Invisible Support

Tooling manufacturers offer insight into this often overlooked, but no less important, aspect of aviation ground support, writes Michelle Garetson March 2003 The word tooling in aviation has more than one definition. It can be used to describe...

"What happens more often than we'd care to have happen is that customers buy the aircraft and the aircraft is due for delivery, the maintenance tooling tends to be one of the last things they look at," says Cornwall. "This means deliveries are sometimes unachievable. The worst scenario is that the aircraft is there and they've forgotten an item or two and then there's a huge panic and it's 'beg, borrow, or steal' to get the tool. That's one of the big problems. Hydro, to an extent, is prepared to help by maintaining a huge stock of tools."

He goes on to explain that the market is more buoyant when there is new aircraft coming into services, because obviously, new aircraft requires new tooling. Also, if an end-user is modifying or upgrading its fleet - purchasing a fleet or aircraft which he currently isn't flying, there is a requirement for him to buy all new tooling.

"We are now entering a time where there are a number of new aircraft coming into service in the next 10 years. (Boeing and Airbus)," he adds. "The future is fairly challenging because the aircraft are getting larger as in the case of the Airbus 380, as well as the new Boeing model, but there will be new tooling requirements for those models. But, neither of them are happening 'tomorrow,' although we are working on them now. But as far as selling it [tooling], we're not going to have that for a while."

New Business
When asked about the new low budget carriers and if that will have any affect on tooling products, Hydro's response is, "Not really. The thing with the new carriers at the moment is that they're running fairly new aircraft and once they initially buy the tooling, there's no need for anything until they come up for heavy maintenance and then, they will probably contract that out instead of doing it themselves.

Dedienne's Volot adds, "Worldwide events affect the economy and affect us. All the major airlines are down. JetBlue and Southwest are the only ones making a profit. Our best resource for new business is our salespeople. For me, this is the best way to sell our products - face to face with customers. We want our people to speak the customer's language to meet their needs."

Hydro maintains that new products are customer-driven to some degree and if someone suggests "Why can't we do this? then the company will consider it and then talk to the customer. Hydro has just developed a brand new concept in jacks and it's in final testing stages with several end users and will be introduced into the market.

ATME's Shelton says, "Our biggest challenge right now is what is happening in the industry. The airlines have had to take on some large expenses recently, in an economy that is very tight. Also, we see equipment coming back for repair that is 20 years old and the technology is fast becoming obsolete, making it difficult to locate the components, such as resistors and connectors for this equipment."

Still, she is optimistic about the cyclical nature of aviation, "The industry will adjust, it always does, and we will also adjust, as we have for the last 10 years."


Aircraft Tool & Maintenance Equipment Inc.
6885 Speedway Blvd. Bldg. Y-108
Las Vegas, NV 89115 USA
Phone: +702 643 0992
Fax: +702 643 0364

Dedienne Corporation -USA
2112 N.W. 99th av. #12
Miami, FL 33172 USA
Phone: +305 716 8300
Fax: +305 716 8302

Dedienne Aerospace
Z.A. du Casque II 17, rue Aristide Bergs
31270 Cugnaux FRANCE
Phone: +33 5 61 06 77 79
Fax: +33 5 61 06 81 13

HYDRO - Gertebau GmbH & Co. KG
Ahfeldstrasse 10
77781 Biberach / Baden GERMANY
Tel.: +49 7835 787 0
Fax: +49 7835 1823

1220, 37th Street NW, Suite 101
Auburn, WA 98001 USA
Tel.: +253 876 2100
Fax: +253 876 2110

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