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Saturday, April 1, 2006

News

Pratt & Whitney Boldly Enters PMA Parts Manufacturing Market

Highlighting the cutthroat nature of the aviation maintenance business, Pratt & Whitney announced that it will begin manufacturing replacement parts for a rival engine, the CFM56.

Louis Chenevert, president of Pratt & Whitney named Matthew Bromberg to head the new venture. Bromberg was previously in strategic development for Pratt & Whitney.

A launch customer, United Airlines, was announced at the same time. The agreement covers a 10-year period but other terms were not released. "This is a strategic initiative for Pratt & Whitney and we are delighted to announce our launch customer, United Airlines," said Bromberg, vice president and general manager of the venture to be called Global Material Solutions. "There is strong interest from other airlines as well," he added but refused to disclose who those potential customers are. Other sources stated American Airlines and Lufthansa were both interested in the new Pratt & Whitney venture.

With 4,000 CFM56-3 engines installed on aircraft Pratt & Whitney believes there will be ample demand for the parts. "We have no commitment beyond that at this time but may look at other models, CFM56-4, -5, -6 in the future," said Bromberg.

"The safety of the engine comes first and foremost," said Bromberg, "But we're all about ensuring customers have a choice. It is our intent to offer improved value and the highest quality using our service network," said Bromberg. Sixty percent of Pratt & Whitney's revenue is service related.

"We believe this is a watershed event," said Kevin Michaels, principal, AeroStrategy Management Consulting, "that an OEM has committed to aggressively pursue manufacturing parts for another OEM's engine." Michaels stated that the parts portion of the $38 billion air transport aircraft maintenance business is worth between $13-14 billion. "This is where profits are made to support development. Half of that $14 billion is engine parts. This is a big piece of the profit equation but it comes with very high entry barriers, including technologies, and certification methodologies, that have prevented other companies from breaching it," Michaels said.

"United Technologies [parent company of Pratt & Whitney] is really changing the rules of competition in the industry," he said, "and we are interested to see how GE and Rolls-Royce will respond." Michaels also believes that this move by Pratt & Whitney will add legitimacy to the entire PMA parts industry.

The venture will produce 55 gas path and life-limited parts including high-pressure turbine blades.

"We are forging new relationships with customers. It takes decades to forge relationships with operators," said Bromberg, hinting at Pratt & Whitney's desire to position the company to provide an engine for the next generation of Boeing and Airbus single-aisle equipment. --- By Joy Finnegan

Time Out For Safety Award Winner Announced

Staff Sergeant Derek Antolick, U.S. Air National Guard, is the winner of the 2005 John J. Goglia Time Out For Safety Award. The award recognizes those individuals who make a significant contribution to aviation maintenance safety. SSgt. Antolick was nominated by his then superiors at the 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Wash. SSgt. Antolick is presently the non-destructive test laboratory supervisor with the 147th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-16) of the Texas Air National Guard at Houston, Texas.

On January 5, 2005, SSgt. Antolick exhibited the highest standard of dedication and attention to detail during a preflight check of one of the Spokane unit's KC-135R aircraft. During the ground check of the flight controls, on a cold snowy night, he heard--above the noise of a ground power unit--a very faint "clunk." Standing at the rear of the airplane with a headset on, he asked the pilot to run the elevator check again. It didn't sound right, so he stood atop a maintenance stand and, with a flashlight, asked the pilot to again run the standard elevator check. In the light cast by the flashlight, it was evident that the right elevator trim tab was binding against the right elevator and damaging significantly both the trim tab and the elevator.

The metal along the elevator control surfaces was exfoliating

at a rapid rate; it was later found that water had permeated the bonded trailing edge panel on the elevator, frozen, and had caused the panel edge to expand and make contact with the elevator tab. Further elevator movement was discontinued and, at his initiative, the airplane was grounded for extensive repair. By his actions, SSgt. Antolick reflected the highest ideals of the aviation maintenance profession and of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to having his name added to the Time Out For Safety trophy, SSgt. Antolick received a $500 honorarium.

Time Out For Safety Award Winner Announced

Staff Sergeant Derek Antolick, U.S. Air National Guard, is the winner of the 2005 John J. Goglia Time Out For Safety Award. The award recognizes those individuals who make a significant contribution to aviation maintenance safety. SSgt. Antolick was nominated by his then superiors at the 141st Air Refueling Wing at Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Wash. SSgt. Antolick is presently the non-destructive test laboratory supervisor with the 147th Tactical Fighter Wing (F-16) of the Texas Air National Guard at Houston, Texas.

On January 5, 2005, SSgt. Antolick exhibited the highest standard of dedication and attention to detail during a preflight check of one of the Spokane unit's KC-135R aircraft. During the ground check of the flight controls, on a cold snowy night, he heard--above the noise of a ground power unit--a very faint "clunk." Standing at the rear of the airplane with a headset on, he asked the pilot to run the elevator check again. It didn't sound right, so he stood atop a maintenance stand and, with a flashlight, asked the pilot to again run the standard elevator check. In the light cast by the flashlight, it was evident that the right elevator trim tab was binding against the right elevator and damaging significantly both the trim tab and the elevator.

The metal along the elevator control surfaces was exfoliating

at a rapid rate; it was later found that water had permeated the bonded trailing edge panel on the elevator, frozen, and had caused the panel edge to expand and make contact with the elevator tab. Further elevator movement was discontinued and, at his initiative, the airplane was grounded for extensive repair. By his actions, SSgt. Antolick reflected the highest ideals of the aviation maintenance profession and of the U.S. Air Force. In addition to having his name added to the Time Out For Safety trophy, SSgt. Antolick received a $500 honorarium.

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