Dallas Aeronautical Services, located 20 miles south of Dallas Love Field, is a highly specialized maintenance, repair and overhaul facility focused on a niche market. According to Mike Manning, the company’s vice president, DAS specializes in component repair.
“We do a significant amount of spares and rotables work for OEMs; however, we also work with both maintenance providers and owner/operators. Our specialization is working with clients who need a high quality but fast solution to their component repair requirements,” he told AIN.
DAS began operations in December 2004, embodying an idea of Don Snodgrass, the company’s president. Initially the MRO provided expertise, tooling and engineering support to other structural repair and manufacturing facilities.
“Some local DFW structural manufacturers would find themselves having difficulties completing a contract for the manufacture of a new flight control. We would rebuild their tooling, review their manufacturing process and retrain their employees. Many had government contracts so we would help them with their first article source inspection. We would walk them through a QAR [quality assurance representative] source inspection to meet their government contract requirements,” Manning said.
““In the early days money was tight, but I was able to bring customers to the business through prior relationships and began working the phone looking for more,” Manning recalled.
Snodgrass worked on a process manual and submitted paperwork for FAA Part 145 repair station approval, and DAS received its air agency certificate in November 2005. DAS’s first job as a newly approved repair station was to fix a GII spoiler for Gulfstream’s Appleton facility; it still supports this contract.
Facility at Capacity
Currently the MRO is operating out of a 26,500-sq-ft campus in Lancaster, Texas. It includes a 6,000-sq-ft bond shop dedicated to overhauling and repairing composite flight controls and structures.
“This is where we do components such as Gulfstream GV, G550 and GIV spoilers; Gulfstream and Learjet lower engine cowls; and floor panels, radomes and trim tabs. The bond shop has a 22-foot autoclave, a clean room, adhesive freezers and workbenches where finished parts are prepared for paint,” Manning said.
The 6,000-sq-ft metal structure and paint shop has a full-size paint booth and a large walk-in oven and specialized equipment used to overhaul GII, GIII, GIV and GV/G550 thrust reversers. The company also uses the facility for projects such as replacing the upper and lower skins on Hawker leading edges, reskinning Gulfstream flaps and overhauling Challenger 300 and GIV inlets.
A third, 4,500-sq-ft building contains metal forming and cutting equipment, including two press breaks, a large sheet metal sheer, a 250-ton form press and all the tools and work space to build containers and packages for shipping completed parts.
The 4,000-sq-ft machine shop has extensive welding technology and complete four- and five-axis machining capability to build tooling and details for parts the MRO repairs because they are no longer available on the market. “This is made possible by using current OEM data and by an advanced scanning and machine tool path programming system,” Manning said. There is also a 6,000-sq-ft storage facility containing substantial back inventory of bond tools and assembly fixtures as well as customer-owned containers and the MRO’s rotable inventory.
“The problem we face today is that we’re out of space,” he said. The company has broken ground on a 54,400-sq-ft facility in Cedar Hill, Texas, that is slated to open next month.
“We have the most experienced bond and structure technicians in the industry, and that’s not hyperbole,” Manning said. “Our techs have repaired just about every type of aircraft flying in the western world. It is that in-depth experience that allows us to give our customers the lowest turn time and the best quality in our industry.” He added, “Our rejection and warranty rates speak for themselves.”
DAS works on the Gulfstream G100, G150, G200, GII, GIII, GIV, GV and G550; all Hawker 125 series; Beechjet 400 and King Airs; Bombardier Challenger 300 and 600 series and Global Express; and all Learjets. The MRO also works on radomes, thrust reverser and engine panels for the Spey, Tay and BR710 engines, thrust reverser for the RB211-535 and the V2500-1A and -5A.
The FAA Part 145 and EASA-approved repair station currently has 41 employees, with three more full-time employees in Brazil who will staff a facility being built in São José dos Campos. DAS Brazil will be submitting an application for ANAC approval as soon as the building is completed.
“We became aware of the growth of aviation in Brazil, particularly in the aging aircraft sector, coupled with the growth in its economy and political stability. Brazil has a pro-business government and it appears to be a good fit for DAS,” Manning explained.