When traveling to a special event, whether it’s the Super Bowl in Miami this February, the World Economic Forum in Davos or the Kentucky Derby next May, the 2021 U.S. Presidential Inauguration, or other sporting, political, or worldwide business conference, you’ll have company. At these events, an extraordinary number of business aircraft will be landing and then taking off within approximately the very same time as you, vying for hangar space and landing slots at the same airports proximate to the event venue.
But you’re also not alone in that your Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM), as well as independent maintenance service providers, will be onsite to provide you with parts and technical support should your aircraft experience a maintenance event. What should you know before you travel, what services do the various maintenance providers offer at a high-traffic special event, and how can you best take advantage of their services?
Many support organizations suggest that your head of maintenance and chief pilot contact them as part of trip planning. If your OEM or maintenance support provider offers a pay-per-hour program, consider taking advantage of it, for the highest level of customer service and support.
Support is offered in several ways. For example:
Bombardier Business Aircraft’s dedicated Customer Response Team (CRT) Learjet 45 Parts Express aircraft and CRT mobile units are on location at events, manned by a team of technicians. They carry state-of-the-art diagnostics equipment supporting Learjet, Challenger, and Global aircraft, to supplement their Field Service Representatives to provide you with full service support. They can quickly bring in parts and additional technical personnel if required for unscheduled maintenance events.
Constant Aviation provides full service onsite AOG support at special events. Dedicated technicians provide maintenance, avionics, and structure services, and can be dispatched round-the-clock. With more than 2,838 years of combined experience, Constant Aviation’s AOG service technicians have supported turboprops and business jets at more than 5,700 events at more than 464 airports. Currently, Constant’s AOG mobile units span 21 cities nationwide, offering immediate response 24/7/365.
Dassault offers on-ground services to support Falcon Jet owners with its GO Teams staffed with AOG technicians, and often additional technicians onsite. More help is available at any of the 87 Falcon Authorized Service Centers, backed up by a dedicated Falcon 900 Airborne Support aircraft that can offer alternative lift to customers.
Duncan Aviation has 184 avionics and engine technicians positioned throughout the U.S., ready to travel worldwide to support operators requiring assistance and service. Its avionics satellite shops provide service to operators at 27 shops, and work away locations and Engine Rapid Response Teams offer traveling engine technicians at 14 sites, ready to launch anywhere. Owners traveling in the U.S. are within 150 nautical miles of a Duncan Aviation AOG team.
With almost 1,000 business jets in more than 60 countries, Embraer Executive Jets is prepared to assist its customers anywhere in the world, any time of the day, from any of its 58 authorized service centers. It offers an integrated comprehensive customer support plan for major global events, including broad logistic support and special procedures, and often field service representatives positioned at major events, backed by its 24/7 Contact Center.
GE Aviation offers technical support and dedicated field service representatives for customers flying GE-powered Falcon, Challenger, and Global Jet aircraft. GE Aviation’s nineteen Authorized Service Centers offer comprehensive line maintenance, removals, and re-installations of engines and Line-Replaceable Units (LRUs) and engine spares for CF34-3 engines. GE Aviation offers service agreements through OnPoint, a long-term hourly cost maintenance program.
Gulfstream Field and Airborne Support Teams (FAST) support the full range of Gulfstream business jets, and help ensure a swift, well-coordinated response to all AOG situations. More than 20 U.S.-based pilots and technicians work in around-the-clock shifts, and are equipped with two Gulfstream G150s as their primary aircraft. The FAST1 mobile service center tractor trailer is positioned at many major events, staffed by technicians covering avionics, mechanical, and interiors.
Honeywell has both Avionics and Mechanical Technical Support Engineers (TSE) standing by to support any AOG engine or avionics service requirements. Honeywell also maintains an additional stock of the most commonly used parts in anticipation of any possible orders for such events. Honeywell’s Aerospace Technical Support (ATS) group is available via its AOG call center 24 hours/7 days a week for remote troubleshooting, and its TSE can be dispatched for onsite support.
Pratt & Whitney
Pratt & Whitney actively supports its more than 13,000 customers. At major events, they are onsite to meet customers, positioning Field Support Representatives (FSR) at strategic locations throughout the duration of the event, enabling them to provide onsite troubleshooting support services. With critical engine components on hand, Mobile Repair Teams, as well as rental engine support in-country, are on standby throughout the event.
Rolls-Royce actively supports owners of Gulfstream G350/450, G300/400, and G650, as well as Bombardier Global 5000/6000 and 5500/6500 aircraft. Its On-Wing Care (OWC) is a global in-field specialist maintenance support organization which has handled more than 6,000 field maintenance events and avoided more than 300 unplanned engine removals/shop visits since its inception in 2005. Rolls-Royce stations OWC technicians and a Regional Customer Manager onsite, supported by its 24/7 Operational Service Desk.
Textron Aviation’s 1CALL maintenance support group has a number of Textron Aviation’s 60 Mobile Service Units (MSUs) onsite at events to support Cessna Citation, Beechcraft King Air, and Hawker turbine business jet and turboprop aircraft owners. They are equipped to perform limited inspections, engine, tire and brake service, and more. Additionally, Textron’s Air Response Service has U.S.-based support aircraft available 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, to keep its owners and operators in the air.
Your OEM and maintenance support providers want to be sure that your flights to and from special events are smooth and trouble-free, even if you should experience a maintenance issue. Communicate in advance about your flight plans, so they can help ensure that they have the right number of people and parts in the region and onsite, to support any potential issues and to keep you flying and on schedule. BAA
Anthony Kioussis is president of Asset Insight, LLC, which offers eValues™, an online service providing Current and Residual aircraft valuations. With 40+ years in aviation, he serves on the National Aircraft Finance Association Board of Directors.