MRO Profile: Professional Pilots Aircraft Maintenance
Maintenance, repair and overhaul facility Professional Pilots Aircraft Maintenance (PPAM), located in the Professional Jet Center at Plymouth, Mass., was established in 2004 as part of a natural progression of PPAM’s owner Don Staszko’s life in aviation.
Staszko served in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1978; he was an F-4 pilot and is a Vietnam veteran. In 1973 he traded in active duty service for the reserves, was hired by American Airlines as a Boeing 727 flight engineer and was laid off the next year, a victim of the OPEC oil embargo.
“I was still in the Air Force reserve so I went to Howard AFB in Panama and flew missions to Central and South America in a C-123 until I was called back by American in July 1976. I was back on the Boeing 727 and moved up to copilot; in 1988 I became an Airbus A300 captain, and in 2001 a Boeing 777 captain,” Staszko said.
While working for American, Staszko began exploring business aviation and in 2000 started Professional Airways as a Part 91 operation on Plymouth Municipal Airport.
The company started with a 17,000-sq-ft facility, acquired a King Air B200 and hired some pilots. In 2001 it acquired a Beechjet 400A and another in 2002, and over the next several years added a Hawker 800XP and a Hawker 1000. In 2005 Professional Airways began managing a King Air 300 and added a Hawker 4000 in 2009, he said.
During the growth of Professional Airways the company did its own maintenance. By 2004 Staszko realized it had so much experience that it made sense to acquire an FAA Part 145 repair station certificate and open it to the public. There was sufficient room in the existing 17,000-sq-ft-facility for Professional Pilots Aircraft Maintenance to open its doors, but Staszko added a 6,000-sq-ft FBO and office and a 22,000-sq-ft-storage hangar, bringing the overall facility to 45,000 sq ft.
“My son had been running the business when in 2006 he told me it had grown to the point he needed me to become more active; I retired from American and started working full time for Professional Airways. We were going gangbusters until the economy went south in 2008, but we’ve managed to survive and finally things have begun to pick up,” he said.
Staszko said that as it comes out of the recession PPAM is positioned to increase its market share. “We watch the Boston-area market closely and make sure we are always the least expensive for fuel, hangar and maintenance to keep us competitive. We’re a dollar cheaper on fuel than the competition and 40 percent less expensive on hangar space,” he said. The company also offers $85-per-hour maintenance for in-house clients to encourage operators to store their aircraft at the facility.
Professional Pilots Aircraft Maintenance is an FAA FAR Part 145 repair station with airframe ratings for the Hawker 4000, 1000 and 800 and the BE400A, King Air 300 series and Hartzell propellers. Engine ratings include the P&WC PW300 series, JT15D, PT6-60 and accessories, including PS835 emergency power supply overhaul. Technicians have been factory trained in engine borescope techniques on the PW300 and PT6. The MRO offers NiCad and lead-acid battery overhaul and recertification, and technicians can conduct records research and inspection for aircraft pre-buy and FAA Part 135 conformity inspections.
PPAM technicians are experienced in all heavy structural modifications on Cessna 400 series piston twins. In addition to experience with engine replacements, major sheet metal repairs, windshield replacements, avionics troubleshooting, electrical systems repairs and general maintenance, PPAM technicians maintain and update avionics navigation data and terrain data on the Pro Airways fleet. They also perform engine condition trend monitoring downloads on Hawkers, along with fault data downloads as necessary.
The MRO has established relationships with third-party vendors for 24-month avionics recertification, structural X-Ray inspections and fuel-tank sealing; all are covered by PPAM’s Part 145 repair station approval process.
The MRO currently supports Pro Airways’ Part 135 charter fleet (Hawker 4000, 1000, 800 and BE400A), performing all of the manufacturer’s scheduled maintenance. It also recently completed an ABCD inspection on a BE400A and is currently beginning a Hawker 1000 G structural inspection.
PPAM has a mobile service truck equipped for AOG and flight-line service of oxygen and nitrogen systems. The service vehicle is available for dispatch to area airports. Other services offered by the MRO include aircraft cleaning, polishing, lav service, water service and GPU external power.
There are currently six technicians, among them the director of maintenance and the chief inspector; all are licensed airframe and powerplant mechanics. The company also employs a full-time parts manager and aircraft cleaner.
“Our technical staff has collectively 150 years of experience. Our senior technician recently received the Charles Taylor Award from the FAA for 50 years of service as a maintenance technician, and the repair station has received the FAA’s Diamond Award for excellence,” Staszko said. “We have the expertise, capacity and location to take advantage of the potential as the industry comes out of the recession.”