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The Duncan Download Blog: Business Aviation Advice & Observations

Duncan Aviation in 2014: New Year…New Hangar…More Space

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Jan 09, 2014 @ 08:00 AM

Duncan Aviation's new maitenance hangar Duncan Aviation's new maitenance hangar

Can you think of a better way to begin the new year than to open the doors to a brand new aircraft maintenance hangar? Neither can we.  And on Monday, that’s exactly what we did. The clean and freshly coated floors of Duncan Aviation’s newest 40,000 square-foot maintenance hangar were christened as four business jets, including one Falcon 7X were ushered in during near-record low temperatures and blowing winds, two weeks ahead of schedule!

And we’re not done!

Although this new hangar is large enough to hold the largest model business jets in operation, this is only phase one. Another 40,000-square-foot maintenance hangar and a 95,000-square-foot office and shop space, will be completed and ready for use in June of this year. Altogether, this maintenance structure is the largest expansion project Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln campus has ever seen.

The expansion comes in response to customer requests and changing customer needs. The business aviation industry continues to shift toward larger business aircraft, a trend fueled by technological advances and increased globalization.

There has been considerable buzz and anticipation for Duncan Aviation’s expansion in Lincoln, Nebraska. At last check (only moments ago), all available space is occupied and 18 more large-body aircraft are scheduled for multi-week maintenance events during the first quarter. With nearly 20 more waiting to be placed on the schedule for hangar floor space through the middle of the year.

If you are wanting to get your business jet on the schedule and in this new hangar for the coming year, don't hesitate. Space is limited and it is filling up fast. Contact a Duncan Aviation sales rep today.

We are excited about this expansion and want to share it with you. Let me personally invite you to come visit Duncan Aviation and see firsthand our commitment to our customers, our team members and business aviation.

To view the construction progress, a timelapse video, and a construction photo gallery, visit. http://www.duncanaviation.aero/airframe/promotions/maintenance_hangar_construction.php

Tags: Avionics Installation, Airframe Maintenance, Announcements, Maintenance Event Planning, Videos

Duncan Aviation offers Interior Cosmetic Detailing

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 @ 11:18 AM

Submitted by Kristi Steward, Interior Modifications/Completions Manager

S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T., in military lingo stands for “special weapons and tactics.” At Duncan Aviation, it describes a special team putting their talents to work, addressing the most-requested cosmetic details in aircraft interiors.

Frequent customer requests led Duncan Aviation to create the SWAT service to ensure that the interior of every aircraft that comes to one of our facilities—even those scheduled for only maintenance or avionics installation—leaves looking better than when it arrived; the ultimate goal being to improve your aircraft with minor interior repairs.

Every aircraft that arrives at Duncan Aviation in Lincoln, Neb., and Battle Creek, Mich., is subjected to an “Interior SWAT Team Analysis.” Offered without cost or obligation, this in-depth examination is conducted and items that can be corrected, cleaned, updated or otherwise improved to beautify the aircraft interior are identified. The inspection, combined with flight crew interviews, reveals specific areas the SWAT Team can improve while the aircraft is down. On-the-spot quotes are created and, once approved, are incorporated into the existing scheduled work without extending downtime.

Duncan Aviation holds service center authorizations for several major airframe manufacturers, including: Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer and Cessna. We are also an Organization Designation Authorization (ODA) and an FAA/EASA approved Class 1-4 airframe rated repair station. Our interior project portfolio and capabilities fact sheets are available online.

Tips and Tricks

The SWAT teams offer the following advice to keep your aircraft interior in top-notch condition:
  • Perform regular cleaning and conditioning of all leather
    and wood surfaces with approved products.
  • Avoid cleaning products that will cause a build-up and give
    surfaces a cloudy appearance.
  • Clean any inadvertent ink marks immediately with Isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab. Once set, an ink stain cannot be removed.
  • Always cover seats when bringing luggage through the cabin.
  • Close drawers and doors softly, without slamming.
  • Perform regular interior maintenance at least every other year during service center visits.

