FOCUS ON MRO - June 24, 2015
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Chile Facility OK’d for Pilatus Service

Pilatus Aircraft named Aerocardal in Santiago, Chile, as its newest PC-12 authorized service center. “The exceptional commitment to high-quality service displayed by Aerocardal makes it a welcome addition to Pilatus’ group of service centers,” said Pete Wolak, vice president of customer service for Pilatus Business Aircraft.

Founded in 1996, Aerocardal was the first FBO in Chile. The company’s main base is located at Santiago International Airport, where, in addition to maintenance, repair and overhaul services, it provides FBO services with a VIP lounge. The company has a ramp space of 107,600 sq ft and its own fuel service facility. Aerocardal earned ISO 9001 certification for its operations in 2008.

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Aspen Acquires GPS Manufacturer Accord Technology

Aspen Avionics announced today that it purchased Accord Technology, which manufactures the NexNav GPS sensors and was the first GPS manufacturer to receive FAA authorization for meeting Technical Standard Order C145c. Accord Technology manufactures a line of three GPS receivers: the NexNav Mini, NexNav Max and NexNav Micro.

The company was a joint venture of Accord Software & Systems of Bangalore, India, and AvValues of Phoenix and is a supplier to many avionics manufacturers. Aspen Avionics will retain the Accord offices and production facility in Phoenix, and the combined companies will be named Aspen Avionics, while retaining the NexNav brand name. AvValues founder Hal Adams will be executive vice president of business development for the new company.

“Aspen is heavily involved in the general aviation community with [glass] displays and ADS-B, but one thing we’ve been lacking is GPS,” said Aspen Avionics president and CEO John Uczekaj. “This is going to give us access to GPS technology for expansion of our product line and for future ADS-B platforms, both fixed-wing and helicopter, and future UAVs that will need ADS-B.” The acquisition also positions Aspen Avionics to enter markets for aircraft larger than the primarily piston-powered airplanes and light helicopters it has been targeting with its Evolution displays.

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28 East Delivers ACJ319 VIP Completion

28 East delivered its first aircraft completion project—an Airbus Corporate Jet ACJ319. The year-long green aircraft project, which was completed at the Woensdrecht Fokker Facility in Holland, has been delivered to its new home base in Munich. The company worked closely with K5-Aviation and the two managed the project from the pre-purchase selection through to aircraft interior specification and completion.

The resulting aircraft is a spacious VIP cabin with 19 seats and two bedrooms, one of which leads to an en suite shower. The bedrooms can be converted into relaxation areas, when not in use for sleeping. The contemporary interior features hand-tufted carpet from Tisca Tiara, all leather from Italian producer Foglizzo and wood veneer that uses African ebony.

Special features include an integrated cabin humidifier to reduce fatigue on long-haul flights; a cinema room that includes a 55-inch LED screen, the largest certified in aviation; and a state-of-the-art connectivity system provided by Alster Aero enabling complete cabin control from tablets and smartphones, in addition to multimedia entertainment, Wi-Fi and telephony.

Special attention has also been paid to the cockpit where crew can use the latest in software technology, including on-airport navigation and a customized electronic flight bag installation. The ACJ319 is available for charter through 28 East sister company Vertis Aviation.

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Senate Panel To Consider FAA Funding Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday is set to consider a $16 billion budget for the FAA in Fiscal Year 2016. The funding is included in the FY2016 transportation, house and urban development appropriations (THUD) bill that was approved by the Senate THUD subcommittee by voice vote on Tuesday. While the committee has not yet released full details of the bill, it has said that it will provide the FAA with $294 million more than in fiscal 2015 and $175 million more than the White House request. The bill backs the contract tower program and rejects increases in passenger facility charge. While grumbles over the available budget persisted, the Senate bill passed the subcommittee largely with bipartisan support.

Senate committee considerations come two weeks after the House approved its version of the fiscal 2016 THUD appropriations, calling for a little less than $16 billion for the FAA. That bill has drawn a veto threat and the ire from Democrats over Cuba travel restrictions, Amtrak funding, immigration measures and deep cuts in the FAA’s facilities and equipment account. That bill also contains a measure that was slipped in on the House floor with no advance warning that would essentially prevent the FAA from enforcing grant assurance agreements at East Hampton Airport. If the bill is adopted the agency would be in a quandary, since it also is facing a lawsuit from industry to compel the agency to enforce the grant assurance agreements.

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Quest Adds Namibia, Russia to Kodiak Validations

Quest Aircraft secured two more validations for its single-turboprop Kodiak, increasing the total number of countries that have approved the aircraft to 29. The latest approvals come from Civil Aviation Authority of Namibia and the Russian Interstate Aviation Committee. The Russian approval includes the 11 countries that are part of the Commonwealth of Independent States.

