Bell Holds Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for Manufacturing Technology Center

Bell Textron Inc. celebrated the start of operations at the state-of-the-art Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) with a small gathering and ribbon cutting ceremony. Bell leaders and employees as well as local North Texas community leaders, including Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, were in attendance. This event marks the next milestone in the center’s development before its grand opening, targeted for summer 2021.

“Through the Manufacturing Technology Center, we can showcase how we will deliver the most affordable, capable and reliable aircraft for the warfighter,” said Mitch Snyder, president and CEO, Bell. “As we work together to define the next generation of Bell products, it’s been gratifying to watch this new facility become a reality.”

The MTC is an innovative proving ground where Bell plans to test and refine technologies and processes and demonstrate readiness and ability to successfully build and support Future Vertical Lift aircraft and other new products. It offers a digitally connected space for collaboration between Bell teams in an environment that promotes smart risk taking. New systems will be tested and vetted for production suitability before being introduced to Bell’s future factories. Bell broke ground on the facility August 2020 and anticipates the facility to be fully operational later this year.

Robinson Helicopter Company Service Center Targets Post-Pandemic Online Parts Sales Growth

Rotorcorp has announced the addition of Cody Stidham as the newest member of their leadership team. Stidham will serve as Rotorcorp’s e-commerce manager and will report directly to the CEO Sean Casey. In this position, Stidham will be responsible for the overall website and e-commerce performance of the company serving Robinson customers world-wide.

Stidham has worn many different hats in the world of e-commerce.  From his start dealing with rare coins to his most recent experience e-commerce demand analyst with Wilson Sporting Goods, he says he looks forward to bringing his experience to this new role in the aerospace industry.

Stidham says he is most excited about bringing the best customer experience to Rotocorp’s customers. Rotorcorp prides itself on customer service, and Stidham plans to make sure the service received from the website is no different.

In 2018 Rotorcorp became the first Robinson Helicopter Company Service Center to offer R22, R44 and R66 helicopter parts online. In that time, online parts sales have grown to represent a significant percentage of the Rotorcorp bottom line. As the COVID-19 pandemic spread globally in 2020, supply and logistics chains were stretched to the limits and forced many Robinson operators to explore alternative parts suppliers.

Through its e-commerce parts solution, Rotorcorp was able to engage with new and existing customers in critical industries like agriculture, commercial fishing, law enforcement, and energy and gas sectors in a way that was not possible through a traditional sales model.

“These critical industries keep us safe, keep the lights on, and keep food on our tables” Commented Rotorcorp CEO Sean Casey. “While these are dire times, we are filled with pride to keep these customers flying safely. As we emerge from the global pandemic, our experience  clearly illustrated the importance for Rotorcorp to be all-in on innovations like e-commerce.”

MTI Instruments’ PBS-4100+ Series Training Now Eligible for Credit Under Bill O’Brien Technician Awards Program

MTI Instruments’ training course on the PBS-4100+ engine vibration measurement and balancing system is now credit-eligible under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA’s) William (Bill) O’Brien Aviation Maintenance Technician (AMT) Awards Program.

With the new credit designation, MTI Instrument’s course, “Vibration Analysis and Engine Balancing Using the PBS-4100 System,” can earn an eligible individual up to 16 hours of credit towards AMT Awards issued through the FAA Safety Team continuous training program. With the completion of MTI’s course requirement, plus the core course (required through the AMT Awards program), the participating individual can earn Bronze Award level recognition. Continuous participation in the AMT Awards program for regulatory, airworthiness and safety awareness training reinforces a high level of professionalism and safety within the industry to maintain proficiency.

“MTI Instruments’ conviction to the importance of training and skill development has resulted in the acceptance of our coursework for the FAA Safety continuous training program,” said Moshe Binyamin, president of MTI Instruments. “The FAA’s recognition of this important training on the PBS-4100+ series is truly encouraging, especially for our aviation customers. Aviation maintenance technicians proactively developing their knowledge in this technology benefits the industry as a whole.”