The Hit List

The most common items addressed by the SWAT teams are: carpet cleaning, leather chair re-dye, re-webbing seat belts and cabinetry hardware adjustments.

Cabin

  • Seat adjustments
  • Seat cleaning and conditioning
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Leather re-dye
  • Cabinet touch-up
  • Install new-style vinyl carpet runner
  • Install new cork in cupholders
  • Re-web seatbelts
  • Cabinet and card table adjustments

Cockpit

  • Instrument panel touch-up
  • Pedestal touch-up
  • Install new sun visor assembly
  • Re-web seatbelts

Other Areas

  • Replace entry step tread
  • Replace baggage step tread
  • New baggage load covers
  • Requested touch-ups

 Kristi Steward is a the Manager for interior modiciations and completion services at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Neb., facility. Her aviation career began in 1992.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Interior Refurbishment, Maintenance Event Planning

Learjet 35/55: Prevent Premature Starter Armature Failures

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Jul 02, 2013 @ 07:00 AM

Contributed by Jerry Cable, Accessories Tech Rep

Learjet/Bendix Starter 6608268-6

Our experience has taught us that a commutator and brush reconditioning program will extend the life of your armature and brushes.

Technicians in the Duncan Aviation Accessories shop, recommend a reconditioning program for the Lear/Bendix starter 6608268-6 on Learjet 35/55 aircraft. The reconditioning of the armature commutator and re-seating and re-run on the brushes every 800 hours (maximum) will divert armature commutator damage.

In cases where the armature commutator and brushes are not reconditioned, the commutator will become pitted and burnt from the diminishing electrical connection to the eroded brushes. This armature commutator damage will progress to the point of mica electrical breakdown (mica is an electrical insulation between the armature commutator bars). This mica breakdown is non-reversible in most cases, and the armature must be replaced.

A common symptom that this is occurring would be the engine is slow to spool at engine start.

Accessory Service Expansion

Scheduled to open later this summer, Duncan Aviation will open its newly refurbished Accessories Shop in Lincoln, Nebraska, that will more than double the footprint of its service area. The Accessory department will gain approximately 6,300 square feet of service area, double its work benches and add new tooling and in-house capabilities, including an overhead crane and a new paint booth with curing room.

To read more about the Accessory department expansion and added tooling, read the Spring 2013 Duncan Debrief.

These expansions come in response to customer requests and changing customer needs. As the industry continues to shift toward larger business aircraft, a trend fueled by technological advances and increased globalization, Duncan Aviation’s new expanded shop areas will be able to accommodate the volume of maintenance, modifications and completions work our customers require.

Jerry Cable is an Accessories Tech Rep located at Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Nebr., facility. He is a landing gear and accessory components and systems specialist. His aviation career began in 1991.

Tags: Parts & Accessories, Squawk Solution, Learjet, Maintenance Event Planning

Avoid Hawker Landing Gear Exchanges During Maintenance Events

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Dec 28, 2011 @ 09:57 AM

Contributed by Dan Fuoco, Hawker Airframe Service Sales Rep.

Hawker Landing Gear

Hawker roll-around nose landing gear (NLG) and main landing gear (MLG) used to keep aircraft moving through maintenance.

I’ve worked with Hawker maintenance events for a long time, and I make it my business to make sure everything is in place for an aircraft to deliver on time (if not ahead of schedule). It’s common knowledge that combining Hawker landing gear overhauls with scheduled maintenance and paint saves downtime. What isn’t commonly known is a simple piece of equipment can reduce that downtime by another few weeks.

That piece of equipment is called a roll-around landing gear, which serves as a temporary stand-in for the original gear when it goes in for overhaul during a combined maintenance event.

Roll-Around Landing Gear

Typically, a maintenance event will finish weeks ahead of a landing gear overhaul. Since an aircraft can’t be painted without a landing gear, operators typically have two options: let the aircraft sit for two weeks while the original gear is overhauled, or exchange the gear for another unit. A roll-around landing gear presents a third, more efficient option.

