Midcoast's activity unbent by downturn
The September 11 terrorist attacks and economic downturn have seemingly done nothing to dent the maintenance and modification business of Midcoast Aviation. In results announced last Wednesday, the company logged record 21-percent sales growth in its last financial year (ending June 30, 2002).
Over the past 12 months, Midcoast has opened a new facility at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Mo., returned three aircraft to service after major structural damage and developed a reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM) solution for the British Aerospace Hawker 700. It also managed to send almost two-thirds of its technicians on FAA-approved training programs (earning the Administration’s Diamond Certificate of Excellence for the seventh successive year).
The new Spirit of St. Louis base is largely focused on aircraft maintenance. It supplements the company’s existing St. Louis facilities at the city’s Downtown Airport and at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Perryville, Mo. maintenance and manufacturing operations of its parent company Sabreliner are now also available to Midcoast customers.
In June, Midcoast (Booth No. 2053) completed a center wing plank installation on a badly damaged Dassault Falcon 900B, becoming the first company other than the French manufacturer to handle this heavy repair. It also fitted an improved flap control system, speed brake panels, flap drives and metal ailerons for the aircraft, as well as fully modernizing its avionics suite. Over the past year, it has also restored another Falcon 900 and a Gulfstream IV to service after accidents that might well have resulted in write-offs.
The RVSM fix for the Hawker 700A and B models is expected to be approved within the next 60 days. Midcoast teamed with Rockwell Collins for the technical and equipment solution and with KSR for the flight test data and operator approval support. The final group STC is about to go to the FAA. Depending on the existing specification of an aircraft, the mod costs between $50,000 and $250,000 and takes one to four weeks of downtime.
Meanwhile, Midcoast sister company Premier Turbines is set to complete Honeywell authorization to perform major powerplant inspection (MPI) on Honeywell’s TFE731-20, -40 and -60 engines. The final on-site audit by the engine maker is scheduled for September 23 and 24, and the authorization will allow operators of the Falcon 50EX, 900EX, Gulfstream 100 and Bombardier Learjet 45 to get both powerplant and airframe maintenance done at St. Louis Downtown Airport.