Two titanium alloy wing attachment bolts from a commercial airlines failed during the course of a routine service operation. And there was a series of aircraft bolts fitted on a landing gear assembly that failed within a few months of each other. This was a trigger to look closer.
Never Forget Your: Aircraft Maintenance
Detect and correct missing fuselage frame straps and frame cracking for B737 operators — "We are issuing this AD to detect and correct missing fuselage frame straps and frame cracking that can result in severed frames which, with multiple adjacent severed frames, or the combination of a severed frame and fuselage skin chemical mill cracks, can result in uncontrolled decompression of the airplane. An estimated cost of $1,785 per inspection cycle."
C130 structural failure of the wings — "This AD was prompted by an evaluation by the designapproval holder (DAH) that indicated that the CWB is subject to widespread fatigue damage (WFD). We are issuing this AD to detect and correct fatigue cracking of the lower surface of the CWB, which could result in structural failure of the wings. Estimated cost is $170,000 per inspection cycle."
Mexican 737-300 suffers gear collapse after touchdown — "Mexico City’s international airport was forced to close a runway for 4h after a Boeing 737-300 suffered a landing-gear collapse after touchdown. The accident involved a Magnicharters service, UJ779, from Cancun."
[Tweet "Air safety and the public interest require adopting this AD.."]
Never Forget Your: Components
Emirates Tears Out In-Flight Entertainment Screens in Favor of Larger Ones — "Emirates airlines has made some strong brand positioning decisions recently, including the switch to a two-class cabin A380 which eliminates the First cabin and brings the passenger numbers in Economy to a record 615 on flights to Copenhagen."
Zodiac’s Seat Woes Continue to Weigh on Results — "Presenting its worst ever financial results on November 25 in Paris, French supplier Zodiac Aerospace said it continues to suffer from its well-publicized airliner seat crisis. By November 24 its backlog of delayed seat deliveries stood at 500 “packs,” or the equivalent of 1,500 economy seats."
[Tweet "This week in aviation #news #roundup"]
Never Forget Your: Experts
The Lessons Learned From A Failed Aircraft Maintenance Check Plan — "Have you ever tried juggling multiple things at once? You secretly whisper yes while you think of the dreadful memories. The good news is you’re not alone."
[Tweet "Problems always pop up so getting started quickly is key. #aircraftmaintenance"]
Never Forget Your: Tips, tricks and trends
Airbus has a crazy idea to speed up airplane boarding that looks like something from 'Thunderbirds' — "Unless you're deathly afraid of planes, one of the worst things about flying is the sheer tedium of it. It's nothing but indeterminate waiting — waiting for security, waiting to board, waiting to reach your destination."
Air traffic relations key to Middle East growth, Iata chief says — Countries in the Middle East must expand cooperation on air traffic management and improve safety and security standards to take advantage of surging passenger demand, as the region is expected to lead aviation growth, the International Air Transport Association chief said.
[Tweet "#Aviation tips, tricks and trends"]
We’ve all been there. You purchase an aircraft component and never receive it. You've been scammed. Or you receive something that’s vastly different than what you ordered.
In either case you've been duped, tricked, and fooled into paying for something that was a lie.
Money is thrown in the garbage and you’re left having to fix it.
You think you’re alone when this happens. Sadly, you're not alone.
A few years ago we bought an INU for $15,000. The "company" was based out Atlanta. GA.
Before paying we revised the airworthiness certa. Everything checked out. The vendor sent us an AWB.
The next day, nothing showed up and nothing tracked. We called the local FedEx branch and they said they have a guy on video coming back to pick up the part.
We were officially scammed.
Thankfully for me I have a cousin in the FBI and a few friends gave these scammers a nice phone call. Over the next couple weeks we had our check back.
We can't all be so lucky every time.
We’ve also encountered a $30,000 fraudulent wheel assembly purchase out of Turkey. We avoided it using the tips below.
Smell the scammer
[Tweet "If it looks like a scammer and it smells like a scammer then it is a scammer. #avgeek"]
During your first communications you’ll have clear signs of what type of person you’re dealing with. He probably even smells funny through the phone. If you smell a stench, hit the trench.
Reliable partners are completely transparent. You can find them online, they’ll video chat with you and they’ll reply to you during all hours of the day.
Scammers want to keep a low profile and they ALWAYS use aliases. It’s your responsibility to connect the dots. If the dots are easier to connect, you have a legit company.
Disclaimer: just because they’re legit doesn’t make them good. Legit companies can still be horrible to work with.
Ways to avoid being tricked
We’ve been tricked into buying fraudulent aircraft parts numerous times. It's tough to spot especially if you're in a rush.