As a U.S. manufacturer, MTI Instruments’ products are designed, manufactured and supported in Albany, New York. Designed to swiftly pinpoint engine vibration problems and eliminate avoidable engine removals, the PBS-4100+ series are known for providing critical diagnostic tools to analyze and resolve engine vibration to assure maximum engine uptime and safety. The configuration and the intuitive user interface make the PBS-4100+ product line easy to use, while the built-in rapid diagnostics and traceability reporting help aviation customers reduce labor hours and minimize engine downtime by reducing maintenance needs.

MTI Instruments’ training program, which is held at customer facilities, emphasizes hands-on learning with the customers’ equipment.

“The objective for pursuing ongoing training on MTI Instruments is to ensure our customers, both military and commercial, are competent and confident with engine vibration measurement and engine balancing operations,” said Ken Ameika, global director of PBS Products of MTI Instruments. “With proper training, a post maintenance engine vibration test should be reduced to two hours or less; versus manual methods which require several hours of effort and thousands of pounds’ worth of fuel.”

The PBS-4100+ course is offered throughout the calendar year. For registration, contact MTI Instruments Support Team (518-218-2567) at support@mtiinstruments.com.

Kaman Measuring Announces New KD-5100+ High Reliability Sensor System for Fast Steering Mirror Control

The Measuring Division of Kaman Precision Products announced the KD-5100+, an upgraded higher reliability version of Kaman’s legacy KD-5100 measuring system. The KD-5100+ retains the proven performance of the KD-5100 system while incorporating upgrades to the circuit layout, ground connections, and sensor connectors. The upgraded system also features higher reliability diodes and capacitors.

The KD-5100+ is the ideal choice for laser communications, satellite and ground station applications, as well as directed energy (ground, shipboard, and airborne), and image stabilization systems.

Two matched sensors of a measuring channel are positioned opposite each other on the back of a fast steering mirror (FSM) in two axes at 90 degrees to each other. As the FSM actuators drive the mirror about the center flexure, the mirror moves away from one sensor of an axis and toward the other sensor an equal amount. The KD-5100+ output signal is used to actively control mirror position.

The upgraded KD-5100+ has a Mil-PRF-38534 Class H proprietary hybrid microcircuit. The system also features dual channel signal conditioner with two precisely matched sensors per channel.

Designed for thermal and long term stability, radiation tolerant, and suitable for vacuum applications, the KD-5100+ offers a small package size and low power consumption. It features isolated signal and chassis grounds and low outgassing components.

Signal conditioning electronics are available in the identical low profile enclosure as the KD-5100. Enclosure finish can be either black paint for low reflectivity or bright nickel finish for lower outgassing. Sensor and signal conditioner packaging can be customized for unique requirements.

 

Summit Aviation Adds New Partner for Interior Work

Summit Aviation announced that it is now partnered with New Jersey-based Cabin Crafters Inc. (CCI) to support fixed and rotor wing interior refurbishments.

Cabin Crafters has specialized in quality aircraft interiors for more than 35 years. As the first Federal Aviation Administration certified repair station specializing in aircraft interiors CCI is a pioneer and leader in the industry. The company’s 25,000 square foot facility is located in the tristate area adjacent to Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey.

“Cabin Crafters has robust capabilities and an excellent reputation for providing quality interior refurbishments and cabin reconfigurations,” said John Gonsalves, director of sales and marketing for Summit Aviation. “We believe our customer base will benefit substantially from its years of experience with both fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters.”

“Cabin Crafters is excited to partner with Summit Aviation,” said Mario Diaz, president of Cabin Crafters, Inc. “The extensive experience and history offered by each company will enhance our abilities to exceed customer expectations in interiors, paint and maintenance. Our teams have worked together in the past; however, this arrangement will streamline processes and offer advanced solutions and incentives for our loyal customers.”

