StandardAero Omaha Braces for Missouri River Flooding

 - August 24, 2011, 11:30 AM

StandardAero’sOmaha regional service center completed its first line-level inspection of a Honeywell TFE731 engine since acquiring the Honeywell line-level service authorization this past June. Technicians completed 150-/250-hour and 300-/400-hour engine inspections on all three engines of a Falcon 50 for an Eppley Field-based corporate customer, and they did it while watching the Missouri River threatening to flood the airport.

Dan Osborn, site lead at the Omaha facility, told AIN, “We’ve been under a flood alert since before I joined the company in June. The airport sits on low ground with the Missouri River bordering it on three sides. The river has been above flood stage since the beginning of June. So far the levees have held, but we’ve had ground water leeching up and there have been sink holes open up on the airport. A Challenger 604 operator had a sink hole open in its parking lot. About a month ago the National Guard was here wearing life vests assessing the situation.” 

Osborn said the Army Corps of Engineers is considering drawing down the water level up river in South Dakota to help alleviate the situation and provide an opportunity to assess the integrity of the levees. “The Corps said it probably won’t be until the beginning of October before it’ll be able to do an assessment, so we’re just waiting and hoping,” he added.

Eric Thompson, product director, engines, said many of Eppley Airport’s tenants have relocated temporarily to surrounding airports in case the levee doesn’t hold. “I know of at least 10 or 15 aircraft, mostly corporate, that have temporarily relocated as a result of the water concern,” he said.

“We’re here and our doors are open, but we’re spending much of our time trying to support the operators any way we can as they return to pick up and drop off their passengers. If they need work we focus the staff on getting it done quickly; we completed the Falcon 50 in one day. We’ve been lucky so far,” he said. “Other than a little ground water we haven’t had any serious problems. The airport authority, Corps of Engineers and some local companies installed 70 pumps around the airport to move water back over the levee.”

While the timing could have been better to inaugurate the facility’s Honeywell line-level service authorization, Thompson isn’t concerned. “The Honeywell designation is a fairly big deal for us and it expands our Omaha capabilities. There are about 74 Honeywell engines in our service area and any time we can do warranty work for Honeywell customers it gives us really good exposure. We’re always trying to figure out how to make life easier for our customers. As far as the flood alert is concerned, I think we’re going to be fine and when the tenants return we’ll be up and ready to take care of them. Until then we’ll do whatever we can to help them cope with the situation,” he added. StandardAero Omaha is an FAA Part 145 repair station operating under a class 4 rating.