Newly integrated StandardAero services more than just engines

NBAA Convention News » 2008
September 30, 2008, 6:06 AM

StandardAero (Booth No. 899) has received an FAA STC for the King Air 200 that involves removal of the airplane’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-41-series engines and upgrades to more powerful -42 engines.

“PT6A-41 engines have been in service for more than 35 years, and many of them are approaching their third and fourth overhaul,” noted Manny Atwal, general manager of StandardAero’s PT6A business unit. Low-cycle fatigue replacement, service bulletin requirements and customer build specifications have been driving up engine overhaul and maintenance costs. According to Atwal, the engine upgrade program includes a new PT6A-42 engine for a slightly higher cost than overhauling an aging -41 engine, while increasing performance and aircraft resale value.

The upgrade also includes the latest in P&WC engine technology, increased aircraft value and increased performance. True airspeed at FL240 increases to 290 knots with no airframe modifications required. StandardAero also offers extended warranty coverage to 10 years or base TBO.

While the announcement of the new STC is high on StandardAero’s list of messages to the public here at NBAA’08, if the company could get out only one message it would be that it no longer services just engines, a spokesman said.

The newly integrated, one-year-old company has become a “tip-to-tail maintenance provider” spanning the business aviation spectrum from King Airs to Boeing Business Jets.

“This spring we rebranded everything as StandardAero, though we are maintaining the Associated Air Center brand because of its unique recognition factor,” Rob Mionis, company president and CEO, told NBAA Convention News. Mionis took the helm from Paul Soubry, who remains an adviser. A consolidated management team is operating out of parent company DAE Engineering’s offices in Tempe, Ariz.

Rebranded under the new StandardAero logo were the Standard Aero franchise, TSS Aviation and Landmark Aviation. According to Mionis, the company grew about 10 percent since last September while increasing profitability and operating cash flow.

Mionis attributed the improvement to the “sharing of best practices.

“Standard Aero brought a nice portfolio of strategic tools with it, and we’ve leveraged them for the entire business as best operating practices,” he said. “Many companies have good ideas but never seem to put them into practice. We’ve implemented a monthly Gating Counsel where our executives look at all our projects to keep us on track, budget and time. The Counsel is also used to vet proposed projects.”

StandardAero focuses on four market sectors: Associated AirCenter business aviation, airlines and fleets, government and military, and services. Business aviation comprises approximately 45 percent of the company’s revenue.

Mionis said that aligning with the OEMs is an integral part of the company’s strategy. “We take pride in our rich relationships with them. We use a strategy we call Link, which calls for us to work closely with each OEM to find how we can best work with them.”

The company has engine OEM authorizations in place with Pratt & Whitney, Rolls-Royce, GE, Honeywell and Vericor. Airframe OEM alignments include Dassault, Bombardier, Gulfstream, Learjet, Hawker Beechcraft, Cessna, Boeing and Airbus.

Mionis said he is particularly proud of the company’s dedication to the environment. “We’ve been focused on being green for a long time. I think it has to do with the Canadian roots of the company because Standard Aero had a long history of environmentally friendly programs and behavior,” he said.

Environmental Initiatives

According to Mionis, the company employs comprehensive, state-of-the-art engineering controls to process air emissions (plating, cleaning, thermal spray, grinding, welding, painting and so on) for human health and environmental protection. It uses redundant hazardous process control systems, containment and plc (programmable logic controller) alarms to minimize/eliminate environmental impact and risk.

“As a company we optimize the resources we use in production to reduce fiber, water, chemical, energy and material use internally and through supplier/OEM partnerships to reduce global environmental impact,” he said. “For instance, in one of our largest U.S. facilities we use closed-loop water recycling for all industrial process waters, yielding zero sanitary discharge and conserving more than a million gallons of potable water a month.”

StandardAero is a member of the U.S. EPA National Environmental Performance Track Green Leadership Program and has been ISO 14001/Environmental Management Systems third-party registered since 2004. The effort has not gone unnoticed, earning the company the Canada Energy Efficiency Award.

The company has made significant investments in the past year, including a $20 million expansion of its Winnipeg, Canada facility; an engine shop redesign in Los Angeles; and new cabinet fabrication and upholstery shops at Associated Air Center in Dallas.

Associated Air Center, the company’s VIP completion center, has expanded the cabinet shop by doubling the existing 10,000-sq-ft space. The company divided the space into fabrication functions and prep-and-cover functions, making it possible to manage increased demand. Additionally, cabinet operations have been reengineered, allowing for the kitting of cabinetry subcomponents, saving valuable cabinet build time.

The company also built a $6.5 million test cell at its Maryville, Tenn. facility to test the new PW600-series turbofan engine. The new class of engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada is designed to power very light jets, such as the Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100 and Cessna Citation Mustang. It will be the world’s first test cell dedicated solely to PW600 maintenance repair and overhaul.

Adjacent to the existing Rolls-Royce AE3007 test cell, the new 10,500-sq-ft facility provides approximately 6,500 sq ft of cell engine preparation area and another 4,000 sq ft of space from a mezzanine. Although the purpose of this test cell is to test PW600 engines, which produce 900 to 1,350 pounds of thrust, part of the design criteria was to size it for potential future testing capabilities using engines up to 15,000 pounds of thrust. Therefore, the new test cell is nearly identical in size to the existing AE3007 test cell.

Amid the integration and expansion efforts, StandardAero continued to complete projects. Associated Air Center delivered its twelfth Airbus Corporate Jet completion project since 2003. Arriving as a green aircraft in early November 2007, the project was completed in eight months. The aircraft departed AAC in late July to join two previously completed siblings in Africa.

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