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Friday, March 1, 2013

Q&A With Richard Dussault of Pratt & Whitney Canada

By Ernie Stephens, Editor-at-Large

Engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney Canada (Booth N3718), based in Longueuil, Quebec, has been designing and manufacturing powerplants since the late 1950s. Since then, its line of helicopter engines—such as the PT6 and its new PW210—have found their way aboard many of yesterday’s and today’s most advanced rotorcraft. Rotor & Wing spoke with Richard Dussault, P&WC’s vice president of sales and marketing for regional helicopter engines, who shared a some of his background, as well as what the company is currently working on.

Rotor & Wing: How long have you been with P&WC?
Dussault: Thirty-four years, now. As I was doing my engineering degree, [P&WC] had a co-op system. I did three work terms as a young student engineer. P&WC has given quite an amazing opportunity to work in so many different domains.

Rotor & Wing: What were your career goals when you were young?
Dussault: Working in aviation was always something that was a dream of mine. So, I spent my youth in engineering-type jobs. After about 10 years I moved into sales and customer support-type jobs, and migrated—obviously—into the business world. I’ve been doing sales and marketing for the best part of the last decade, and customer facing-type jobs.

Rotor & Wing: What percentage of your business is in helicopter engines?
Dussault: It’s about 20 percent of the total business at Pratt-Canada.

Rotor & Wing: What are your priorities for the regional helicopter engine division?
Dussault: When we focus on the helicopter market, it’s about leveraging the new platforms and the business growth in the various segments. We’ve made a lot of very significant investments in the helicopter business over the last few years. Today we have many programs in development. We have three versions of the PW210, which is our brand new platform, state-of-the-art, 1,000-shp type engine. And Sikorsky has selected it for the S-76D. It will start entering revenue service this year. The PW210-A for the AgustaWestland AW169 is in full development. (The fourth prototype has just begun flying.) And last year we announced the PW210-E for powering the new Eurocopter X4. We’re in full development with that product. So, the 210 as a family is a big priority of ours, and we are convinced that it will be a big market hit with operators.

The PT6C-67-E, a variant of the PT6-C67 family of engines that’s powering the Eurocopter EC175, was certified last year. Eurocopter is in full-development work and certification work to certify the EC175 this year and enter into service. Also, we’ve announced the development program on the PT6-C67-A for the AgustaWestland AW609 tiltorotor.

So, we’ve got a lot of new products coming into the market, and that’s our prime priority—to make sure we enter service flawlessly, and we deliver the performance our customers expect of us.

Rotor & Wing: What is your Eagle Service Plan (ESP)?
Dussault: The ESP program is a comprehensive, pay-by-the-hour program. We have different levels of service. Essentially, when a customer signs up for ESP, they are fully covered for parts, maintenance, or whatever work they feel needs to be done by Pratt. So, it’s a full peace-of-mind type program for our customers.

Rotor & Wing: Is ESP for all of your engines?
Dussault: We have it across all engine models. For larger fleet operators, we have fleet management programs, which are more customized to their needs. So, some larger operators may have, for example as part of their fleet, their own spare engine because they want to manage their fleet in a certain way in certain locations. We can more highly customize the program for that fleet operator.

Rotor & Wing: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dussault: I want to reiterate our belief that this is a great market for Pratt & Whitney Canada. We continue to invest. We bring dependable products to our customers, and that’s the recipe of our success. The reliability of our engines continues to be the benchmark of the industry and it translates into operational safety for the operator and peace of mind. That’s the recipe we’ve always used at Pratt & Whitney, and that’s what we’re going to continue to do.

Look for Pratt & Whitney in Booth N3718 at Heli-Expo 2013. See more of the interview in Rotor & Wing’s Show Day publication at the event.
Related: Engine News
 

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