We’ve also received parts that weren’t what we ordered and getting it resolved was a pain.
Here is a list to help you avoid be scammed. If you’re dealing with someone that resembles these be cautious.
- They don’t have a professional website.
- They have a standard email address like @gmail or @hotmail.
- They don’t give you their phone number, better yet they hide their mobile #.
- They write emails unprofessionally.
- You request documents and it takes then a couple days to get them to you.
- You request a picture of the unit but all you get is one picture fuzzy looking thing.
- You request a picture of the id plate and the S/N doesn’t match their paperwork.
- You ask if they take credit card and all they take is wire transfer.
- You ask them to fill out your QA audit form and they don’t have an internal QA policy and they can’t send you a copy of their QA manual.
- You can’t find the person you’re purchasing from on the internet.
These are the best ways to spot a scammer. Professional aircraft component scammers have to keep running. They lurk in the shadows.
When talking with them something will always be suspicious. Keep ears and eyes open.
Better yet, if they resemble some of these points above, run away.
This is series 2 of our aircraft part conditions defined. In our last post we talked about FN, NE, and NS. From the feedback we got, this cleared up much confusion.
Now, were talking about unserviceable and airworthy conditions.
These conditions are looked at vastly different in various parts of the world.
Some people will never use a "SV" component while others prefer it. On both ends of the spectrum you have AR which is removed from the aircraft and deemed unserviceable and OH which is the closest thing you get to NE. We'll explain this a little more as we get into each condition.
When you think of these conditions you first must determine your primary objective, is it price or quality? Answering this will help guide you to the right condition for your maintenance goals.
[Tweet "With aircraft part conditions, first determine your primary objective #avgeek"]
As Removed (AR)
This is a component that was pulled off an aircraft. Spoiler alert, that's where "as removed" comes from.
Sometimes she'll come with a reason for removal but often times in the part out world she'll come with nothing, just a removal tag and trace. It could be repairable or beyond economical repair (BER) for all you know.
These items must go to a certified MRO for functional test or repair.
This condition is intertwined with the repaired condition but there's minor differences depending on who you're talking to.
For a SV unit you'll know that the unit has been functional tested in accordance with OEM specifications and that it'll come with an airworthiness certification depending on what region you're in. Here as you know it's the FAA 8130.
Typically these units will not come with a teardown but only an airworthiness certification stating it passed functional test and it's able to be installed. This varies depending on MRO.
The repaired condition is a serviceable unit that requires a little more work.
With repaired units minor piece parts are used to bring the unit into serviceable condition to meet the functional test requirements. Gaskets, bolts, and small expendables are the normal piece parts used in repairs.
This condition will come with an airworthiness certification and teardown detailing what was done and what piece parts were used in the repair.
This is the most work an aircraft rotable can go through.
This is the "best" of all conditions and requires the most work. With an OH unit you'll be sure that your units will receive the 100% OH kit according to the CMM and any other components to bring it to such a condition. Overhauled units can also be painted and cosmetically pleasing so you know you're not getting a hunk of metal.
Warning: In some situations, MROs will tag certain components as OH despite the CMM not having proper OH specification and they should be deemed RP. It's primarily used for marketing to sell a higher priced unit based on it's classification. We use to see this a lot with pitot tubes and other accessories.
That's it. Those are your 4 rotable condition classifications.
Depending on your operation, make the choices that best fits your needs.
Are you in constant need for aircraft rotables? Fill out the form below and we'll be more than happy to help you out.
What is reliability? Since 1988 we’ve been playing the reliability game. The gamble of who to trust and what actions to take.
Today, much has changed. Everyone says and does the same boring thing, over promising and under delivering.
It’s common to run into reliability problems. It even gets to the point that some days you just want to run away.
Just ask our supply chain team.
Some days I have to peal them off the ceiling as they explode with frustration. I even have to peal myself off the ceiling some days.
Whether it’s logistics or even aircraft components, reliability is a game of chess. One wrong move and you lose time and money. With the right move you’re efficient. Time and money become your ally.
Many people talk about reliability, but unless you want to pay millions of dollars in consultancy fees, very little guides you in the right direction.
For now, let’s cover the basics…
Aircraft component reliability
The primary goal is to keep your components on wing for as long as possible. We’ll call this the dumbed down version of a much more complex issue.
At this point you’ll want to collect data and information about your aircraft components statistical analysis. This will give you valuable feedback on the data if irregularities developed in operation.
If you’re the type to geek out on this stuff, read this.
The key is to build a foundation for a component reliability program. Which ATA chapters do you have the most trouble with? Can you outsource solutions?
