The NTSB issued a scathing indictment of the FAA’s oversight of contract maintenance providers, essentially validating a DOT inspector general’s report that again exposed one of the lesser known practices of the U.S. airline industry. The latest report, made public in late February, again pointed to lax FAA scrutiny of a third-party maintenance contractor as one of the main contributors to the January 2003 crash of Air Midwest Flight 5481.
Maintenance and Modifications
News and issues about aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), covering all segments of the aviation industry; and modifications for aircraft and engines. Subjects include product support of aircraft, engines and avionics, MRO company mergers, acquisitions, announcements and personnel, Airworthiness Directives, Supplemental Type Certificate approvals and other topics.
Following its investigation of the Jan. 24, 2003 fatal crash of a Beech 95 Travel Air in Upland, Calif., the NTSB recommended last month that the FAA prohibit individuals who have been associated with a previously revoked repair station certificate from operating a new repair station in a different FAA region. It expressed concern that the FAA currently has no mechanism in place for preventing such an occurrence.
Midcoast Aviation of Cahokia, Ill., has received a special regulatory exemption for installation of a mid-cabin door on the Falcon 900B and 900EX. The hard-surface, manually operated pocket door would replace the current curtain separator. A flight-deck annunciator signals the crew when the door is closed, and an emergency decompression panel provides passenger access to an exit door.
In an effort to improve its customer support, Bombardier has opened a new service center at Dallas Love Field and allocated shares equaling one Learjet 45 from its Flexjet fleet to deliver aircraft-on-ground (AOG) parts and mobile repair parties within the U.S. and in some instances transport stranded customers.
Dubai investment firm Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) at press time was in “active discussions” with Washington, D.C.-based private-equity firm Carlyle Group to acquire its Standard Aero company and Landmark Aviation, particularly its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) businesses. According to sources familiar with the process, DAE is expected to pay more than $1.5 billion for the two firms.
Gary Potts, president of AirFlyte, has a long history in aviation and specifically
at the airport his MRO serves. “Barnes Westfield Airport in Westfield, Mass., is an absolutely beautiful airport. My dad and I restored antique aircraft here when I was a kid. I’ve been working here in one capacity or another since 1965,” he told AIN.
Seacor’s Aviation Division has signed an agreement to have Keystone Helicopters provide maintenance and completions for the more than 160 helicopters it operates in the northeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico and Alaska.
Lufthansa Technik is offering total landing-gear support (TLS) from aircraft purchase through resale. TLS covers the landing gear over its entire life and assumes full responsibility from the moment the aircraft is purchased, including AOG support, overhaul, exchange gear, leasing and loans, through to resale.
Enstrom Helicopters has placed all its Service Bulletins and Service Information Letters on the customer-support page of the company Web site. Historically manual updates for all the company’s helicopter models are provided to owners at no charge for the life of the aircraft. The company is now planning to make technical manuals and revisions available on an FTP site for free downloading.
Gulfstream Aerospace has completed the acquisition of Weco Aerospace Systems, a privately held aviation-component overhaul company specializing in electrical, electronic accessories and flight instrument services.