routine maintenance related to corrosion
and fatigue cracking associated with traditional
aluminium structures, says Jessup, adding that
when a composite structure is required AAR is
experienced in bonded repair techniques.
There are more than 4,300 Next-Generation
737s in operation throughout the world at airlines
using a wide variety of business models, says
Bernard Hensey, VP, fleet management, Boeing,
when explaining how Boeings aftermarket sup-
port GoldCare programme can provide cus-
tomers with improved technical dispatch
66 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
reliability, optimum airplane availability and re-
duced risk while getting the best from their Boe-
ing 737 fleets.
Through GoldCare, Boeing provides access to
global fleet data, proprietary statistical analysis
tools, a regional footprint combined with global
support infrastructure and OEM-driven
processes in a bid to drive maintenance and ma-
terials programme effectiveness and efficiency.
Through the introduction of the programme,
Boeing aims to provide global customer support
via its dedicated operation centre in Seattle, re-
gional service and its worldwide field service rep-
resentative network. The OEM sees GoldCare as
a tool to help optimise customers reliability and
maintenance programmes.
MAEL agrees that GoldCare is an excellent
solution where the OEM is backing up mainte-
nance cost guarantees, and something that is
very important for MROs if they want to be suc-
cessful in the long term, as having a good rela-
tionship with the OEM is hugely beneficial.
ATS views Boeings GoldCare programme as
similar to other full service care initiatives, be-
lieving that it is only of interest to a certain mar-
ket segment. Component suppliers, for example,
may wish to look at the GoldCare programme
and how best to support it for its broader cus-
tomer base.
With regards to difficulties that the OEM may
face when launching GoldCare on an aircraft that
is already in service, Hensey says that any
change in maintenance operation is a difficult
decision. Therefore Boeing has to present the
airline with a strong set of data and benefits to
prove that GoldCare is the most beneficial way
for it to provide technical management of its cus-
tomers fleet, allowing the airline to focus on pas-
senger experience.
A primary strength of GoldCare, according
to the OEM, is the additional insight that the
programme delivers through maintenance prog-
nostics to better maintain the airplanes. Hensey
adds: Improved maintenance leads to increased
fleet reliability, highlighting it as a top goal for
customers as their fleets age.
In addition, Boeing has identified processes
to seamlessly integrate GoldCare into cus-
tomers existing systems and infrastructure to
make a transition to GoldCare as efficient and
easy as possible.
While AAR hasnt seen an impact from Gold-
Care because its customer base manages their
own maintenance requirements internally, Jes-
sup explains how Boeing offers MROs of the 737
day-to-day engineering support and also partic-
ipates in customers maintenance review board
sessions. AAR then works with its customers to
analyse trends and anticipate future demands,
sharing all the information with Boeing via its
ATS puts its supportive and collaborative
working relationship with the OEM down to its
position as the only major commercial heavy
maintenance MRO base in Everett. According to
Tilson, Boeing personnel are regularly working
onsite with its engineers to develop new solu-
tions and procedures, further supporting the
67 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
opinion that Boeing works hard to support its
MRO network.
Future outlook
The 737 MAX is, of course, the biggest thing
on the horizon for Boeing. The 737 MAX pro-
gramme promises to take full advantage of ex-
isting industry-wide 737 maintenance
infrastructure, says the OEM. Like with all new
aircraft, teething troubles are to be expected and
Boeing appears to be prepared for all outcomes
by offering maintenance differences training in
order to assist MROs in supporting the MAX.
The MAX will also take advantage of advance-
ments in connectivity, offering customers the ca-
pability to use real-time data to make operational
decisions around maintenance on the ground
during flight. Aside from providing operators
with more efficient fleet management solutions,
the MAXs enhanced connectivity will also ben-
efit passengers, as the demand for more wireless
access to information and entertainment in flight
continues to grow.
Looking at the 737 family as a whole, Boeing
explains that there is a continuous endeavour to
improve the airplane not only for passenger con-
veniences but also to make it easier and less
costly to maintain.
Going forward, AAR sees positive trends of
demand for the 737 as all aircraft are still going
to require maintenance, even the NG and highly
anticipated MAX. We see the 737 platform con-
tinuing to represent the largest share of our serv-
ice hours within our domestic 1MRO network,
says Jessup. AAR will also continue to leverage its
1MRO network now made up of six facilities
so that it can work more closely with its cus-
tomers to develop maintenance programmes
that keep their costs predictable and add conven-
ience for them.
AARs 1MRO facilities are all in North America,
where there is a lot of demand for the 737; its the
largest aircraft fleet domestically, notes Jessup.
However, the MRO has seen demand for larger
maintenance operations, and has recently signed a
letter of intent to explore opening a technical main-
tenance centre for commercial aircraft in Russia.
ATS also sees demand from different regions
and at different periods throughout the year. The
MROs close geo-political proximity to Boeings
Everett facility is seen as a positive in the eyes of
operators and something the MRO values highly.
Tilson also notes the impact of the changing
landscape in aircraft maintenance. When tech-
nology changes so do the highly qualified tech-
nicians that work with them, so investment in
tooling capability and qualified technician is key
to future growth, he says.
MAEL, meanwhile, sees increasing demand
for 737 maintenance from the UK and Europe.
All industry information shows that there is
going to be a growth for the 737 fleet in our re-
gion, which presents further opportunities for
us, says Adams.
The wing on the 737NG has a dual-slotted flap system with 30 per cent fewer parts and titanium tracks, which means no corrosion and easier maintenance,
according to Boeing.
68 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
he commercial aviation industry is con-
stantly striving to evolve new methods,
improve materials and work collectively
towards the core priority of flight safety.
An average passenger may think of the inher-
ent dangers of flying as being connected to the
failure of the substantial elements of an aircraft
the engines, the avionics, the airframe struc-
ture itself. It is natural to overlook the less obvi-
ous, and largely invisible elements, such as all the
wiring that is used in commercial aircraft.
And yet the integrity of the wiring harnesses
and connectors that enmesh the internal struc-
ture of an aircraft, like veins delivering lifeblood,
couldnt be more important. As automated sys-
tems and new technologies are integrated into
todays commercial airliners, the amount of
wiring required has ballooned.
There are approximately 74 kilometres of
wiring in Boeings 737-300/400/500 models and
around 67 kilometres in the 737-600/700/800/-
900ER (Extended Range) models, all necessary
for a multitude of electrical instrumentation and
sensors. This is a typical amount of wiring in
modern aircraft but it pales in relation to certain
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has 100 kilome-
tres of wiring with over 3,500 connectors and
40,000 cable segments. This is comparatively fru-
gal when considering Airbus A380, which carries
an astonishing 530 kilometres of wiring.
