Reborn PATS focuses on refurbs, completions

 - October 13, 2010, 8:14 AM

With completion of the sale of DeCrane Aerospace to Goodrich in September, the former DeCrane completion center and auxiliary fuel system specialist PATS Aircraft Systems (Booth No. 4160) has relaunched itself as a stand-alone company with considerable financial backing.

While most of the DeCrane companies were acquired by Charlotte, N.C.-based Goodrich, PATS became part of Wayzata Investment Partners, which had been involved in the financial arrangement for the DeCrane acquisition.

“We’re being restructured and refinanced by Wayzata,” said PATS’s new CEO, John Martin. “We weren’t able to split away before arrangements were made for NBAA, so we’re sharing the exhibit with DeCrane, formerly our parent company.”

With its new status, PATS is refocusing on the first leg of its aircraft product business: “The cabin completion and refurbishment of one-off, one-at-a-time aircraft, delivered on time and under budget,” explained Martin. In fact, he added, “We have just delivered our 20th interior–a BBJ for an Asian executive–on time and under budget. Another BBJ is in the shop for a major interior refurbishment and the Georgetown, Del.-based company has bids out for several green cabin completion jobs.

Auxiliary fuel and tank systems is a second leg of PATS’s primary revenue stream and one to which it continues to devote considerable effort. The company has been a long-time partner with Boeing in providing such a system for its Boeing Business Jets, installing the additional tanks to increase the range as desired by the owner. With the total system, the max range of a BBJ can be boosted to nearly 6,000 nm. “We’re still maintaining 100-percent on-time delivery of the auxiliary tank systems to Boeing,” Martin said.

The latest on the PATS to-do-list was certification of auxiliary fuel system and tank technology for Boeing’s 757, which the FAA issued in late September. The system will bump the range of the 757 to nearly 5,500 nm from about 4,100 nm. As of this writing, three ­installations were in process and Martin believes there are another 12 to 15 candidates for the four-, six- or eight-tank system. The company expects to partner with some other repair stations to install the 757 aux fuel tank systems.

PATS holds an FAA Part 145 repair station certificate, and the third core source of revenue is centered on maintenance and modifications. The ability is critical to both the interior completion and the auxiliary fuel tank systems business.

When the decision was made to sell most of the DeCrane assets to Goodrich, the smaller Hollingsead International subsidiary remained part of PATS, colocated in Georgetown. Martin said it was logical, as the Hollingsead line of avionics trays and racks complements the PATS business of completion and refurbishment and auxiliary fuel tank systems.

“All in all,” said Martin, “we feel like, as a standalone company in charge of our own destiny, with strong financial backing and restructuring, we’re back in the saddle again. In recent months, we’ve restored a lot of customer confidence and re-instilled that culture of quality and of doing what we say we’re going to do.”