In order for you to answer these questions, having a firm understanding of your fleet and activity of components’ removals is very important.
[Tweet "Start slow and build your reliability program over time."]
It’s amazing how many people overlook supplier reliability.
I understand price is important, but it’s not the first or last decision. Your primary objective should be to work with people who can deliver and create the most value to you.
When you look into your supplier reliability program answer these questions to help build your foundation:
- Who answers you back the quickest?
- Which company has an account manager that responds to you any day of the week, at any time?
- Who helps you resolve issues?
- Who provides solutions in addition to just selling you something?
- Where is the greatest value for every dollar you spend?
- Who solves problems without creating more problems?
- Who do you trust?
- How do their parts look when they’re delivered? Are they in good condition and packaged properly?
Answering these simple questions will guide you to building your supplier reliability program. You’ll avoid the people that over promise and under deliver.
If turn-around-times (TAT) keep you up at night then logistics is its angry step brother.
We live in a small world where we can get anything, anywhere in a short period of time and yet complications are still extremely common.
You may have experience with high import taxes, customs delays, airlines losing your packages, shipments being bumped and re-scheduled to a later date, damage parts, and the list goes on and on.
I have found the best logistics reliability program works with someone who is easy to talk to and helps you resolve problems. It’s really that simple.
I have worked with so many freight forwarders and 95% of them give me a massive headache. I feel one coming on now. We found 3 solid partners, one for routine freight, one for small parcel and one for AOG shipments and they are the only people we’ll use.
Build your logistics reliability program around your specific needs and the ease of communication should be very important to you.
Building a reliability program around aircraft maintenance and components, suppliers and logistics will help make your hectic aviation life easier.
Start slow and start now.
Do you have reliability issues? We would love to help you. Fill out the form below and we’ll tackle this together.
It's shocking how many companies have different definitions for aircraft part conditions. From FN, NE, NS to RP, AR...oh my!
Right now, at this moment, I'm giving you the all time, go to resource for three commonly used conditions for NEW components.
Factory New (FN)
According to the ATA Spec 106 “Sources and Approved Parts Qualifications Guidelines” FN and NS (more to come on this) have no regulatory definition.
Generally speaking, FN is commonly used directly from the Original Equipment Manufacture. It hasn't passed through many hands to get to the end user.
A standard industry practice is that if it's more than 2 years old, it's no longer FN.
[Tweet "A standard #aviation component practice is if it's more than 2 years old, it's no longer FN"]
At Skylink we tend to think of it in terms of 6 months to a year. For certain components, 2 years on any shelf is way too long.
For FN items, they'll always come with a manufacture's material cert.
Here's an example of the FN supply chain cycle:
FN part (OEM) > End User
New is a regulatory definition for "...a product, assembly, accessory, component, part or material produced on conformity with approved data that is accompanied by a manufacturer’s material certification at the time of sale, and has no operating time or cycles."
With NE items, the manufacture date can vary. If you need a DOM, it's best to ask when given NE conditions.
New Part > Sold to a Distributor > Sold to another Distributor > The part is still represented as New
New Surplus (NS)
New surplus parts can vary from how many people who have had it in there stock to how old they are. There's no definitive guideline.
Typically they're the least costly condition but again, this condition isn't a regulatory definition. NS is great for obsolete items and is a great way to service aging aircraft.
The few guidelines for NS components are:
- The part is new and has no operating time or cycles
- The owner was someone who had the potential to use the part; to install it, such as an aircraft or engine manufacturer, airline, repair station, or military operator.
New Part > Sold to an Airline > Sold to a Distributor > The Part is now represented to the market as New Surplus (NS)
These three classifications are used often. Save this link and refer back to it often. ;)
Are you often in need of FN, NE, or NS items? If so fill out the form below and we'd love to help you.
Aircraft spare parts is a big deal. The aviation industry spends $5 billion, yes with a B, annually on replenish stock.
Stock is the insurance policy against unplanned removals and it's costly. No wonder so many people are stressed.
According to Oliver Wyman, this has a collective airline sheet balance of $19 billion. And yes, again with a big giant B.
Having the right aircraft components, at the right time, and in the right place is critical. Notice how I left out price?
Overstocking aircraft components isn't the solution
Many airlines have issues with over-insuring less critical and poorly positioned components and under-insuring highly critical components. Olivery Wyman estimates $175 million in similar inefficiencies for one major airline.
A lot of provisioning is organized from the recommended spare parts list (RSPL) from the manufacture. This is not a very bright idea. These lists often overlook the insurance nature of spare assets. It's a good starting point but not a gold standard.
They're typically conservative at best and over inflated at worst.