All these kilometres of individual wires need
to be bundled together into a harness and kept en-
tirely safe and functional during the most extreme
environments. Wiring, whether in the airframe or
in the engines, has to withstand all forms of stress,
including bending, cracking, intense heat, humid-
ity, dust, foreign object damage (FOD), moisture,
grease, corrosive fluids, vibration and friction.
Thats a lot of factors to manage during the
decades of an aircrafts operational lifetime, but
the importance of effectively maintaining wiring
harnesses cannot be understated. Any lapse in vig-
ilance can ultimately result in tragedy.
Wiring related disasters
Investigators from the National Transporta-
tion Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that a spark
from faulty and deteriorated wiring caused an ex-
plosion on board the 747-100 TWA Flight 800 in
1996, resulting in the loss of all 230 passengers
and crew. The official NTSB Aircraft Accident Re-
port determined that the probable cause of the
The integrity of any aircrafts wiring system is absolutely vital for
safe flying. Once overlooked with tragic consequences, wiring
harnesses and connectors now receive the crucial attention and
maintenance they warrant, says Nick Rice.
Wired for
accident was an explosion of the centre wing
fuel tank, resulting from ignition of the flamma-
ble fuel/air mixture in the tank.
The short-circuiting of heavily worn wires was
also cited as the cause of a cargo door suddenly
opening at 23,000ft on United Airlines Flight 811
in 1989, sucking nine passengers out to their
deaths on the 747. Another terrible loss occurred
due to faulty wiring on board Swissair Flight 111
in 1998. Sparks were emitted, possibly from wires
within the inflight entertainment system, which
ignited flammable insulation material causing a
fire to spread to the cockpit. The pilots were sub-
sequently overwhelmed by the flames and the
MD-11 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean with all
229 on board lost.
Again it was a wiring issue that caused the
737-200 Copa Airlines Flight 201 flying from
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70 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
Panama to Colombia to crash in 1992. A malfunc-
tioning wiring harness in the artificial horizon
and altitude indicating instruments triggered in-
termittent short circuits due to a pinched wire.
The captain consequently received flawed instru-
ment readings and the aircraft fell into a steep
dive with no chance for recovery, eventually
crashing into the swampland of the Darin Gap
in Panama with all 47 people lost.
These examples clearly make for very uncom-
fortable reading, but it highlights how imperative
the wiring harnesses and connectors are in any
aircraft. Before the TWA Flight 800 and SwissAir
111 tragedies the wiring on aircraft was ostensibly
a minor concern. In response to these aviation ac-
cidents, the Aging Transport Systems Rulemak-
ing Advisory Committee (ATSRAC) was
chartered to gather industry leaders for the ex-
amination of ageing aircraft systems.
Electrical wiring
interconnection systems
One of the main areas of the evaluation fo-
cused on electrical wiring interconnection sys-
tems (EWIS), which comprises wiring systems
and their components, such as wire splices and
bundle clamps. Many of the results from the AT-
SRAC committee shaped the FAAs regulatory re-
action to the handling and certification of EWIS
and according to the FAAs regulations released
in 2007: Investigations of those accidents and
later examinations of other airplanes showed a
collection of common problems. Deteriorated
wiring, corrosion, improper wire installation and
repairs, and contamination of wire bundles with
metal shavings, dust, and fluids (which would
provide fuel for fire) were common conditions in
representative examples of the ageing fleet of
transport airplanes.
When MROs have to deal with aircraft more
than 20 years old wire checking has to be metic-
ulous. The complete re-wiring of ageing aircraft
has not been adopted and so the issue of wire de-
terioration is tackled with the installation of
EWIS that can monitor wire ageing, in compli-
ance with the Original Equipment Manufacturer
(OEM) Standard Practice Manuals and EWIS
tasks that are incorporated into the Aircraft
Maintenance Programme.
Installing EWIS can be a challenge but pre-
vention and safety is the driving force. Matt
Hansen, director of commercial aircraft group at
EMTEQ, a worldwide leader in the production
and supply of innovative products for the avia-
tion industry, says: EWIS can be complicated
and for many OEMs it can be new to them, which
causes pain. But the spirit of the requirements is
positive, as flight safety is the ultimate goal.
Compliance is definitely more work and more
costly, but in the end, its about flight safety.
The move towards a prevention concept and all
round upgrading can have a positive effect on the
MRO and wiring harnesses sector, as Hansen ex-
plains: Recently we are seeing increased competi-
tion between airlines upgrading their fleets, which
is showing a positive trend for new business poten-
tial. Competition for flying customers is starting
to chip away at recent financial hardships.
New materials and technology
As the wiring harnesses market continues to
evolve, so the perennial size, weight and material
goals are steadily advanced. As Hansen puts it:
The push for smaller size, lower weight, and
higher capacity will never change. Just the same,
speed of delivery, quality of service and low cost
production are staples in what has been a rela-
tively mature market. Supporting the end-cus-
tomer with EWIS compliance is an increasing
need in the market.
New materials and technologies should im-
prove the safety of wiring within modern aircraft
and significantly reduce incidents and crashes.
Established in 1969, the US company Chero-
kee Nation Industries specialises in aerospace
and defence manufacturing and has a long his-
tory of supplying products and services to com-
mercial and government clients such as Boeing,
Lockheed Martin and NASA. Company president
Chris Moody says of the current state of the
wiring harnesses sector: The market for wire
harnesses has become more of a global market
place, with competition coming from all over the
world. We are moving away from the build-to-
print era and into a build-to-concept environ-
ment. Technology has had a major role in this
A repair technician performs a final inspection on a newly repaired electrical harness prior to return to service.
71 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
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evolution, motivating suppliers to become more
With specific regard to new materials Moody
says: The industry is growing and advancing
every day. The newest trend in the aerospace and
defence market is composite braid material. It has
the same properties as its metal counterparts, but
is lighter in weight. Another exciting development
is the use of 3D models. OEMs are now supplying
the models accompanied by the pertinent infor-
mation to build the product. The days of being
supplied a drawing and parts list are in the past.
Moody also confirms that the industry is likely
to see the increased use of self-controlling sys-
tems that are built into an aircraft system to iden-
tify faults via Built-in Test Equipment. These
systems are quickly becoming very complex but
the potential to have self-diagnostics capabilities
is expected to occur in the very near future, he
says. This will enable our industry to identify is-
sues and prevent major problems down the line.
