In the aircraft industry having a trusted Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) facility can mean the difference between flying safely and being plagued with constant repair issues. As the popularity of hobby flying and the use of small commercial fleets is increasing, many MRO facilities are finding that excellence in the field distinguishes them from competitors. Although MRO facilities cover a number of services that pilots need, some facilities are not authorized by the manufacturer to provide complete accommodations.
Much of this is due to increasing and positive safety standards within the aircraft industry. As a result, higher certifications for handling installations, specific parts upgrades, warranty claims, and complete overhauls are becoming an expectation in order to keep up with demands. Further push for higher designations of service is also a result of the expanding industry of MRO facilities and the competition that this represents.
The Growing Industry
Private fleets alone can be considered the impetus behind the increase in MRO service demands. As more small aircraft are used for commercial purposes, owners are starting to capitalize on this trend. This results in a combination of a higher level of PT6A airplanes in use, as well as more required maintenance. Overall, the MRO business has flourished, and projected growth over the next decade expects a near doubling on the demands that are placed on facilities.
Generally, traditional MROs will have specialty services for specific equipment, just as Covington Aircraft has maintained expertise with Pratt and Whitney turbines and radials. However, MRO facilities will handle a variety of concerns for all types of aircraft and engines. This can include equipment testing and repair, but it can also extend to serving flight controls, avionics equipment, and navigation systems in the cockpit. The expansion of duties can require special designation in order to perform these services.
An MRO facility can be raised to a Designated Distributor and Overhaul Facility (DDOF), if the main manufacturer that the MRO works with recognizes them for their experience and ability with the proprietary equipment. For Covington Aircraft, this award from Pratt and Whitney was achieved in 2010, with specific recognition for our abilities with the PT6A turbines. As a result, we became able to expand our range of services and our ability to specifically distribute and overhaul PT6A, R-985, and R-1340 engines. We are also able to have faster turnaround times on warranty issues because Pratt & Whitney Canada has empowered us to make some warranty decisions without having to involve them. This in turn allows us to make the decisions quicker and get the engines back in the air.
As the aircraft industry is finding greater reliance on access to MRO services, DDOFs do represent the new standard for safety and reliability in flight. We are able to work more closely with the manufacturer to meet customer needs, and this further raises need for distinction in distribution as well as repair services. While the designation of a DDOF is at the manufacturer’s discretion, it indicates a mutual trust within the industry, and allows pilots to know they can depend on Covington Aircraft Engines.