LINCOLN, NEB. — When aircraft operators choose a Major Repair and Overhaul facility (MRO) to perform maintenance, upgrades or repairs on their aircraft, they are hiring much more than someone to service, refurbish and install equipment in their aircraft. They need to also make sure the MRO facility they hire knows how to work with the oversight authority for their aircraft’s country of registry, providing the proper documentation and certification required to return the aircraft to service. Heron Luftfahrt GmbH & Co. Aviation recently completed a project with Duncan Aviaton in Battle Creek, Mich., that not only made its certification schedule, but was completed several days early.
“Certification is not a simple process,” explained Mary Bill, Engineering Alterations Planning Specialist with Duncan Aviation. “But Duncan Aviation helps customers with the goals of providing them with a great experience and getting them home on time. To meet those goals, all we need is a solid plan that accounts for a variety of scenarios and requires nearly all the paperwork to be done prior to the aircraft’s arrival.”
As European aviation authorities continue to harmonize their specifications under the EASA umbrella, Bill said, Duncan Aviation’s team members are constantly working to stay up-to-date on new regulations in order to walk customers through every step of the process, from the initial review of design data to the Design Organisation Approval (DOA) and approval for return to service.
Bill said Duncan Aviation has formed a series of partnerships with EASA-approved DOA firms. These firms provide design approval and certification for the work the company does on EU-registered aircraft. Because these relationships are firmly established, Duncan Aviation can seek the necessary certification from these entities without tacking on additional downtime for customers.
In some cases, like the recent project completed by Heron Aviation, all this planning can help get a customer back in the air even before they anticipated.
Heron’s Falcon 900EX was scheduled for an airframe 2C inspection, 144-month routine upgrades as well as due items, avionics Traffic Collision Avoidance System 7.1 installation, partial interior refurbishment and partial paint refurbishment.
“I had actually never heard of Duncan Aviation, but my boss had worked with them twice before when he was overseas, but nothing this big or with this long of a downtime,” said Christoph Bartsch, CAMO with Heron. “We received the proposal and it was brilliant. The price was lower than we could have hoped for, but I was also given a list of European customers, their projects, and their contact information as references. I called them and got first-hand referrals.
“When I arrived at Duncan Aviation for a meeting to discuss this project, everyone was helpful and their attitude was so positive. If they didn’t have an answer for me, they would track it down immediately. The customer service was more than anything I have experienced.
“Having a competitive price was a bonus, but if you beat the downtime, we will return. Duncan Aviation was able to return our aircraft early, which was so important. We want to get the aircraft back in operation so the owner can begin using it again,” he continued.
Since regulations continue to change and no two aircraft projects are identical, Duncan Aviation’s Certification Planning Team excels at problem solving, extensive planning and a little extra elbow grease to ensure an on-time delivery.
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