Roland Arnzt, head of the avionics compe-
tence centre for SR Technics one of the worlds
leading providers of technical solutions to air-
lines also emphasises how new materials,
specifically aluminium, will contribute to en-
hanced safety. The development of harnesses
and connectors is, as with every other aircraft sys-
tem or component, going through an on-going
improvement process, he says. Plugs are me-
chanically better developed, smaller and with
better corrosion protection. Cables have new iso-
lation protection and weigh less due to other ma-
terial being used, such as aluminium.
Such new materials will increasingly find a
place on next generation aircraft, as Arnzt con-
tinues: Fibre optical wires and also aluminium
wires in sizes from gage 26, 22, 24, 20 and 18 will
represent the latest standards. There is also a
smaller type of relay in use.
As regards the maintenance of wiring har-
nesses Arnzt is distinctly optimistic. We expect
the handling of wire to become even easier; as
they become smaller and increasingly manufac-
tured from lighter material, and are more resist-
ant to environmental influences, he says. The
change to the use of aluminium material is on-
going and we are seeing harness manufacturing
being outsourced to low cost countries. Hope-
fully, with continuing developments, the prod-
ucts will become more reliable and with a longer
lifecycle and therefore fewer issues.
As with any industry, the evolution of new
technologies and the implementation of new
materials is hoped to have a positive impact
across the board, improving passenger experi-
ence, all round efficiency and therefore profit,
and most crucially, safety. Sam Symonds, presi-
dent and CEO of Co-Operative Industries Aero-
space & Defense (CIA&D), an industry leader and
manufacturer of electrical wiring cables and in-
terconnects for over 66 years, elaborates on more
new developments in the sector.
There are new technologies we are seeing
that offer future potential in the commercial
world. Although not currently applicable to our
commercial airline customers products, we have
been involved in programmes that incorporate
some very interesting materials and technolo-
gies. Composite connectors, for example, are ex-
tremely lightweight yet durable and are corrosion
resistant. Lightweight titanium interconnects
also offer strength combined with space savings.
I also see a great deal of future potential with hy-
A repair technician re-strings wiring in an engine harness undergoing an OEM repair.
72 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
brid designs things such as fibre optics being
integrated with copper wire.
The dual objective of being both as light-
weight as possible but also incredibly durable and
resistant is the task faced by developers. As
Symonds notes: More robust and lighter weight
outer chafe material as well as lighter weight elec-
tromagnetic interference (EMI) materials are al-
ways being pursued. Many harnesses, such as
those located on engine, are subject to severe
conditions and must perform reliably in harsh
environments. Balancing lightweight materials
against the need for maximum protection is a
continuing challenge.
Wiring maintenance
Although there has been some success
achieved with small portable devices used for
testing harnesses on the f light line which
have improved trouble-shooting and eliminated
unnecessary harness replacements there is
sadly no magical handheld gadget that aircraft
maintenance technicians can wave over long
lengths of wiring harnesses to detect any irreg-
ularities and address any inconsistencies. A
more exhaustive physical and visual approach is
This intense level of checking must be up-
held and there can be no room for any short
cuts when inspecting wiring harnesses on
ageing aircraft and the increased amount of
wiring installed in next generation airliners.
For CIA&D, maintenance checking is cur-
rently performing as it should and Symonds
says: From our perspective it appears that air-
craft maintenance personnel have a very good
grasp on electrical wiring inspection criteria.
As a respectable portion of our overall busi-
ness is engine harness repair through our
FAA, EASA and CAAC certified repair station,
we have visibility into what is removed and
why. Most returns that we receive show nor-
mal wear and are checked and tested and re-
turned to service.
The aviation industry has rightfully elevated
the level of attention that all wiring in any aircraft
deserves. In order to avert any further disasters
the maintenance must be flawless. Wiring instal-
lation and integrity is of the utmost importance,
as was recently highlighted in August when
Japans All Nippon Airways (ANA) discovered de-
fective wiring in three of its 787 Dreamliners. The
airline detected the faulty wiring on an aircraft at
Tokyos Haneda airport before a scheduled flight
to Frankfurt. The wiring was eventually repaired
and the departure to Germany went ahead, but
if not found the defective wiring could have
caused a fire-extinguishing system for the engine
to malfunction, a spokesperson for ANA said.
The faulty wiring prompted Japan Airlines
(JAL) to abort a Helsinki-bound flight and to in-
stigate checks on all 10 of its Dreamliners. These
wiring defects arrive on the back of problems
with the lithium-ion batteries on the 787, which
forced a worldwide grounding for four months at
the start of the year.
The beleaguered 787 is a popular aircraft in
Japan, and ANA and JAL are two of the Dream-
liners biggest customers. It remains to be seen
whether a full-scale investigation into these
wiring malfunctions will follow.
Aircraft safety
It is a statistically proven and widely accepted
fact that flying is safer than most other modes of
transport. Looking at the United States alone,
there has been only one fatal crash in the last five
years, an impressive record considering that
more than 30,000 flights take off every day. Yet it
is the relatively extreme conditions of flying
being 30,000 feet up in the air and not at near
ground level, combined with the feeling that you
have no control which results in a fear of flying
being uncommonly high in relation to other
forms of transportation. However, with the ad-
vances in technology being made in the aviation
industry, incidents and fatalities will hopefully
be consigned to the past.
The MRO industry has a healthy future
ahead, as Symonds concludes: The airline in-
dustry has seen many changes since its inception,
and the past decade or so has proven to be dra-
matic with great challenges. Our current eco-
nomic environment has forced consolidation of
both airlines and MROs, greatly reducing the
number of independent organisations. This in
turn, is forcing the reduction of suppliers. That
being said, there is also opportunity.
Overall, the demand for air travel is up and
the remaining carriers are increasing their fleets.
This translates to an increased need for mainte-
nance and support. Those OEMs and component
repair centres that are well positioned, can remain
cost-effective, and can offer value that benefits the
end customer, will have a promising future.
Automated Test Equipment offers custom test interfaces that connect easily to engine or fan case
harnesses. Their engine-specific software provides quick and accurate test results.
Get the complete spin on all the vital components
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74 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
he CF34, manufactured by General Elec-
tric (GE), is the workhorse of the regional
airline industry, powering some of the
most ubiquitous 50 to 100-seat aircraft in opera-
tion today. Of its three main variants, the oldest
is the CF34-3, which went into airline service in
1992 on the Bombardier CRJ100; the CF34-10,
meanwhile, will power Chinas new regional jet,
the ARJ21, and is already flying with many oper-
ators on Embraers E-190/-195 lines.
All three CF34 variants the CF34-3, CF34-
8 and CF34-10 share near-flawless dispatch re-
liabilities and are generally regarded as rugged,
reliable and easily maintained engines. However,
its difficult to paint a broad-brush picture of the
CF34 maintenance market because each engine
type launched roughly a decade after its prede-
cessor, meaning radically different engine matu-
rities and MRO options.