When an aircraft arrives for maintenance, the original landing gear can be immediately replaced with the roll-around gear. This allows the aircraft to be moved through all phases of maintenance, including paint, while the original gear is overhauled. When the aircraft paint process is finished, the original landing gear is usually ready for reinstallation.

2 Weeks of Downtime Savings

I strongly recommend that operators choose a Hawker service center that has roll-around landing gear, especially when planning for a combined maintenance event. Operators will probably save about two weeks of downtime if they work with a service center that has roll-around landing gear available.

Roll-around landing gear are available at Duncan Aviation for all series of Hawker aircraft; Challenger 600s, 601s and 604s; and Falcon 50s, 900s and 2000s. Duncan Aviation has a Hawker Authorized Service Center, and a Hawker-authorized accessory shop for landing gear overhauls in Lincoln, NE (LNK). Please contact me, Dan Fuoco, or a member of Duncan Aviation’s Hawker team for more information.

Dan Fuoco serves as a Airframe Service Sales Rep. at Duncan Aviation’s full-service facility in Lincoln, NE (LNK), specializing in Citation and Hawker aircraft. He started his aviation career in 1974.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Maintenance Event Planning, Falcon, Hawker, Challenger

When Aircraft Maintenance Exceeds the MRO’s Capabilities

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Fri, Oct 07, 2011 @ 10:20 AM

Contributed by Janet Beazley, Project Manager

Matching MRO capabilities with your needs.

Can your chosen MRO handle a workscope that goes off track?

As an aircraft owner / operator, you know as well as anyone, that an aircraft workscope can expand at a moments notice for any number of reasons. It can quickly go beyond the capabilities of the service facility performing the work.

The following are items that can paralyze a project and add to the maintenance downtime.

Parts

Aircraft parts can be a HUGE issue at times. The older the aircraft, the more difficult it is to locate the appropriate parts. It is also common to experience significant lead times on getting parts delivered from the Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Challenges can and do arise, if sending a part to a third party vendor for repair or overhaul, including delays in shipping or a repair that requires a longer turn time than originally promised. Does your provider have a parts inventory or the capability to fabricate aircraft parts to keep the project on schedule?  

Tooling

In this day and age, very expensive tooling is required for even the most basic work on business aircraft. Additionally, many aircraft models often require the use of special tooling during a maintenance event. Whether a company has the tooling and whether you will be charged extra for it could make a difference in the work performed on your aircraft. Has your Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility invested the in special tooling required for your aircraft?

Corrosion

If your aircraft is an older model or has lived much of its life in a corrosive tropical saltwater environment, the probability is high that your project will include removing corrosion. Does your facility have an in-house structural repair and Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) services?

Engineering & Certification

Not all unexpected maintenance requires additional engineering and certification services, but when the need arises, having a company that can respond quickly with experts and experience will save time and money. Aircraft operators choosing to work with a facility without designated authority or that is not in direct contact with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), will quickly learn the time required to get a Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) or Major Repair and Alteration (MRA) certified through these channels takes longer than it does to complete the actual modification.

SBs & ADs

Unknown Service Bulletins (SBs) or Airworthiness Directives (ADs) that are out of compliance can hold up a maintenance event. ADs are a no-brainer; they must be complied with—period. A MRO will not clear your aircraft to fly if there is an outstanding AD. Some SBs are mandatory and will involve time to complete. Having your aircraft logbooks researched prior to any scheduled maintenance could save you time and money. 

Duncan Aviation has an extensive list of capabilities and the expertise to anticipate many issues that can interupt a maintenance project. Download all of Duncan Aviation's Capabilities Fact Sheets.

Click me

Janet Beazley is a Project Manager at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Nebr. facility, serving as the main point of contact for her customers' projects ensuring overall project quality and timely aircraft delivery. Her aviation career began in 1982.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Maintenance Event Planning

How to Establish a Baseline for Aircraft Maintenance Budgets

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Sep 22, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Contributed by Airframe Service Sales Representative Michael Brown

Aircraft Maintenance Budget

An properly funded maintenance budget will protect the value of your aircraft.

