Aircraft maintenance does not exactly move forward technologically at the speed of light. Instead, it appears the industry is in a constant state of making things incrementally better. A small innovation here, some modification to an existing procedure there, a reemphasis on the importance of service, and the result is that operators get better, faster, more cost-effective maintenance.
Maintenance and Modifications
News and issues about aviation maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), covering all segments of the aviation industry; and modifications for aircraft and engines. Subjects include product support of aircraft, engines and avionics, MRO company mergers, acquisitions, announcements and personnel, Airworthiness Directives, Supplemental Type Certificate approvals and other topics.
Owners of some 360 U.S.-registered Mitsubishi MU-2s would be required to install newly designed torque-tube joints to prevent possible failure of the flap control system, if a recently proposed AD is adopted.
Early next year Boeing will offer a kit for BBJs and BBJ2s that will provide a 6,500-ft cabin at FL 410 instead of the standard 8,000-ft cabin. The kit, which can be installed on green and in-service BBJs, is expected to cost less than $100,000. Components include new cabin-pressure-controller boxes with revised software, a new cabin-altitude indicator and two pressure-relief valves.
Converting a piston twin into a turboprop single may seem like a bizarre idea, but an international team of technicians and engineers in Russia and Switzerland has combined its expertise to produce just such a transmutation. [Beech created the Lightning experimental prototype in the mid-1980s by placing a Garrett TPE331 in the nose of a Baron 58P airframe.–Ed.]
Jet Aviation Dusseldorf has received line and base maintenance approvals for Embraer’s ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 regional airliners. The facility in Dusseldorf, Germany, is the first Jet Aviation center to hold a line and base maintenance approval for these aircraft types, which includes airframe, engine and avionics work, as well as aircraft modifications.
Crane Aerospace of Lynnwood, Wash., is developing an aircraft version of a handheld remote tire-pressure indicator that Goodyear developed for automobiles. SmartStem consists of a handheld digital readout device and a tiny, wireless pressure/temperature sensor embedded in the tire’s inflation valve or mounted on the wheels. The user aims the handheld unit at the sensor to obtain a readout of the air pressure, according to Crane.
Duncan Aviation has introduced an aircraft interior refurb program known as “Arkitektuair,” the result of a three-year study and the implementation of new technology, machining and efficiency processes. A computerized numeric-controlled cutting machine allows production of components at tighter tolerances and reproduction of the pieces quickly and easily using electronic “templates,” according to officials.
Fly BN will handle maintenance, overhauls and repairs for the Islander and Defender turboprop and piston models. It is committed to speeding up turnaround times, according to Fly BN officials. More than 1,200 Britten-Norman aircraft are in service throughout some 120 countries. Both the manufacturer and the new support division are headquartered at Bembridge on the Isle of Wight.
A Cessna 182 recently flew from Daytona Beach, Fla., to Carlsbad, Calif, running on jet-A. The aircraft is powered by an SMA SR305-230 turbodiesel piston engine, reported AOPA. The 230-hp engine was tested at 100-percent power for the entire flight and showed a 40-percent increase in range over a regular avgas-fueled 182, according to Riley Aero International, the Carlsbad company that is developing the conversion.
Extex, the Mesa, Ariz. manufacturer of aftermarket turbine engine parts, has launched a campaign to proclaim its non-involvement with an alleged helicopter parts theft scheme that will land one of the company’s three founders (who left the company in 1999) and two former part-time contractors in court next month. The defendants are facing 38 felony counts relating to the theft and resale of Boeing and MD Helicopter parts.