As an older engine the CF34-3, for instance, has
a far lower residual value than the -10, which af-
fects repair-replace considerations and opens up
the possibility of using PMA parts. Mature en-
gines, like the CF34-3, are a different market than
growth engines in terms of ownership, operation,
workscope requirements, repair options, and ma-
terial sources, says Brian Neff, CEO of Ft. Laud-
erdale-based MRO CTS Engines, which overhauls
the CF34-3, the CF6-80, and the CFM56-3.
Neff points out that mature engines benefit
from a deeper and more experienced maintenance
market, with constituents who have had the time
to optimise repair and overhaul techniques.
Amongst other things, this means that on the ma-
terial side, many parts can often be replaced with
used serviceable material at less cost than a repair,
due to the number of engine teardowns that occur
in the latter half of an engines life, he says.
The CF34 MRO market is in a state of flux as the more than
20-year-old CF34-3 approaches its twilight years. The type still
accounts for most of the overhaul work at CF34 repair stations, but
that will change as the newer -8s and then -10s reach their mid-life
check-up dates, says Alex Derber.
CF34 maintenance
There is also an added layer of complexity to
CF34 MRO, which is that the engine is also used
by business jet operators of Bombardiers Chal-
lenger and Embraers Lineage lines. Naturally
these have their own specific workscopes, service
intervals and repair requirements, although the
following will focus of the engines commercial
GE estimates that CF34 shop visit volume
climbed from 780 in 2011 to 1,000 last year, on an
installed base of approaching 6,000 powerplants.
The CF34-3 is the most numerous of these, with
about 2,200 in service, though CF34-8 and -10
populations are not far behind and will soon
overtake the -3 as older regional jets are retired.
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further details. Snecma. The Enginologists


76 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S

The lions share of the CF34 maintenance
market, judged by shop visits, is held by the en-
gines manufacturer, GE, which recorded 350 in
2012; followed by StandardAero, which claims 26
per cent of the market; and then German MROs
Lufthansa Technik AERO Alzey (LTAA) and
MTU, which reported 194 and 150 shop visits, re-
spectively, in 2012.
Both LTAA and MTU claim turnaround times
(TATs) for the CF34-8 and -10 of between 45 and
60 days, depending on the scale of the
workscope, while MTU claims that a new takt
system (takt was designed originally to pace
manufacturing lines), a new floor layout and bet-
ter operating processes have helped it take CF34-
3 TAT down to 45 days.
Mark Johnson, LTAA CEO, says: Improve-
ments to TAT are basically done through state-
of-the-art machining equipment, optimised
shop layout, design and manufacturing of sup-
porting tools, and IT infrastructure to support
clear visibility of processes. We also have a dedi-
cated supply chain management organisation to
manage not only routine supply and repair order
management, but also the just-in-time concept
and, in particular, the supply of ad-hoc spares to
avoid work-stoppages.
The CF34-3 is a 9,220lbs-thrust engine which
powers Bombardiers ageing CRJ100/200 re-
gional jets. The market for these 50-seat aircraft
is currently in a state of f lux as Americas big
network carriers shed the old CRJs from their
fleets to replace them with larger, more fuel-ef-
ficient and more modern models. Aircraft saved
from the scrapyard are typically going to smaller
operators who can be more f lexible with their
repair schedules and workscope requirements,
as Kerry OSullivan, vice president of
CF34/CFM56 at Tempe, Arizona-based Standar-
dAero, explains: The CRJ200 aircraft market is
changing and ownership is shifting to new oper-
ators, who prefer shop visits that address specific
areas of concern, he says. As a result, Standard-
Aero now offers quick-turn, limited workscope
repairs alongside traditional overhauls, a move
that OSullivan describes as a particularly suc-
cessful venture for us as the CRJ200 aircraft move
rapidly through new marketplaces.
Last year StandardAero says it processed
hundreds of CF34-3s and CF34-8s through its
facility in Winnipeg, Canada, about 80 per cent
of which were for the older type. This year it is
expecting a 10 per cent increase in shop visits and
a fairly even split of work between the two CF34
types as the newer CF34-8s encounter their first
mid-life events. These occur at about 10,000-
12,500 cycles and are needed across the CF34 line
to mitigate performance degradation.
LTAA maintains all three CF34 types at its fa-
cility near Frankfurt, Germany, with the CF34-3
comprising about half of its shop visits last year.
However, a big portion of maintenance work on
both the CF34-3 and -8 can be done on-wing, so
LTAA must be able to quickly dispatch mechan-
ics to its customers aircraft. To help manage this
it has worldwide service stations in Tulsa, Mel-
bourne and Argentina.
MTU offers a full range of CF34 MRO services
from another centralised location Berlin Bran-
denburg whilst also offering on-site services
anywhere in the world for its customers. These
are backed up by its MTU Maintenance Dallas fa-
cility and a partnership with Tulpar Technic
based in Kazan, Russia.
Although about half of MTUs CF34 workload
in Berlin last year was for its oldest variant, the
CF34-3 has mostly outlived its heavy mainte-
nance intervals and on this mature engine, we
mostly perform smaller, custom-tailored shop
visits, says Andrea Lbke, VP CF34 programme
at MTU Maintenance. Because most CF34-3s
have had their last heavy overhauls and can in
any case be repaired to a large extent on-wing,
MTU expects global shop visits for the type to fall
from 320 next year to less than half that by 2017.
The CF34-8C and CF34-8E are in service with
71 operators on 1,000 aircraft mostly the Em-
braer -170/-175 and Bombardier CRJ700/900
lines. As with the -3, plenty of -8 maintenance
can be performed on-aircraft, though this is
somewhat easier with the -8C than the -8E, due
to the latters mounting under-wing rather than
at the rear of the Bombardiers that the -8C pow-
Such flexibility came in handy this year after
GE issued an AD requiring replacement of op-
erability bleed valves on about 300 CF34-8s, or
about 15 per cent of the f leet. Fixes such as
these are made easier in part because of the
All three CF34 variants the CF34-3, CF34-8 (pictured) and CF34-10 share near-flawless dispatch
reliabilities and are generally regarded as rugged, reliable and easily maintained engines.
Improvements to TAT are basically done through
state-of-the-art machining equipment, optimised shop layout,
design and manufacturing of supporting tools, and IT
infrastructure to support clear visibility of processes.