Quest delivered its first Namibian-bound Kodiak last year to Scenic Air. The sightseeing operation worked with Quest and the Namibian government on the validation. The Kodiak is one of seven operating in Africa. Steve Zinda, Quest vice president of sales for China, Middle East, Europe and Africa, noted that the aircraft has also received considerable interest from the CIS market, along with a number of others.

“We continue to strategically expand our presence internationally, which includes working on additional aircraft type certifications in key markets,” Zinda said. The company recently began the process to earn EASA approval and brought the Kodiak to EBACE for the first time. It also continues to build up the U.S. market and has plans to display the Kodiak on Thursday at the NBAA Business Aviation Regional Forum in Teterboro, N.J., as well as at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., next month.

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West Star Aviation Opens PWK Facility

West Star Aviation opened a satellite facility at Chicago Executive Airport (PWK). The Class 4 repair station will provide maintenance and avionics troubleshooting and repairs, minor inspections, customer assistance, AOG support and mobile repair activity in the area. The satellite facility, which hosted an open house earlier this month, consists of a 12,915-sq-ft hangar and 3,208-sq-ft shop and office space.

Tom Hilboldt, former supervisor at West Star’s East Alton facility, has been promoted to manager and will be responsible for overseeing all operations in Chicago. “Our main goal for the satellite facility is to provide support to the Priester Aviation and NetJets operations at the airport, as well as to any customers located in Chicago or the surrounding areas,” Hilboldt said. “We hope to maintain and cultivate relationships with customers who want to take advantage of the convenience and accessibility of the satellite facility when in need of minor services, but who also want the confidence that West Star’s larger, nationally recognized facilities have the extensive service offerings and capabilities to handle any additional needs that may arise.”

West Star has five employees at the PWK facility and is in the process of filling additional positions.

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Industry Heightens Push for Ex-Im as Lapse Looms

Newly appointed Aerospace Industries Association chief Dave Melcher joined Huntington Ingalls Industries president and CEO Mike Petters this week in urging support for reauthorization of the U.S. Export-Import Bank. Melcher, who succeeded Marion Blakey as AIA CEO this month, penned an op-ed piece with Petters in the political insider publication The Hill, saying reauthorization will provide a level field for U.S. companies that compete against subsidized foreign companies.

The opinion piece comes as Congress has a week left to act before the bank’s authorization lapses. Reauthorization has faced strong opposition from certain Republican lawmakers, including House Financial Services Committee chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas). But a procedural vote in the Senate this month revealed that 65 senators favored reauthorization, more than enough to overcome a filibuster. Ex-Im and lawmakers have expressed doubt that Congress will complete a full reauthorization before the current authorization expires June 30.

GE chairman Jeffrey Immelt warned last week that if reauthorization lapses, “We are not going to lose this business. We will build these products in places where export credit financing is available because we have to.” Ex-Im chairman Fred Hochberg, meanwhile, told the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers last week that if reauthorization lapses, China would be among those filling the void. “You can bet they’ll be continuing to put their foot on the gas,” he said, pointing to a China export finance agency that doubled its activity last year and expects another doubling over the next couple of years.

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Ontic Expands Product Offerings to Asia-Pacific Region

Ontic is expanding its presence in the Asia-Pacific region, positioning its “Extended Life Solutions” for OEM legacy products at its Singapore facility as part of an effort to create a storefront for the Asia-Pacific region. Located in Seletar Aerospace Park, it will house a variety of high-demand products for business and general aviation, allowing Ontic to deliver accelerated turn-around times for customers in the region and quicker distribution to customers across the globe.

“As the manufacturer of many legacy aircraft products, we have customers worldwide who are in need of our parts and services, with very little time to waste when their aircraft is on the ground,” said Gareth Hall, president and managing director. “It is our goal to continue to find new routes of distribution and deliver products to our customers at OEM standards or higher.” The facility recently successfully completed a Civil Aviation Administration of China audit for certification of its fuel gauging and measurement system repair capability. Ontic has also announced signing an agreement to support Magnum Aviation’s capability for the repair of emergency oxygen products in the India region.

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Recent Airworthiness Directives
AD Number: TC CF-2015-15
Manufacturer: Bell Helicopter
Model(s): 429
Published Date: June 11, 2015
Effective Date: June 25, 2015

AD affects Bell 429 helicopters with S/Ns 57001 through 57260. Requires a one-time modification of the pylon restraint spring assembly rod end, P/N 427-010-210-105, by adding identification markings. The rod end has an airworthiness life limit of 5,000 hours flight time, but it is not serialized and the accumulated flight time is therefore difficult to track, necessitating the added markings per Bell Helicopter Alert Service Bulletin 429-15-19, issued on Feb. 26, 2015.

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