Today is the last day we are accepting nominations for O&M's Outstanding Achievement Awards. Email or fax them today.
MRO professionals play by the regulatory rules yet continually improve the way business is done. MRO professionals innovate and create. They streamline processes to save time and money. We want to honor these people with an O&M Outstanding Achievement Award for Aviation MRO.
Consider nominating somebody you know who is making a significant contribution to our industry. O&M will present these awards at our MRO Conference & Exhibition in Atlanta on April 17.
Have you helped implement Lean at your MRO, or has Lean impacted your job? If so, please contact me because O&M plans to run an article on Lean case studies in an upcoming issue. We want to hear from you and learn about the pros and cons of your Lean experience.
I just received additional information about the Bedek Aviation Group and Mitsui & Co. joint-venture to convert Boeing 767-300s. A Bedek spokeswoman, Hadassah Paz, said "The 767-300 conversions will be performed at IAI facilities in Israel and at IAI approved conversion sites. The location of M&B Conversions in Ireland has not been determined."
She also said, "We plan to induct the prototype aircraft for conversion at IAI in late 2007 or early 2008."
When asked whether the JV had a launch customer, she said the JV is talking with several potential customers, "but the prototype aircraft has not been identified yet."
Published reports have Airbus COO John Leahy questioning whether the Boeing 747 meets the latest safety standards and suggesting that it be recertificated. Is this a serious argument or a ploy by Airbus to slow development of the 747-8? What's your opinion?
Some airlines pointed out interesting maintenance-related tidbits during their most recent earnings calls.
Mesa had 13 incremental C checks during its fiscal first quarter that resulted in $6.5 million in additional maintenance expense year-over-year. Its executives said they expect that expense to be normalized going forward.
Despite having one of the youngest US fleets, Frontier said its block hour maintenance cost increased 8.8% year-over-year. The carrier's executives also said they expect those costs to trend upward in the current quarter.
AirTran also reported a 10% uptick in maintenance expenses for the fourth quarter and a 19.4% rise for 2006. Some of that increase was related to contract rates on engines powering its Boeing 717s.
Fasteners, bearings, connectors, wiring and seals might not generate the "wow" factor that high- thrust engines or inflight entertainment might, but not having the right rivet or bolt can halt an OEM's or MRO's production, which certainly is an expensive problem. Jeff Smith, Honeywell's vice president of Consumable Solutions (formerly the company's Hardware Product Group: name just happened this month), told O&M that Honeywell generates $500 million annually in distributing and managing consumable solutions. Those solutions include services such as just-in time inventory management, kitting, consignment, forecasting and bin management. He expects this Honeywell division to grow 10 percent this year.
Although a lot of acquisiton activity has taken place in the aviation distrubution arena the past year, Smith said Honeywell is not interesting in buying other companies: "With the way the manufacturing base is constrained today by labor and to a lesser extent by material flow, we can grow just as successfully by ensuring for our customers that they are getting the hardware solutions they need."
Honeywell distributes 725,000 hardware parts, making it one of the broadest hardware inventories globally, even though it does not make any of these parts itself.
Australia's CASA issued advisory Airworthiness Bulletins on Cirrus fuel systems and Diamond ignition systems.
CASA, citing service difficulty reports, recommends (.pdf) that Cirrus SR20/SR22 operators check fuel filters for signs of fuel system contamination. Said CASA:
In one of the reported cases, the airframe fuel filter was found to be contaminated with fuel tank sealant. In all others, the airframe fuel filter as well as gauze Screen (fuel manifold valve P/N 646433-9AX) was found contaminated with material suspected to be lint or fibre.
In a second bulletin (.pdf), CASA said it has received reports of cracked magnetos on aircraft equipped with TCM IO-240B engines. Said CASA:
It is recommended that operators of all Diamond DA20 series aircraft fitted with these magnetos consider incorporating a system of inspection of the hub, initially at the next 50 hourly inspection, then every 100 hourly inspection if no cracking is found.
A big jump in the aftermarket revenues contributed to a solid overall first quarter fiscal 2007 for Rockwell Collins, the company reported Thursday. From the earnings release:
Commercial Systems’ aftermarket revenues increased $49 million, or 24%, to $255 million. Organic aftermarket revenues grew $39 million, or 19%, as air transport avionics, in-flight entertainment and business and regional aftermarket revenues each achieved a double-digit rate of organic growth, with particular strength in business and regional and in-flight entertainment retrofits and spares. Incremental E&S business revenues accounted for $10 million, or 5 percentage points of the aftermarket growth.