GROB Systems Introduces New Universal Machining Center

GROB Systems announced the availability of its new universal machining center, the G150, rounding out the company’s universal machining center range of products. The modular G-series system has continually set the bar for productivity and process safety.

The G150 is positioned for the precision engineering, medical technology, mold and die, mechanical engineering and aerospace industries as the only horizontal 5-axis machining center in its class, the company says. During the development of the G150, particular emphasis was placed on spatial accuracy to achieve excellent surface finishes and the highest form and position tolerances. In addition, accuracy for machining complex, high-precision components was also a main focus.

As part of the G-series, the G150 features a rigid 5-axis horizontal design with capabilities to invert the table and machine upside down for optimal chip evacuation. The unique ergonomic design is suited for shops and automation integration with easy access to the work area. New additions to the modular options system are the HSK E40 spindle with up to 42,000 rpm and a compact table with central clamping. This makes the G150 particularly attractive for application areas such as medical technologies, with smaller parts and smaller tools.

 

 

StandardAero to Acquire Signature’s Engine Repair and Overhaul Business

StandardAero has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Signature Aviation’s Engine Repair and Overhaul (ERO) business.  The transaction is expected to close mid-2021, subject to the receipt of regulatory approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Like StandardAero, ERO is an engine MRO provider primarily for business jet and rotorcraft platforms made up of the following five entities: Dallas Airmotive, H&S Aviation, W.H. Barrett Turbine Engine Company, International Governor Services (IGS) and International Turbine Service (ITS).  ERO is headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with two overhaul facilities (one in Dallas and the other in Portsmouth, England), ten regional turbine centers, one component MRO site and two parts/distribution facilities.

ERO employs around 1,100 people with 2020 annual revenue around $500 million.  Customers include regional airlines, commercial transportation providers, corporate flight departments, private operators, government agencies and defense departments.

Services include MRO for the majority of turbine engine models powering fixed and rotary wing aircraft used for business aviation, and many of the engines used in government, military and commercial applications.

“ERO is a terrific and complementary fit for StandardAero, expanding our portfolio with more volume of the engines we support today, while also growing our service base with a significant number of new engine platforms and customers,” said Russell Ford, chairman & CEO of StandardAero. “Like StandardAero, ERO is OEM-aligned and has a long history of outstanding service and customer satisfaction.  With this acquisition, StandardAero will achieve significant cost and operational efficiencies and will continue on pace to become one of the preeminent MRO companies in the world.”

Upon closing, ERO will significantly expand upon StandardAero’s current capabilities for providing MRO services for a number of Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, Rolls-Royce and General Electric platforms.  The acquisition also brings new capabilities to StandardAero’s MRO portfolio including services for PW200, PW500, Spey & Tay engines and PW901 APUs.  In addition, ERO also expands StandardAero’s component repair capabilities, parts distribution channels and mobile field services for our combined customers.

“We are excited to combine forces with ERO and looking forward to welcoming all of its employees to the StandardAero family,” Ford added.

Safety Expert and AVM Contributor Jeff Guzzetti Comments on Kobe Bryant Crash

Safety expert Jeff Guzzetti appeared on NBC News Channel 4 in Los Angeles discussing the Kobe Bryant crash in advance of the NTSB meeting this coming week to discuss their final report. Probable cause of the tragic Kobe Bryant helicopter crash will be released at that meeting. Guzzetti provided commentary to the local LA NBC News affiliate. Guzzetti is a regular feature contributor to Aviation Maintenance.

Riwal Adds All Electric JLG Boom Lifts

Riwal, the aerial work platform and telehandler rental and sales specialist, has taken its first delivery of the new 100% electric JLG EC boom lifts.

The new articulating boom lifts are the JLG EC450AJ, with a working height of 15.77 meter, and the JLG EC520AJ with a working height of 18 meter.

Both machine models come with lithium ion phosphate batteries and electric motors, are emissions free and suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, including rough terrain conditions.