People who are not directly involved with aircraft maintenance can have a hard time justifying the necessary costs and downtime. However, it’s essential to understand that aircraft operate in extreme conditions, and a sufficient maintenance budget is necessary to perform adequate inspections, prevent damage and protect aircraft value.

Here are five factors to consider when establishing a baseline for aircraft maintenance costs.

1. Determine the fair market value of essential maintenance.

Fluctuations in the economy over the past few years have caused some organizations to expect lower maintenance costs for their aircraft. When negotiating with the owner on a maintenance budget, request historical, out-the-door inspection costs from several maintenance service providers for the past few years. Also, see if you can determine what the return rate is for workmanship issues from each provider.

2. Compare quoted costs vs out-the-door costs.

A service quote should provide a reasonable expectation for what the out-the-door costs will be for a project. Vague quotes won’t clearly identify what services are included in the price, and are open invitations for additional, undocumented charges. If a price quote seems attractive, ask for out-the-door costs on similar projects.

3. Evaluate the quality of hourly labor rates.

Be wary of low labor rates, as they can indicate a lack of technician experience. Newer technicians take longer to complete a task than experienced industry veterans, and any savings on the initial quote can be lost in the additional time required to complete a difficult issue. By choosing a highly experienced shop, labor rates may be higher, but efficiency will also be much better and result in better savings and quality. We’ve heard from more than one operator who went for a cheaper labor rate, only to receive a final bill that was significantly higher than competing quotes from more experienced service providers.

4. Ask about pricing & item flexibility.

Many times, after a price quote is accepted prices and items become locked and are difficult to change. One-on-one relationships with the representatives who quote work, will tend to improve item accuracy, work speed and pricing flexibility for changes down the road.

5. Cut costs in the right places.

Scheduling inspections well in advance of their due time will help save on cost of labor, sometimes by as much as 20%. This can allow operators to cut cost without cutting quality. Scheduling well in advance will secure labor for your aircraft, while scheduling at the last minute will allow vendors to drive up pricing to fit you into an already busy schedule, and extend downtime.

Additionally, if work is covered by warranty, have the work done before the warranty expires. Knowing when warranties expire will give you an idea on when inspections need to be done. Some service providers will help you work with the manufacturer to determine that.

Duncan Aviation provides complete maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), modifications, upgrades and support services for business aircraft. Our quotes are a fair representation of the final, out-the-door cost. Our techs are experienced and handle even the most difficult items efficiently. Our sales reps also work directly with operators to build proposals, and help coordinate warranty work with manufacturers.

For more information on comparing service quotes, please contact any member of Duncan Aviation’s Airframe Service Sales Team.

Michael Brown serves as an Airframe Service Sales Rep. at Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek, MI (BTL) full-service facility, specializing in Challenger, Global and Learjet services. He began working in aviation in 1993.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Maintenance Event Planning

Breaking the Dangerous Cycle of Shoestring Aircraft Maintenance

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 @ 06:00 AM

Contributed by Gary Harpster, Avionics Installation Sales Representative

Cutting Budgets

Tight aircraft maintenance budgets have been slashed to dangerous levels.

When our economy changed a few years ago, an unusual trend began to emerge in the business aviation industry. Aircraft maintenance budgets, by and large, were regarded as discretionary expenditures and were reduced to dangerously low levels. I suspect that many of these shoestring maintenance budgets were incapable of supporting the necessary maintenance and repairs for an aircraft to remain airworthy.

Without passing judgment on anyone, I think more than one Director of Maintenance (DOM) was caught squarely between airworthiness requirements and budgetary constraints. DOMs did what they could to keep aircraft operational with the resources they were given. In some cases, I believe maintenance items that would normally have been repaired were instead nursed along with a patchwork of temporary fixes and creative ingenuity.