Mark Johnson, CEO, LTAA
77 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
modular design of the CF34, as Bob Oliphant,
a GE Aviation spokesman, explains: Accessibil-
ity is important to ease of maintenance and the
CF34 design enables more efficient, direct ac-
cess to components that are due for restora-
tion, with no unnecessary disassembly to gain
access to some other part of the engine for over-
StandardAero reports that its field service
representatives can perform anything from
simple seal changes to complete module re-
placements without removing the CF34-8
from an aircraft (or by putting it on a nearby
maintenance stand), though it is also expect-
ing more -8s through its shops in the near fu-
ture as the engines which average about
11,000 cycles globally come up for their mid-
point checks.
MTU, meanwhile, predicts steady growth in
the CF34-8 market from 240 shop visits this year
to about 420 per annum in a decades time. MTU
itself handles about 150 shop visits per year for all
CF34 types.
Typical workscopes for CF34-8s coming into
the StandardAero shop include high-pressure
turbine refurbishment variable guide vane sys-
tem improvements and the sprucing up of gen-
eral hardware. Among older -8s, it is also fairly
common for the nut connecting the high pres-
sure turbine and the high pressure compressor to
seize, a problem for which StandardAero has de-
veloped a fix for.
Another issue for some CF34-8 operators, ac-
cording to LTAA, has been oil smell in the cabin,
a problem for which it has developed a quick-
turn solution by its field service representatives.
The youngest member of the CF34 family en-
tered service in 2005 and is now flying with 63
operators. At LTAA, shop visits for the type
climbed from 17 in 2011 to 45 last year, while MTU
estimates that about half of its CF34 shop visits
are either for the -8 or -10. It also predicts that
shop visits for the -10 globally will double in the
next 10 years from 130 in 2013.
CTS and StandardAero dont repair the CF34-
10, perhaps because the average -10 is at 6,000 cy-
cles and only halfway towards its midpoint
checks, though StandardAero states that should
the right customer opportunity present itself we
could easily enter this market.
LTAA reports two notable issues facing the
CF34-10 at present: high oil consumption and
stage four low-pressure turbine blade separation.
The MRO can solve the first problem on site with
a quick-turn solution, while the LPT can be fixed
as a module event rather than a full engine shop
visit. This again demonstrates the flexibility of
the CF34 design, though the added complexity
of the CF34-10 limits its on-wing repair options
in comparison with the -3 and -8.
There is only one AD on the CF34-10 that has
not yet been fully complied with; issued in 2012
it requires certain engines to undergo centre vent
tube mid-support replacement.
A shifting MRO landscape
One major development in CF34 maintenance
this year has been the extension of GEs TRU-
Engine programme to the type. Those who sign up
to TRUEngine are guaranteed maximum residual
value of their CF34 assets via assurances that the
engines will be maintained in an OEM configura-
tion, using OEM parts, by TRUEngine-licensed
shops. For the CF34 these are GEs facilities in
Strother, Kansas and Petropolis, Brazil, as well as
StandardAero, which is the only third-party
TRUEengine provider on both the CF34 and
There are no disadvantages to this pro-
gramme as operators can still make material and
repair choices at their discretion, says Standard-
Aeros OSullivan. However, those operators that
want to ensure a TRUEngine status for their fleet
can be assured that we have all of the processes in
place to comply with TRUEngine standards.
The first CF34 operators to launch its TRU-
Engine programme were Brazils Azul, the UKs
Flybe, US lessors GECAS and Jetscape, Polands
LOT, and US regional carrier Gojet. Perhaps co-
incidentally, these represent a pretty accurate
cross-section of the global CF34 operator base,
about 55 per cent of which hails from the US, 20
per cent from Europe and 25 per cent from the
rest of the world.
A Cf34-10 on engine test.
78 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
hen selecting an IT system, airlines
and MRO companies face the choice
of the large-scale but less flexible en-
terprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, best
of breed (BoB) systems which have been built
from the ground up for the sector, or a hybrid of-
fering which combines elements of both.
ERP solutions are great for accountants and
excel in this area, but they rely on bolt-on func-
tionality to satisfy the needs of the MRO market
which often is cumbersome and expensive, com-
ments TRAX managing director Chris Reed.
ERP is typically designed for manufacturing, so
maybe an OEM would prefer this type of solu-
With a number of airlines and MRO companies requiring professional MRO software for the first time or
needing to upgrade to a new system, the commercial aviation maintenance software sector is currently
a growth area. But what are the most important factors to consider when making this choice? Jason
Holland investigates.
software systems
tion, but the BoBs are designed for airline and
MRO operations.
Developing the right solution
Indeed, a lot of the successful maintenance
software systems in use today in the commercial
aviation sector have been designed with specific
industry needs in mind. Ronald Schaeuffele,
CEO of Swiss AviationSoftware (Swiss-AS), notes
that BoB solutions are built on industry best
practice and are based on the input of a customer
community using and supporting the product.
He says: The big advantage of BoB solutions
is that they more easily adapt to constantly
A Story of Success
Read more about the world-class M&E software system at
The best fit in terms of functionality,
price and market standing, states easyJet
AMOS has clearly met the expectations as a full
system for maintenance operations, says Finnish
Aircraft Maintenance
We assess AMOS as a top line product which
is endeared and accepted as a fine tool by our
users, states Air Asia
80 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
changing requirements and that due to the many
community inputs they are forced to include in-
dustry innovations at an early stage. The neces-
sary strategic developments of a BoB solution are
all integrated into the one community product
while the community reviews the changes/en-
hancements done by the vendor.
Nevertheless, Schaeuffele states that because
Swiss-AS solution, AMOS, has already incorpo-
rated non-maintenance functions such as finance
or human resources (within the maintenance con-
text), it could already be considered as a kind of
a hybrid solution, incorporating some of the ele-
ments traditionally associated with ERP systems.
From our point of view, a BoB system includes all
the processes that the maintenance department
focuses on; the aim is to enable the end user to
work in the daily business without any disruptions
in the maintenance processes, he says.
Ramcos Aviation Suite is another example of
a system built to provide the best of both worlds.
The company sources its traditional strength in
providing integrated ERP solutions and combines
that with comprehensive functionality for avia-
tion maintenance and engineering built from the
ground up, comments Amrith Ganesh, head
aviation marketing. So while being designed
specifically for aviation, the solution incorporates
ERP functions such as finance and human capital
management under one roof.
According to Ganesh, Ramcos approach also
provides a seamless flow of data wrapped
around single technology architecture that elim-
inates data silos and adds transparency across the
entire maintenance execution and contract to
cash cycle.
