EBACE Convention News

AINaudiocast: Kenn Ricci on the State of the Bizav Industry

 - May 15, 2012, 11:03 AM
Kenn Ricci
Kenn Ricci gives a candid view of the business aviation industry.

Business aviation entrepreneur Kenn Ricci has a unique perspective on the industry that to his diverse holdings that includes fractional provider Flight Options, maintenance firm Constant Aviation and aircraft remanufacturer Nextant Aerospace. To get his take on the state of the bizav industry, AIN sat down with him at the EBACE show, and he gave a fairly candid view.

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It is my understanding that only the OEM or the holder of the Type Certificate can call an aircraft RE-MANUFACTURED. The re-manufacture program calls for the product to be re-manufactured back to FACTORY NEW tolerance only the OEM can provide this service (or some entity under the OEM license).
Another interesting claim, Kenn Ricci states that the airframe comes out ZERO TIME. How is this possible, has metal fatigue disappeared?
How can this company call itself aircraft REMANUFACTURER Nextant Aerospace? That is misleading the public.
I think Beechcraft legal team should look into these claims and also find out who at the FAA decided to approve this!
I am just a concerned member of the aerospace industry and I am in no way associated or have any interest in Beechcraft. Thank you.


Thanks for posting your comment. The core of your question is something that comes up fairly frequently when we talk with prospects.

First and foremost-let me clarify one point: The term “Remanufacturing” is not a term that is recognized formally by the FAA. This is a descriptive term we decided to use as it best describes the significant scope of the process that leads to a 400XT. Our goal was to convey the fact that what we are doing is far more than a simple modification program and in fact, is unlike any program in the history of business aviation. When we talk about the remanufacturing process, we are talking about a factory based approach that allows us to deliver a standardized product (this is important on a number of fronts). In short, the process:

• Takes over 6,000 man-hours to complete
• Incorporates all heavy airframe inspections to ensure that the final product is free from any detrimental wear and tear
• Addresses all applicable Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins
• Includes over 60 Nextant engineering orders-all designed to enhance dispatch reliability and lower operating costs
• Includes many structural and aerodynamic enhancements to the airframe
• Replaces the existing Pratt and Whitney engine with the new FJ44-3AP engine
• Updates the avionics to the Pro Line 21 suite by Rockwell Collins
• Replaces the entire primary wiring harness in the aircraft for standardization purposes and enhanced serviceability
• Takes all life-limited components on the aircraft to zero-time status

The resultant 400XT delivers a 50% improvement in range combined with a 30% reduction in operating costs relative to the original aircraft. All deliveries include a complete, whole-aircraft warranty and 2 type-ratings on a dedicated 400XT simulator. In short, it’s about delivering everything that’s good about any OEM experience at a fraction of the cost. What we’ve done is to deliver an aircraft that’s “new” in all material aspects-so much so that when you look at the final MSRP, over 80% of the purchase price is tied to new components!

You do bring up one point that is worth mentioning-Nextant has never stated that we zero-time the airframe. This in fact is not possible. We thoroughly inspect the airframe to make sure it is corrosion free and this airframe, when properly maintained, has no life-limitation. It is arguably the most robust light jet airframe ever designed thanks to the great work that Mitsubishi did on the original design. As previously stated, what we in fact do is take all components that have a life limitation to zero-time status.

I hope this helps clarify some of the points you raise. To the extent you’d like to better understand the process, we’d welcome you as a member of the aerospace industry to visit our production facility at anytime.

With kind regards,

James P. Miller
Nextant Aerospace

Louis raised the same questions that most of us would think of, given Mr. Ricci's interview; however, I did NOT hear Mr. Ricci mention "Zero Time" in this interview. So, I did some web research, asked questions of my FSDO, and queried fellow aviation professionals...in the end, I see no issue in the final product, nor the claims of Nextant. I wish I would've engineered this idea, to be honest. I'm interested to see what the next platform Nextant attempts to perform such work to. Another point (completely away from Aviation)...Mr. Ricci used the phrase "Right Sized" to describe business and economic models in our industry....the American and Global Economy could have used "Right Sizing" long before the financial hardships of '08. Thank you Louis for being skeptical and causing me to do my own research and thank you Mr. Miller for your input.

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