The new JLG machine types will initially be added to Riwal’s rental fleet in Denmark and The Netherlands, with other European countries to follow later in the year. During the last years, Riwal has also converted diesel machines to electric machines, enabling the company to offer 100% electric machines up to 43 meter working height.

As Riwal is the JLG dealer in The Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia and Kazakhstan, the new JLG machine types are also offered to rental companies and end users in those countries.

Pedro Torres, Riwal CEO, comments: “Our customers are increasingly demanding 100% electric machines to work at height, in order to execute their projects in the most sustainable way. We are proud to be among the first companies to purchase the new JLG machine types. As part of our Lifting Sustainability program, an increasing share of our fleet investment is in electric machines. In Europe, 65% of Riwal’s rental fleet is electric. By 2025 our aim is to have 75% electric machines in our European rental fleet.”

 

Karel Huijser, General Manager and Vice President for JLG in EMEAIR, comments: “We are pleased to see Riwal taking delivery of its first EC electric construction boom lifts. As a company we encourage our partners to embark on the road to electrification, including setting goals to further electrify fleets and emitting less emissions and noise. These EC booms are among the first for JLG to be delivered into the EMEAIR region, and we are very excited about their field operation and performance.”

CHI Aviation Embarks on Group-Wide Digital Transformation with Ramco

Global Enterprise software specialist, Ramco Systems announced that it will implement its Aviation M&E MRO Suite v5.8 for America’s leading Heli Operator and MRO provider, CHI Aviatio and its four operating and three asset-holding entities in the U.S. Ramco says their business partner, ROTA Technology, played a key role in the win and will be managing the implementation on behalf of CHI.

Ramco says with the contract, combined with existing clients, they will help manage the largest number of the civilian version of Chinooks (CH-47s), in the U.S.

Headquartered in Howell, Mich., and part of the Heligroup Inc., CHI Aviation and its operating companies provide services such as firefighting, heavy lifting, helicopter emergency medical services (EMS), search and rescue, Department of Defense (DoD), utility work, HVAC, construction, fire helicopter, aircraft, military, defense, ski lift and long-line. Ramco’s Aviation Suite will provide in-depth process to enhance CHI Aviation’s handling of complex helicopter operations for commercial and defense as well as manufacturing and MRO operations.

Ramco will implement its complete aviation software including modules for maintenance, supply chain management, safety & quality, flight operations, MRO sales, manufacturing, and finance. In addition, CHI Aviation will benefit from unified dashboards, mobility and offline capability giving real-time updates across multiple locations to all the users while ensuring holistic view of the activities.

Ramco says their integrated software is backed by next-gen technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning which will provide CHI Aviation with end-to-end visibility across entire operations while ensuring security and regulatory compliance across all organisational units. The software will also facilitate the use of electronic signatures with dual authentication to achieve paperless operations.

The software will automatically integrate with other functional areas and systems, with no manual intervention required to ensure process completion, making the process more efficient and less time-consuming.

“We are pleased to have chosen Ramco because of its exceptional track record in the heli and defense space followed by its ability to provide complete operational visibility in real-time,” Christopher Turner, president, Construction Helicopters Inc., said. “We are confident that this software will keep up with our rapid expansion plan and address our business challenges by significantly improving our operational efficiency.”

James Cornelius, president, ROTA Technology, Inc, added, “We assessed a multitude of systems on behalf of CHI in an unprecedented time and ultimately RAMCO met all the requirements. ROTA continues to provide value to small and large operators across the world by leading and facilitating major implementations, upgrades, and support.”

Virender Aggarwal, CEO, Ramco Systems, said, “We are elated to secure yet another order win in the Heli segment in the U.S., underscoring our track record in this space. Our Aviation ERP, infused with the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, has created great value for the leading companies in this segment. This deal has also opened yet another burgeoning segment – Drones and Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for Ramco which is gaining traction in both the commercial and defense spaces.”