TRAXs Reed is proud that his companys so-
lution was made purposely as a BoB type. Al-
though taking elements of the ERP concept and
using them in TRAX Maintenance, Reed says
this is mainly in cross company integration as-
pects, such as lessening data duplication and re-
dundancy by departments relying on each others
Mxi Technologies Maintenix system was
designed and developed by aviation experts
specifically for the aviation MRO community,
comments James Elliott, product marketing
manager, an approach which speaks directly to
the unique challenges faced by the aviation in-
dustry that a generic ERP system cannot accom-
modate without expensive and time-consuming
customisations that often result in limited suc-
cess, at best.
Elliott points to the evolving demands being
placed on MRO solutions. It is no longer enough
to simply act as a storage container for mainte-
nance transactions; systems today need to be
transformative, he says. Using MRO-specific
solutions gives organisations the head start they
need to focus efforts on driving greater business
value from their MRO departments (such as top
and bottom line optimisation, reduced costs, re-
duced AOGs, etc.).
The companys application programming in-
terface (API) strategy offers elements of the hy-
From our point of view, a BoB system includes all the
processes that the maintenance department focuses on; the
aim is to enable the end user to work in the daily business
without any disruptions in the maintenance processes .
Ronald Schaeuffele, CEO, Swiss AviationSoftware
Swiss-AS solution, AMOS, has already incorporated non-maintenance functions such as finance or human resources.
Completing The Picture
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+41 21 533 03 34
Visit us at MRO Europe (#MROE)
Booth number 825
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82 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
brid approach, providing additional integrated
connectivity to critical systems within the enter-
prise, including finance, human resources,
timesheet, supply chain, flight operations, diag-
nostics, procurement, third-party maintenance,
shipping and electronic logbook.
Rusadas Envision solution is another to have
been client led in its development of functional-
ity. It is aviation centric because that is where
the experience of our company was founded.
There are other BoB solutions for financial ac-
counting, payroll management, airline ticketing
etc that have been developed by specialists in
their field and chosen by clients who know ex-
actly what they want, explains Tim Alden, com-
mercial director. What Rusada does is work with
clients to maximise the use of these applications
by delivering a robust aviation solution capable
of being integrated with other business systems
through the use of modern web services.
Nick Godwin, managing director at Comm-
soft, says his companys OASES solution is being
aggressively developed as new functionality con-
tinues to be added. Unlike many other BoB sys-
tems, OASES puts major emphasis on its
intuitive usability, flexibility and customisability
and is far less data hungry than some competitor
systems. This makes it ideal for CAMOs and fast-
growing airlines, as the user is only paying for
functionality that it uses, rather than an expen-
sive edition or version with functionality that is
never used, he says.
Configurability and scalability
in deployment
There is no question that the scale and mag-
nitude of systems implementation requirements
can play a role in an organisations decision to
move forward with a vendor solution, says Mxi
Technologies Elliott. Beyond the functional
scope of the offering, clients need to feel confi-
dent that the vendor will deliver the software
promise in a means that minimises time, effort,
cost and impact to the organisation.
He notes that, ultimately, the degree of diffi-
culty of any software implementation is directly
proportional to the quality of the data being im-
ported from the legacy systems. Mxi has done a
lot of work over the years to help our clients em-
brace a good data approach to MRO manage-
ment, ensuring information is perpetually in a
clean and standardised state throughout the
MRO lifecycle, says Elliott.
Configurability is an important issue in de-
ployment. Each client is different so it is critical
that they have elements of configurability within
the application otherwise you face the situation
that most ERP operators have where their solu-
tion is unique in the marketplace, comments
TRAXs Reed. We aim to keep a permanent up-
grade path available for our customers and use
the configuration possibilities to allow each cus-
tomer to have slightly different functionality, but
within the same core application.
Rusadas Alden believes configurability is key
to the success of an implementation, and he
would typically expect a customer to live in the
MRO software within four to six months a
rapid timeline [that] includes training and data
TRAXs maintenance software solution was made purposely as a BoB type.
Mobile technology is currently a key trend in the
83 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
transfer. Alden explains: The key to such rapid
deployment is the inclusion of the clients super
user team at all stages during the set-up phase.
This team needs to be able to work with us as the
vendor and be able to define the set-up of the sys-
tem to match their way of working to minimise
the impact on approved procedures. Once the
set-up of the system has been bedded down then
its application can be introduced to the user
Scalability, meanwhile, is important for cus-
tomers who are in a growth cycle. A good scala-
ble application does not need to be replaced if
the organisation grows, says TRAXs Reed. Our
application is used by airlines with as low as three
aircraft and as high as seven hundred aircraft.
Improvement in the market
Reed says that although in general terms com-
panies are spending less on IT solutions as a per-
centage of their revenue than they have in the
past, airline/MRO software is currently a growth
area. There is expansion occurring in many areas
of the world such as the Far East, so this is positive
for our industry, he comments. Customers are
looking for an off-the-shelf MRO management
solution that can be implemented with the min-
imum amount of fuss and is easy to use for their
users and one that is popular in the community.
Data sharing is becoming more and more impor-
tant and solutions that allow greater connectivity
with the community are becoming more critical.
Mxi Technologies Elliott observes that while
the global aviation MRO market is projected to
grow to $69bn by 2021, only a small percentage
of MRO organisations are running anything close
to a modern IT solution, hinging efforts instead
on a combination of old systems from the 1980s
that are inching closer to becoming obsolete, or
custom-built siloed solutions that are costly and
risky to maintain, while failing to deliver the
business benefits targeted across the industry.
Clearly, there is a lot of potential in the air-
line/MRO software market, and a number of
companies are looking for new IT solutions. Due
to the increased complexity in aviation mainte-
nance and tightened airworthiness regulations,
many airlines have been forced to buy profes-
sional MRO software for the first time or to up-
grade to a new system, says Swiss-AS
Schaeuffele. The introduction of new genera-
tion aircraft has accelerated this process. Where
airlines used to draw up a business plan to decide
about new MRO software, it seems that the busi-
ness plan has only an inferior standing in todays
evaluation as the airlines need a new system that
can handle the new requirements.
Schaeuffele says that the central demands
customers are making of the software are: best
practice solutions, cost cutting potential, in-
creased safety, and early incorporation of new re-
quirements such as new generation aircraft,
RFID or e-signatures. Ramcos Ganesh adds that
small operators are underserved in terms of IT
solutions and these companies are looking at
Cloud based offerings as a way to improve their
efficiency, better manage inventory and reduce
operating costs.
When looking at updating a current system,
Rusadas Alden suggests that one of the most im-
portant factors that customers are looking for is
the ability to synchronise existing systems with
their new MRO solution. We have seen great in-
terest in the web service work we have done for
OEMs and MROs because it allows those organ-
isations to retain their finance systems but then
provide a better maintenance tool for the engi-
neers without duplication of effort or loss of
functionality. Indeed the saving in licences for
the ERP finance system often significantly con-
tribute to the return on investment of taking En-
vision, he says.
