Dallas Airmotive has grown significantly since Edwin Booth founded Piston Engine Overhaul Company at Dallas Love Field in 1932. That company, which eventually became today’s Dallas Airmotive, served the fledgling general aviation community and built a reputation for quality engine work.
Today Dallas Airmotive operates three major overhaul centers, 10 regional turbine centers, one accessory overhaul center and two aftermarket engine sales and engine parts businesses. The MRO processes about 2,500 engines a year in its more than 700,000 sq ft of production space supported by 12 certified engine test cells.
That growth was set in motion with Booth’s first big break in1946: Pratt & Whitney authorized his company to work on the R1830 and R2000 radial engines and followed up four years later with contracts to work on several military jet engines. With a growing presence in the turbine engine maintenance business, Booth renamed the company Dallas Airmotive. Seven years later it became the first independent repair and overhaul company to receive FAA certification for turbine engine repair.
Over the years more authorizations followed: the JT3, the Rolls-Royce Dart and Spey and General Electric’s CJ610 (the turbojet on 20-series Learjets). In 1964 the MRO became the first independent service company to enter a sales, service and distribution agreement with United Aircraft of Canada (now Pratt & Whitney Canada) for the PT6A. Allison followed suit with approval for the 250 turboshaft, P&WC added the JT15D series and Rolls-Royce approved overhaul and midlife repair on the Tay.
By 1997, Dallas Airmotive had a solid international reputation for engine work and a client list that impressed the management of the BBA Group (now BBA Aviation), which acquired Dallas Airmotive to complement its own flight support and aftermarket services and began to expand its aviation business aggressively.
By 2006 BBA Aviation began to sell off its unrelated manufacturing companies to focus on FBOs, maintenance, components and some related manufacturing. During that period the company’s roster grew significantly to include approval as a major service center for the Honeywell TFE731 and as an overhaul facility for the P&WC PW100 series. Dallas Airmotive acquired Airwork, and BBA Group acquired H+S Aviation of Portsmouth, UK, a complementary engine MRO company. By 2010 Dallas Airmotive was authorized to work on just about every major aircraft engine and APU system.
The MRO also opened a regional turbine center in Brazil to support military, commercial, business and general aviation in Latin America. That same year Dallas Airmotive opened its F1rst Support command center, merging satellite-based technology with all the physical and human resources necessary to provide rapid support for field events. A Singapore RTC was added and last year Dallas Airmotive and sister company H+S Aviation received new designated overhaul facility authorizations for the P&WC PW200, PW210, PT6C and PT6T.
More Growth Ahead
In March last year, Dallas Airmotive announced expansion plans. “The development of our DFW facility was part of an initiative to consolidate our expertise and activities into new and updated facilities. This puts us in a position to react to changes in the market” and to provide customers with “better turn-times and customer service,” said Doug Meador, Dallas Airmotive president.
“Driven by our view of changes that are under way in the marketplace we undertook an initiative called Sea Change. We see two significant things happening. First, the number of rotorcraft is growing rapidly, making it a significant maintenance segment. Second, operators of fixed-wing aircraft are increasingly asking for work to be done at their location. In addition, on-condition maintenance programs and extended TBOs are extending the interval between maintenance events.”
Meador said much of the company’s business involves sending a field service rep to the airplane on location to determine what needs to be done. “Engines are being built so the mechanic doesn’t have to take off the entire engine but instead can remove modules and take them back with him. This creates more need to be out with the customer and less need to have big overhaul centers like we’ve had traditionally,” Meador said.
Dallas Airmotive’s recent major facility upgrade consolidated the main overhaul shop footprint by making the new facility more efficient and therefore less costly to operate. With the advent of the new facility, the MRO is closing a facility in Missouri and moving its work to Dallas. As part of that initiative, the company will be closing its existing test cells around the country and building a six-cell test complex in Dallas that will allow greater capacity and accommodate a wider range of engines. The facility will also house Dallas Airmotive’s move into the rotorcraft industry, which includes sister company H+S Aviation’s facilities in Abu Dhabi and Portsmouth, England.
“We’ve been in the rotorcraft business for decades as a small- to medium-size player. A few years ago we identified the market as a growth area,” Meador said. “Last year, we were awarded new authorizations from Pratt & Whitney Canada that invigorated our business focus on the rotorcraft market. The PW200/210 award expands our rotorcraft authorizations significantly and led to the development of a rotorcraft center of excellence. Through our global service network and other authorizations, we can support the more than 20,000 helicopters in service today. From a competitive nature we’re going to be able to support operators on multiple platforms so that no matter what our customer flies, we can work on the engines.”