Many operators are under the impression that having an MRO offer dedicated AOG support services is a new concept. It’s not.
MK Aviation, the predecessor of Western Aircraft, started providing such services to transient aircraft at its Boise, Idaho base in 1957 when it became an FAA Class IV Repair Station.
“Boise has always been a popular destination for private and business aviation,” explains Western Aircraft’s MRT Business Manager, CJ Miller. Since we had a lot of experience with popular models, we began providing both AOG and scheduled support from our factory-authorized service center for most major aircraft models, ranging from piston singles up to large-cabin jets. Additionally, we are an authorized service center for several airframe and engine manufacturers, including Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, and most recently, Rolls-Royce engines on Gulfstream aircraft.”
AOG becomes SOP
Miller explains that while providing AOG support has been part of Western Aircraft’s history, it wasn’t until late 2020 that the company formally established the department and dedicated a team to those specialized services.
“As our customer base grew, so did their need for AOG and drop-in support at remote locations,” he says. “We now have dedicated MRT technicians at our home base in Boise and eastern Idaho, Las Vegas, Reno, and Spokane. We cover all the western U.S, western Canada, Alaska, and Hawaii, and we recently earned Mexican Registration Authority.”
He further explains that a growing fleet of specially equipped trucks and vans supports Western Aircraft’s MRT technicians. Also, when the need arises, the MRT techs can fly to a customer’s location in one of the company’s Pilatus PC-12 turboprops. Longer-range repairs are attended via the scheduled airlines.
In addition to AOG situations, Western Aircraft’s MRT technicians provide inspections and maintenance services for remotely located customer aircraft.
“The majority of our AOG calls are routine repairs, while our remote-site inspections can be more technical and involved,” Miller says. “No matter what we are asked to do, our primary goal is to get the aircraft flying as quickly and safely as possible. Safety is never compromised.”
Extraordinary people doing a special job
Miller explains that while the types of repairs Western Aircraft’s MRT accomplishes in the field and at the home base are the same, the mobile technicians need an added layer of creativity and flexibility.
“Our MRT specialists receive the same factory training, but they need different experiences and skills than a line tech,” he says. “The MRT representative may work on a Falcon today and a King Air tomorrow. They have to be quicker to adapt to different aircraft, manuals, and conditions.”
In addition, Western Aircraft’s MRT technicians must deal with people under rather stressful conditions. That’s a skill unto itself.
“Most operators understand the situation and are grateful for the assist,” Miller says. “However, in some cases, an extra layer of care is necessary to help alleviate the customer’s stress. That’s when the MRT technician can turn to the expertise of its home base, Western Aircraft, for additional technical input.”
“Our MRT technicians are basically the customer’s lifeline to getting that airplane flying again as quickly and safely as possible. Often in these situations, they share with us how very grateful they are for the invaluable service we’re able to provide.
“As our customers continue to expand the use of their airplanes,” Miller adds, “we will work to grow our MRT services to meet their needs. We are here to keep them in the air.”