Future trends and outlook
The companies interviewed for this article
are finding different ways to adapt and prepare
for future trends in the MRO management soft-
ware solutions sector. Ramcos Ganesh says the
pulse of the industry and where it is heading
lies in the voice of the customer. Our CAB
Customer Advisory Board a panel of carefully
chosen key customers across segments have a
strong influence on the direction of our product
road map, comments Ganesh. This ensures
full alignment of our product with present and
future trends and needs. Ramco also relies on a
network of other sources to adapt and face fu-
ture trends such as: focus groups of industry ex-
perts, a company-wide innovation wing,
constantly evolving base technology architec-
ture and a state-of-the-art R&D department as-
sociated with several top technology
institutions around the world.
One of Ramcos central strategies is to use
technology innovation to solve the business chal-
lenges in an MRO environment. We see mobil-
ity, predictive analysis on big data, seamless data
exchange in a heterogeneous application land-
scape as key trends that will shape this industry,
says Ganesh. The companys Cloud based appli-
cation delivery model allows it to expand the ad-
Many application providers have just made their solution
portable so that the users can access the same screens and
functions that they have on their fixed workstation but on a
mobile screen.
Chris Reed, managing director, TRAX
One of Ramcos central strategies is to use technology innovation to solve the business challenges in
an MRO environment.
84 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
dressable market space, according to Ganesh,
making available to the smallest operator the
same sophisticated product capabilities that
drive efficiency improvements and process opti-
misation only large organisations previously had
access to.
TRAX is currently focused on specific mobile
technology. Many application providers have
just made their solution portable so that the
users can access the same screens and functions
that they have on their fixed workstation but on
a mobile screen, says Reed. This is not the same
as building specific mobile technology that is
easier to use and understand, requires less train-
ing, performs better and encourages the users to
actually use the technology.
Mxi Technologies Elliott observes three
main trends in the MRO sector, with the
biggest and most critical evolution taking
place on the business, rather than technology,
side. He sees mobile-ready maintenance appli-
cations, business analytics that can help exec-
utives and upper management make the right
business decisions based on accurate informa-
tion insights, and innovative ways for monetis-
ing maintenance data as the main areas of
focus. For MRO software providers, this means
providing a solution that can deliver the busi-
ness transformation customers are seeking,
more so than just the latest bells and whistles,
he observes.
Commsofts Godwin sees a change in the role
of MRO software systems. Trends in the MRO
sector require increasingly diverse information to
be presented in ever concise, relevant and acces-
sible forms to suit the disparate needs of the end
user, he says. Faster processing and near real
time data transmission will allow MRO IT sys-
tems to progress from being engineering compli-
ance and reporting tools to being active decision
support systems and offering economic advan-
tage through real time integration with finance,
operations, human resources and other systems.
Increasingly the use of KPI and BPI dashboards
with customisable alerts, status indicators and
business tracking are being requested, thus turn-
ing systems such as OASES into senior manage-
ment tools.
Being embedded in an airline environment
has been an important advantage to Swiss-AS
in capturing trends and future requirements at
an early stage, according to Schaeuffele. As
quite a few members of the airline group are
using AMOS, it is important for us to provide a
state-of-the-art product that meets the expec-
tations inside and outside the corporate fam-
ily. AMOS is considered within the Lufthansa
group as a cost-saving-enabler and we have to
live up to our reputation. This dependency is a
win-win situation for all parties, he says.
The company is another that looks to involve
its customer community in the development of
its software, creating the AMOS Strategic Board
in which customers can decide about the strate-
gic development roadmap, and offering work-
shops that allow customers to influence the
design of modules at an early stage.
With the era of the connected aircraft upon
us and the introduction of new aircraft that have
more than six million parts in them, all designed
from the ground up to be more software depen-
dant, there is now more data than ever before in
the industry that needs to be managed accurately
and taken advantage of. As Ramcos Ganesh
notes, aviation IT will soon see a growth spike in
Big Data led predictive analytics.
Mxi Technologies Elliott sees a similar trend.
Looking further out, say five to seven years from
now, I see the promise of predictive maintenance
will largely intersect with the varying business
models throughout the MRO food-chain, start-
ing with the fundamental ask either from cus-
tomers or service providers: have you done the
right thing and can you prove it?
Commsofts OASES solution is being aggressively developed as new functionality continues to be added.
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86 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
FAA airworthiness directives large aircraft
Summary of biweekly listings for the last two months
Biweekly 2013-09/ contd
2013-08-16 Boeing 737-700 and -700C Do an external detailed inspection and an external
nondestructive inspection (a medium frequency eddy
current (MFEC), magneto optic imager (MOI), C-
scan, or ultrasonic phased array (UTPA) inspection)
for cracking in the fuselage skin along the chem-mill
steps at certain locations specified in SB 737-53-
2013-08-18 Boeing 737 Modify the fluid drain path in the wing leading edge
area, forward of the wing front spar, and do all
applicable related investigative and corrective actions
IAW SB 737-57-1293.
2013-08-20S General Electric CF6-80 Supersedes AD 2000-04-14. Replace the fuel tubes
and brackets with improved tubes and brackets
eligible for installation.
2013-08-23 Boeing DC-10, MD-10, MD-11 Perform installation actions as stated in AD.
Biweekly 2013-10
2012-18-13R Boeing 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, -500 Perform a low frequency eddy current (LFEC)
inspection from the aft side of the aft pressure
bulkhead to detect discrepancies of the web of the
upper section of the aft pressure bulkhead at body
station 1016 at the aft fastener row attachment to the
''Y'' chord, from stringer 15 left (S-15L) to stringer 15
right (S-15R). Perform a detailed visual inspection of
the aft fastener row attachment to the ''Y'' chord from
the forward side of the aft pressure bulkhead to detect
discrepancies of the entire web of the aft pressure
bulk head at body station 1016.
2013-05-08 Airbus A330 & A340 Replace the O-ring seals installed on the two solenoid
valves of each servo control using new O-ring seals
IAW Airbus All Operators Telex (AOT) A330-27A3129.
2013-08-01 Boeing 737 Do a one-time general visual inspection of the left
and right thrust reverser halves of each engine for
damage to the upper fire seal, for stiffness of the
upper fire seal, and for missing vent holes as
applicable IAW SB 737-78-1086. If appropriate, drill
vent holes if they are missing, and install a new
bracket behind the upper fire seal retainer.