This practice of shoestring maintenance holds several pitfalls, which are now beginning to become apparent for some operators:

  • Important maintenance issues have gone unresolved.
  • Unresolved issues have caused collateral damages.
  • Collateral damages have led to additional, preventable repair costs.
  • Incomplete maintenance and damages have compromised aircraft resale values.

Consider, for example, an aircraft that has a maintenance budget that is much lower than the average cost of compliance. The aircraft may remain airworthy. However, when the next inspection comes due, the out-the-door costs may be much higher than average to correct previously unresolved issues. Let’s take this example to the next level.

If maintenance is deferred during A and B inspections to lower inspection costs, it will often cost more to correct those issues during C and D inspections. If maintenance is also deferred during the D or 12 year inspection, this will negatively affect the resale value of the aircraft. The same principle applies to avionics upgrades.

How do we go about breaking the pattern of shoestring maintenance? First, the aircraft owner needs to acknowledge that the pattern exists. Next, the owner needs to understand why the cycle began and what the contributing factors are so it can be prevented in the future.

The past few years have established an inaccurate baseline for maintenance expenditures. I strongly encourage aircraft owners to take a hard look at their maintenance budgets with their DOMs, and ask the tough questions. Historical data for required maintenance is available on request, and provides a reasonably accurate baseline for budgeting purposes.

Duncan Aviation provides complete maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), modification, upgrade and support services for business aircraft. For assistance creating a maintenance budget that provisions for passenger safety and aircraft value, please contact me. I will be happy to provide our historical maintenance comparison costs.

 Gary Harpster serves as an Avionics Installations Sales Rep. at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, NE (LNK) full-service facility, specializing in Hawkers and Learjets. He began working in aviation in 1977.

Tags: Airframe Maintenance, Maintenance Event Planning

How to Create an Interior Maintenance Plan for your Business Aircraft

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Tue, Aug 30, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Contributed by Interior Modification Reps. Nate Darlington and Matthew Schepers

Calendar

With proper planning, a complete interior modification can be effectively phased over several years of regularly scheduled maintenance events.

Interior maintenance plans plans help operators anticipate and plan for aircraft interior maintenance by making note of functionality and appearance, planning interior services and budgeting more effectively. If a plan is followed, it also helps reduce long term costs, avoids extra downtime and keeps the interior in pristine condition.

To develop your own interior maintenance plan, try getting started with these four steps.

1. Assess how the aircraft is used.

Aircraft that fly longer missions with more passengers are likely to experience more damage to finishes and softgoods over a shorter period of time. Anticipate that interior repairs and touch-ups will be needed more frequently.

2. Estimate the lifespan of interior items.

Make a complete list of items that target all aspects of an interior—from softgoods to veneer, from the cockpit to the aft baggage compartment—and estimate how long each item will last before it begins to look worn.

3. Identify required maintenance events.

Identify inspection intervals, estimated downtimes and what (if any) interior items will be affected by each inspection.

4. Match interior repairs with inspections that require similar downtimes.

Inspections that require removal and reinstallation of interior items are a prime opportunity to repair those items. For example, inspections that require the removal of seats and floorboards are a prime opportunity to replace carpet and recover seats without extending the service schedule.

Estimating downtimes and determining what interior services can, or should, be scheduled with which events can get complicated quickly. Duncan Aviation works with operators to create custom interior maintenance schedules for Directors of Maintenance (DOMs) and their aircraft, free of cost or obligation. For more information, or to request a phased interior maintenance schedule, please visit www.DuncanAviation.aero/interior.

Nate Darlington serves as an Interior Modifications Rep. at Duncan Aviation’s Battle Creek, Michigan facility, and began working in aviation in 2001. Matthew Schepers also serves as an Interior Modifications Rep. at Duncan Aviation’s Lincoln, Nebraska facility, and began working in aviation in 2005. Nate and Matthew both work with operators to plan phased interior maintenance schedules for their aircraft.

