One result of the huge deal to sell up to 105 Beechcraft King Air 350i twin-turboprops to the new Wheels Up private charter membership company is that a comprehensive plan was required to support servicing of the airframes and engines. Thus both Hawker Beechcraft Global Customer Support (HBGCS) and Pratt & Whitney Canada (P&WC) signed a long-term service agreement with Wheels Up here in Las Vegas on the eve of the show, covering support of the Wheels Up King Air 350i fleet and their PT6A-60A engines, respectively. Airframe work will be done at HBGCS facilities, with much of the work centered at Beechcraft’s Wilmington, Del. maintenance facility. Engine work will be done at P&WC network engine shops.
“This is the largest general aviation propeller [aircraft] order in history,” said Christi Tannahill, Beechcraft senior v-p of Global Customer Support. “The value for Beechcraft is over $600 million, just from the services perspective.”
P&WC is providing its ESP Gold plan to cover the PT6 engines powering the Wheels Up fleet. “This is the best coverage you can get,” said Denis Parisien, P&WC v-p of general aviation. The ESP Gold plan includes engine condition trend-monitoring via an airframe-mounted aircraft data acquisition system (ADAS) and data transmission unit (DTU). The data from the ADAS will be sent via the DTU over the cellular network, once the King Airs land, to Camp Systems for trend monitoring. “The box takes care of doing that automatically,” said Parisien, “and there’s no pilot intervention.”
ESP Gold includes all scheduled overhauls, hot-section inspections, unscheduled repairs, accessory maintenance, product support improvements, troubleshooting and rental engines. Mobile repair team services for AOG situations are also included.
The overall maintenance support agreement, which includes ESP Gold, also covers extensive airframe requirements, such as scheduled, line and unscheduled maintenance (including parts and labor), interior refurbishment, propeller overhaul and any time-limited items. “It’s a comprehensive package that we put together for them,” said Roger Smeltzer, Beechcraft v-p of customer fleet programs.