Contributed by Doug Donahue, Airframe Service Sales Rep
CB194A and ASC 469 both address issues with existing Gulfstream water line ribbon heaters, and scheduling is expected to tighten as the deadline for compliance nears.
In the next 10 months, the mandated Gulfstream Water Line Ribbon Heater Upgrade is going to become a challenge for the more than 200 GIV and GV aircraft still needing this critical action.
Our techs have found more than one scorched ribbon heater in the dozens of upgrades they've already performed. The new ribbon heaters are safer, more reliable, efficient and durable, and are capable of resisting freezing during long, high altitude flights.
I expect that last minute scheduling could result in a lack of availability and premium prices for last-minute service. To avoid the rush, there are fours things operators should consider if they still need this upgrade.
1. Know your options.
GIV serial numbers 1000-1499 must complete Customer Bulletin (CB)194A or Aircraft Service Change (ASC) 469 Water Line Ribbon Heater Upgrade by September 4, 2011. CB 194A mandates a recurring water line ribbon heater inspection, while ASC 469 is the terminating action and involves the replacement of all existing installations in the aircraft with upgraded heaters.
With the terminating action, the aircraft will not be subject to the Chapter 5 recurring inspection requirements and costs required by CB194A, and is the course of action I recommend.
GV serial numbers 501-619 must also complete the Water Line Ribbon Heater Assembly Inspection at the next 48 month inspection or comply with ASC 173 Water Line Ribbon Heater Upgrade as the terminating action.
2. Find an expert team.
This upgrade requires multiple weeks of downtime to complete, depending on the location of the water lines and configuration of the cabin. A service center that has 10 or more under their belt will be more efficient, saving you time and money. Expect a fixed cost for the labor hours to remove and reinstall the interior in addition to a fixed cost to install the heater tape. The only variable cost should be the cost for the heater tape itself.
3. Schedule now.
The best schedule, downtime and price will be available to those who act early. By waiting, you risk not being able to comply by the September deadline and paying a premium for last-minute service.
4. Be smart about downtime.
The Water Line Ribbon Heater Upgrade is best done in conjunction with a Gulfstream inspection that provides easy access to the water lines, such as a 24 month, 72 month or 96 month inspection. However, if an operator did not comply with the ASC during the most recent inspection, the upgrade will have to be performed independently and will likely cost more in additional labor for interior removal.
Want to know more? I've worked with dozens of Gulfstream operators on CB 194A, ASC 469 and ASC 173. The experience of Duncan Aviation's Gulfstream team makes us one of the most efficient options available for the Water Line Ribbon Heater Upgrade.