For nearly 120 years, the name Rolls-Royce has been synonymous with some of the greatest advancements in automotive and military, commercial and business aviation engine technologies. So, it was no surprise that when Grumman’s Gulfstream I, the world’s first purpose-built business aircraft, flew in 1958, it was powered by Rolls-Royce’s RB.53 Dart turboprop engine.
Sixty some years and 8,000-plus engines later, Rolls-Royce is still powering the most advanced business aircraft from Bombardier, Cessna, Embraer, and Gulfstream.
Although the technology behind each new generation of Rolls-Royce engine has changed, one thing hasn’t: the company’s unwavering commitment to providing the best customer support experience in the business aviation industry.
While delivering on that promise may sound easy, it never is. Unlike commercial airline operators, business aircraft owners are all unique in their individual service needs, and it’s taken considerable investments in time and resources for Rolls-Royce to stay ahead of its customers’ expectations.
“We’ve spent a lot of time talking to our aircraft manufacturing customers and to individual aircraft owner/operators to learn what is truly important to them. Why did they buy their particular aircraft? How can Rolls-Royce best serve their particular needs?” said Andrew “Andy” Robinson, Rolls-Royce’s SVP, Customers and Service, Business Aviation. “It’s clear that our customers believe that outstanding service is a major differentiator in business aviation.
“So, we’ve expanded our commitment to provide services that will meet their expectations,” he continued. “For example, we now have a brand new 24/7 Availability Center at our headquarters in Germany that looks after all of our business aviation engines worldwide. That way, we can ensure faster response times and reduce AOG downtime wherever in the world our customers are.”
Robinson explained that backing up this promise is Rolls-Royce’s Global Service Network of OnWing Services Technicians who are supported by over 75 strategically located Authorized Support Center (ASC) facilities. Nine global parts stores and a dedicated team of Customer Managers specially trained to quickly support a customer’s scheduled and AOG maintenance needs.
Seeing VR training as a real-world solution.
As if meeting all the myriad of different needs required by its array of customers wasn’t enough of a challenge, now Rolls-Royce’s global support team is faced with new travel and social-distancing requirements.
“Site visits will always be required to meet our service goals, but we have been experimenting over the past few years with different types of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies,” explained James Prater, Rolls-Royce’s VP Services, Business Aviation. “We’ve been testing the VR Familiarization Training program for the BR725 engines with our Corporate Customer Council (C3) and they are thrilled with it. In fact, we just started shipping kits to customers and service centers.
“Technicians can go through all of the various inspections and repair processes with a live Rolls-Royce instructor,” he said. “It eliminates all the costs and risks of traveling to the U.S. or U.K. to a training center. Technicians can now get the training they need when and where they are. It’s going to be a game-changer.”
Robinson added that advancements like VR training wouldn’t happen if it weren’t for the close relationships the company maintains with the members of its C3.
“Their input and guidance have been invaluable. We have found that sharing ideas like VR or our new Technical Publications with animated 3D assembly and getting their feedback is highly beneficial for us,” he said. “Another program they initiated was the introduction of our CorporateCare Enhanced program, which is the first offering of its kind that covers the engine, nacelle, and thrust-reverser. If we supply it, it’s covered. Our customers asked for it, and we’ve delivered.”
Totally focused on delivering Rolls-Royce quality support.
“We have over 8,000 engines in the business aviation fleet and we work very hard with each customer to find ways to deliver the level of support they expect from us,” Robinson said. “We are 100 percent focused on delivering whatever solutions we need to continue to be the number-one service provider in business aviation.”