One solution for a good insurance policy is outsourcing
Airlines have begun relying on third parties to provision their spare parts needs. This improves access to aircraft components while reducing the significant amounts of capital tied up in inventory.
Aerotime explains it perfectly:
"Although maintaining a spare parts stock has long been a routine part of any airline’s life, it seems the situation has been gradually changing for a while now. Under competitive pressure more and more airlines have actually been abandoning the strategy of holding huge and expensive parts stock to support their operations.
In fact, according to the industry experts, the airlines have been reducing their stocks for about 10 years now, if not more. If such a pace remains, it is said that by 2020, the operators will abandon inventory stocking at all, thus switching solely to the offerings from third-party providers. Nevertheless, if this scenario in fact proves to be true, the industry has still a lot to do in order to improve the efficiency, transparency and reliability of such services."
Relying just on a third party isn't a good insurance policy
Outsourcing is a great way to reduce capital tied up on the shelves, but for an effective aircraft component insurance policy, it's not just up to them.
[Tweet "Focusing your efforts on internal processes can dramatically reduce your cycle time."]
Oliver Wyman states that for most airlines each day they reduce their cycle time amounts it can translate to $1 million in inventory shed from the balance sheet. Amazing!
In order for you to reduce your capital and AOG pressure, incorporate a better aircraft component insurance strategy into your operations.
Do you need better insurance to cover your AOG needs? Are you in need of spare parts provisioning? Fill out the form below and we'd love to help.
You experience $500 shipping mistakes every day.
It’s not a large sum of money but when you multiply $500 by the amount of shipments you have, WOW! The amount of money wasted on shipping is crazy. Ludicrous I tell you.
Whether it’s from Singapore, Rio De Janeiro, Amman, or London, when you order 20 parts from 20 different companies you pay 20 different freight bills. It’s as simple as that, no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. Pure logic. Pure expense. Pure waste.
There’s no revolutionary formula and my future isn’t as a math teacher but I do know we often forget about the true costs of our decisions.
Think about it.
At a minimum you’ll spend $100 for each shipment. But let’s dig a little deeper and say the maximum you would spend is $500. Not a huge freight bill. The problems occur with volume. It’s the power of compounding. If you order 20 parts from 20 different sources you’re spending $2,000 - $10,000 in freight bills.
Expensive indeed! The decisions you make about shipping directly affect your operating income. Most decisions are made in a reactive state, but the true value is through a proactive solution.
Let’s dig into that.
Spending 20X more than you have to on shipping
The middle of your supply chain is complicated. With aircraft component partners located all over the world and your aircraft MRO 2,000km north or south, your supply chain is worldwide. There’s a lot of variables between the aircraft components you need and the aircraft they must be installed on.
There’s also many decisions to be made. Who do I procure from? Are they a reliable and trusted partner? Do I need 1 part or 50? How should I ship these? Should I consolidate? When will I need these rotables and consumables at my maintenance check?
The questions don’t stop. In order for you to reduce your operating expenditure, you have to think about strategic ways to cut unnecessary costs.
Yes, you could beat up your aircraft component supplier on price, but over time that only gets you cheap parts, cheap service, and more problems.
The true value comes from the proactive solutions I keep mentioning. One of these is being more thoughtful of your shipping costs.
Shipping costs are eating away at your operating budget
This week we had a very good client get into a frenzy about a $5,000 shipping charge. She was shipping 1,200 kilos through a terrible freight forwarder. Remember I mentioned cheap service? I mean, these people were beyond ridiculous. And they were sneaky, which is even worse.One of the items was HAZMAT. This silly freight forwarder was charging the entire 1,200 kilos as HAZMAT and it affected the freight bill by $1,000. So our client was essentially paying $1,000 more than she had to.
The moral of the story is, the decisions you make on how you ship affects everything.
In this story it’s about trusting your freight forwarder partner to not price gouge you after they quote you a low freight cost. In other scenarios it’s about making a conscious effort to consolidate and save.
You’ll go from shipping 20 items from 20 different people with 20 different freight invoices, to 20 items from 1 person with 1 freight invoice. It’s streamlined and focused. It get’s even better if you deeply trust and respect this one person. Trust goes a long way.
Once you decide to $ave By Consolidating and focus on an efficient procurement strategy, you’ll begin to save thousands of dollars on wasted freight costs.
P.S. Our Aircraft Maintenance Program is designed by experts in creating efficient solutions for long list requirements. We utilize our $ave By Consolidating process to provide you with rotables, expendables, and consumables, in an efficient and cost effective manner. We also utilize our logistics program to streamline the entire supply chain to you. Interested? Fill out the form below.