By Dale Smith
Leading turbine engine MRO providers are continually introducing new tools, technologies and processes to help operators keep engine reliability up and overall costs down.
When Charlie Taylor did the first “overhaul” on the 12-horsepower engine he helped create for the Wright Flyer, he used the tools that were readily available in every circa 1903 bicycle shop. Pliers, spanners, screwdrivers – maybe a ball peen hammer were the fledgling aviation technician’s tools. And that repair methodology pretty much remain unchanged for the next 100-plus-years. Piston engines haven’t changed much.
But turbine and turbojet engines required a whole new set of specialized tools, technologies and techniques for their ongoing inspections and repairs. While I know there have been many a time when you’d have liked to take a blow hammer to a turbine wheel, there are more subtle ways to coax a kerosene-burner back to life.
So as engine sophistication leaped forward, it wasn’t long before various electronic sensors and computers became irreplaceable parts of a turbine engine maintainer’s kit.
And even more recently, leading MRO providers have been introducing a steady stream of new equipment, processes and services to help operators further extend the lifespan and efficiency of today’s turbine engines.
Because so many of these recent advancements can be of such significant help to MRO facilities around the world, Aviation Maintenance contacted three of the largest turbine engine MRO innovators to see what’s really new.
GE Aviation Services
Moore’s Law has nothing on the rapid growth of the information gathering capabilities of today’s large turbine engines. Practically every operational parameter of every second of every flight-hour is collected, tracked, locked and stored.