2013-09-01S Boeing 737-200, -200C, -300, -400, and -500 Supersedes AD 2003-08-15. Do an external eddy
current inspection for cracking in the crown lap
joints. Do an internal mid-frequency eddy current
(MFEC) inspection for cracking in the lap joint
fastener row between tear straps of the crown lap and
do a detailed inspection of the lap joint lower fastener
row for cracking IAW SB 737-53A1255.
2013-09-02S Boeing 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, -500 Supersedes ADs 2000-25-07. Perform inspections as
specified. If any flap track assembly having P/N 65-
46428-31 or 65-46428-33 is found, before further
flight, replace the flap track assembly witha new or
serviceable flap track assembly IAW SB 737-57A1271.
2013-09-07 Bombardier CL-600-2B19 Install stopper plates on the aft uplock frame of both
the right and left MLG uplock assemblies IAW SB
2013-09-08 Boeing 737-300, -400, and -500 Perform an operational test of the engine fuel suction
feed of the fuel system, and do all applicable
corrective actions IAW SB 737-28A1407.
2013-10-02S Boeing 757-200 and -200PF Supersedes AD 2003-18-05. Perform corrective
actions as specified.
Biweekly 2013-11
2013-09-08C Boeing 737-300, -400, and -500 Perform an operational test of the engine fuel suction
feed of the fuel system, and do all applicable
corrective actions IAW SB 737-28A1307.
2013-09-10S Boeing 737-100, -200, -200C, -300, -400, -500 Supersedes AD 2000-07-06. Do all applicable related
investigative and corrective actions before further
flight IAW SB 737-52A1100.
2013-09-11 Cessna Cessna Aircraft Company Inspect the A/C compressor motor to determine
whether P/N 1134104-1 or P/N 1134104-5 is
installed, and if so, perform specified corrective actions.
2013-10-03 Airbus A330 & A340 Supersedes AD 2010-02-10. Perform one-time
detailed inspections of both MLG bogie beams in the
region of the bogie stop pad for detection of
deformation and damage, and apply the applicable
corrective actions.
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88 S Aircraft Technology - Issue 125 S
FAA airworthiness directives large aircraft (cont...)
2013-10-06 Airbus A330 & A340 If it is found, during the inspection required, that any
installed LH or RH windshield was manufactured by
Saint-Gobain Sully (SGS) and the part number and
serial number are identified in the applicable Airbus
service information, replace all affected LH and RH
2013-10-07 Airbus A300 Reinforce the door frame shells of passenger doors 2
and 4 on both sides of the fuselage.
2013-11-03 Bombardier CL-215 Do a detailed inspection for cracking of the left-hand
(LH) and right-hand (RH) wing lower skin between
wing stations (WS) 45.00 and 51.00 IAW SB 215-
Biweekly 2013-12
2013-11-04 Boeing 747, 767, 777 Replace the BMS 8-39 urethane foam seals
(including doing a general visual inspection of the
airplane sidewalls for air baffles, and of the BMS 8-
39 urethane foam for penetrations) with BMS 8-371
insulation foam or BMS 1-68 silicone foam rubber
seals, as applicable, IAW SB 747-25-3381.
2013-11-06 Dassault Aviation Mystere-Falcon 900, Falcon 900EX Modify the tail strobe power supply wire routing
IAW SB F900-431.
2013-11-07 Embraer ERJ 190 Measure the left-hand (LH) and right-hand (RH)
MLG side stay support fitting to detect bushing
migration IAW SB 190-57-0036. Perform corrective
actions as specified.
2013-11-12 Bombardier BD-100-1A10 (Challenger 300) Inspect the identification plate on the hydraulic
system accumulator having part number (P/N)
900095-1 to determine if an ''E'' is part of the suffix
of the serial number stamped on the identification
plate. If necessary, replace the accumulator with a
new or serviceable accumulator.
2013-11-13 Rolls-Royce Viper Mk. 601-22 Remove the specified parts before they reach their
specified new, lower, life limits.
2013-11-14 Boeing 777-200 and -300 Do a general visual inspection for hydraulic fluid
contamination (including contamination caused by
hydraulic fluid in its liquid, vapor, and/or solid
(coked) form) of the interior of the strut forward dry
bay, and do all applicable related investigative and
corrective actions (including checking drain lines for
blockage due to hydraulic fluid coking, and cleaning
or replacing drain lines to allow drainage) if
necessary IAW SB 777-54-0028.
2013-12-02 Engine Alliance GP7270 and GP7277 Initially borescope inspect the baffle plate feature on
the disk (360 degrees) before accumulating 1,500
CSN. At next HPC module exposure, but not to
exceed 6,800 CSN on the HPC stage 6 disk, remove
the HPC stage 6 disk, P/N 382-100-505-0, from the engine.
2013-12-03 Rolls-Royce Deutschland BR700-725A1-12 Remove fuel pump tube P/N FW64852 and replace
with a part eligible for installation.
Biweekly 2013-13
2013-01-01S Bombardier CL-600-2B19 Supersedes AD 2011-23-08. Remove the hydraulic
system No. 2 accumulator IAW SB 601R-29-032.
2013-05-11S Airbus A318, A319, A320, A321 Supersedes AD 2010-23-07. Restore the vacuum loss
holes by doing a permanent restoration with resin
IAW Note 3 of Airbus AOT A320-55A1038.
2013-09-04 Bombardier DHC-8-400, -401, and -402 Do a detailed inspection of the left and right nacelle
fire detection wires for damage (i.e. chafing). If
damage is found on any nacelle fire detection wire:
Before further flight, remove and replace the
damaged wire with a new wire IAW SB 84-26-11.
2013-10-52 General Electric GE90-110B1 and GE90-115B Do not operate the airplane if more than one installed
engine has a TGB S/N listed in AD.
2013-11-16 Hawker Beechcraft BAe.125 800A, 800B, Hawker 800 Revise the Limitations section of the airplane flight
manual (AFM) by inserting the text specified in AD.
2013-12-01 Rolls-Royce RB211 Perform an ultrasonic inspection of each LP
compressor blade.
2013-13-05 Boeing 747 series Perform external sliding probe eddy current
inspections of the fuselage skin for cracking IAW SB
747-53A2854. Repair any cracking found.
The letter C after the AD number denotes a correction to the original AD
The letter S after the AD number indicates that the AD supersedes a previous AD
The letter R after the AD number indicates a revision to the original AD
The letter E after the AD number indicates an emergency AD
The letters FR indicate the final rule of an emergency AD
Please note that the above information is quoted for interest purposes. The latest versions of the ADs issued by the FAA must be used for reference purposes
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