Tags: Interior Refurbishment, Maintenance Event Planning

The Final Delivery Checklist for Aircraft Maintenance

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 @ 11:56 AM

Contributed by Janet Beazley, Project Manager

checklist

What is on your MRO’s Final Delivery Checklist?

There is a lot of activity that continues to surround a project   after the aircraft maintenance or inspection is completed. It is during those final days and hours just before it is cleared to fly that a dedicated maintenance team will pull together to deliver the aircraft back to the operator, in most cases, in better condition than when it arrived.

Every aircraft Maintenance Repair Organization (MRO) has a checklist of activities they perform before handing the keys back to the operator. Below is what you might find on the Duncan Aviation Delivery Checklist.

The Final Delivery Checklist

  • Meetings at the aircraft with all team members
  • System function checks in the hangar
  • Pressurization of the aircraft
  • Pitot status checks
  • Weighing of the aircraft
  • Airframe and engine runs
  • Compass swings
  • Test flight
  • Paint touch up
  • Aircraft interior and exterior cleaning
  • Paperwork complete
  • Maintenance entries complete

No matter how you look at it, the delivery of the aircraft is an important part of each project. For the customer it can feel like a brand new aircraft, for the maintenance team it represents a huge sense of accomplishment and for the Project Manager, it’s all in a days work. It is all about Customer Service.

What's on your aircraft MRO's checklist?

For more information about business aircraft maintenance event planning, visit www.DuncanAviation.aero/planning.

Janet Beazley is a Project Manager at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Nebr. facility, serving as the main point of contact for her customers' projects ensuring overall project quality and timely aircraft delivery. Her aviation career began in 1988.

Tags: Customer Service, Maintenance Event Planning

4 Things That Could Delay Your Aircraft Maintenance Project

Posted by Diane Heiserman on Thu, Mar 24, 2011 @ 09:00 AM

Contributed by Janet Beazley, Project Manager

Aircraft maintenance update meeting

A careful eye and good comunication will reduce setbacks and delays for your aircraft maintenance project.

When your aircraft is down for maintenance, it’s important to make sure your project meets crucial milestones and stays on schedule. You and your maintenance provider need to keep a careful watch on the following four items. A setback in any one of them can delay a project.

1. Vendors

Parts are often sent to outside vendors for repair during a project. Many challenges can and do arise during this phase, including delays in shipping or a repair that requires a longer turn time than originally promised.

My advice

Communicate with part vendors often to check on progress and ensure they are ready for any unforeseen delays.

2. Parts

The procurement or fabrication of parts can cause a major delay in any maintenance project if your service provider hasn’t planned ahead. Ample time must be allowed to receive or fabricate these parts long before the aircraft arrives for maintenance.

My advice

Find out what your provider’s plan is for getting parts ordered or fabricated to keep the project on schedule.  

3. Milestones

A large maintenance project is best managed when short-term goals are set along the way. These milestones ensure the project stays on schedule and delivers on time. When milestones are not met, it’s not the end of the world; but everyone involved needs to be able to react and adjust in a timely manner to get the project back on track. That is why we watch the milestones so closely, always keeping the teams ready to react if unforeseen delays occur.

My advice

Schedule regular updates with your provider to discuss appropriate milestones.

4. Communication

Proper communication is key to any project and will resolve many situations that may arise due to parts, vendors or schedule. I know that we need to be in contact with outside sources, internal teams and customers on a daily basis.

My advice

Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Be available to answer questions and provide approvals. If communication is lacking, ask questions.

As a Project Manager at Duncan Aviation, I am well aware of all the things that come up during a project that can cause delay. With proper planning and open communication, as a team, we will continue to be successful and deliver your aircraft on time.  

Janet Beazley is a Project Manager at Duncan Aviation's Lincoln, Nebr. facility, serving as the main point of contact for her customers' projects ensuring overall project quality and timely aircraft delivery. Her aviation career began in 1988.

Tags: Customer Service, Maintenance Event Planning

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