Blackhawk Aerospace is celebrating its 1000th turbine engine upgrade customer this week at NBAA-BACE 2021. It’s been a busy year for the maintenance, repair, and overhaul group, which anticipates performing as many as 60 engine upgrades this year. Additionally, Blackhawk (Booth 2445) acquired Missouri-based Columbia Avionics in June and it is currently pitching a major lifecycle extension program to the U.S. Army for its fleet of C-12 Beechcraft King Air B200s.
The Columbia acquisition gives Blackhawk the ability to develop avionics supplemental type certificates (STCs) for its dealer network, as well as those required for future engine upgrade programs. “Engines and avionics need to be able to talk to each other," said Blackhawk director of marketing Lindsay Allmon. "Sometimes it’s harder to work with the larger OEMs in these kinds of projects because they have bigger things on their plate. This acquisition gives us the ability to develop and get these STCs to market more quickly.”
Columbia has been renamed Blackhawk Aerospace Technologies (BAT) and Allmon said that its facility is being revamped. She stressed that the primary mission of BAT is to develop STCs “by installers for installers. These guys intimately understand installations and are developing things that can easily be applied by other installers.” Allmon added that BAT would support Blackhawk’s worldwide dealer network.
BAT joins other Blackhawk properties, including its composites and government services divisions—Blackhawk Aerospace Composites (BAC) and Blackhawk Aerospace Solutions (BAS), respectively.
Located in Morgantown, Kentucky, BAC develops custom materials solutions for aerospace and automotive customers. Allmon said the company had recently been working with Bell developing components for that company’s anticipated entry into the eVTOL air taxi market, as well as building the engine cowling for Blackhawk’s Dash 42 upgrade program for the Cessna Caravan.
BAS, based in Huntsville, Alabama, is currently marketing its life extension program to the Army for its fleet of C-12 King Airs that includes the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-52 engine upgrade, new MT five-blade composite propellers, and Garmin G1000 NXi avionics.
Meanwhile, Blackhawk continues to examine addition airframes for candidates for future upgrade programs, Allmon said, but has yet to make a formal announcement.
In July, Blackhawk announced STC approval for its XP67A engine upgrade in the King Air 300. This is the 30th major powerplant ancillary product STC awarded the company over the course of its 22-year history.
Other recent STCs for the company include EASA and UK Civil Aviation Authority approvals for the True Blue Power TB44 Lithium Ion battery on the King Air 350 series. “The TB44 is a great example of the cutting-edge technology that Blackhawk supports in addition to our engine performance upgrades. Together, the battery-to-engine combination provides operators and unmatched advantage in power, safety, life, and efficiency,” said Blackhawk CEO Jim Allmon.